Director, African, African American, and Diaspora Studies Center & Associate Professor
Contact Info

Office: Keezell 223

Associate Professor of English 

Director of the African, African American, and Diaspora (AAAD) Studies Center 

African American Literature, Race and Ethnicity Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Popular Culture and Cultural Studies, Material and Print Culture, Public and Digital Humanities, Archival Studies 

Ph.D., English, University of Chicago, 2010
M.A., English, University of Chicago, 2004
B.A., English, Reed College, 2001

Books and Edited Volumes
Conversations with Lorraine Hansberry. Editor. University Press of Mississippi, 2020. 

Neo-Passing: Performing Identity after Jim Crow. Co-editor, with Vershawn Ashanti Young. University of Illinois Press, 2018.

Articles and Book Chapters
“Black Women’s Lives Matter: Mapping Black Feminist Archival Recovery Projects.” Co-author, with Seán McCarthy. Autio/Biography Studies. Forthcoming.

“Getting Graphic with Kindred: The Neo-Slave Narrative of the Black Lives Matter Movement” in Slavery and the Post-Black Imagination. Edited by Bertram D. Ashe and Ilka Saal. University of Washington Press, 2020. 83–105.

“Sheep, Rats, and Jungle Beasts: Black Humanisms and the Protest Fiction Debate.” Arizona Quarterly 74.2 (Summer 2018): 39–62. Winner of the 2019 David D. Anderson Award for Outstanding Essay in Midwestern Literary Studies.

“Passing as Post-Racial: The Human Stain, Political Correctness, and the Post-Racial Passing Narrative.” Contemporary Literature 58.2 (Summer 2018): 233–261.

“Introduction: The Neo-Passing Narrative.” Co-author, with Vershawn Ashanti Young. In Mollie Godfrey and Vershawn Ashanti Young (eds.), Neo-Passing: Performing Identity after Jim Crow. Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2018. 1–40.

“Celebrating Simms: Multiplying the Single Story in Community Engagement Projects.” Co-author, with Seán McCarthy. Public: A Journal of Imagining America, 5.1 (Winter 2018). 

“Making African American History in the Classroom: The Pedagogy of Processing Under-Valued Archives,” Pedagogy: Critical Approaches to Teaching Literature, Language, Composition, and Culture 16.1 (January 2016): 165-177.

“Of One Blood: Humanism, Race, and Gender in Post-Reconstruction Law and Literature,” CLA Journal 59.1 (September 2015): 47–74. Winner of the 2017 Pauline Hopkins Society Memorial Scholarship Award for outstanding scholarship on Pauline Hopkins.

“Rewriting White, Rewriting Black: Authentic Humanity and Authentic Blackness in Nella Larsen’s ‘Sanctuary,’” MELUS 38.4 (December 2013): 122–145.

“‘They ain’t human’: John Steinbeck, Proletarian Fiction, and the Racial Politics of ‘The People,’” MFS Modern Fiction Studies 59.1 (Spring 2013): 107–34. Rpt. in Bloom's Modern Critical Views: John Steinbeck, New Edition. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York: Infobase Learning, 2014. 

Review Essays
Review essay on Sensational Flesh: Race, Power, and Masochism by Amber Jamilla Musser (New York UP, 2014), ALH Online Review Series V (5 January 2016).

“‘White-Life’ Literature Reconsidered,” review essay on Abandoning the Black Hero: Sympathy and Privacy in the Postwar African American White-Life Novel by John C. Charles (Rutgers UP, 2012), Twentieth-Century Literature 60.3 (Fall 2014): 397-404.

Public and Digital Humanities Projects
Black Studies, Black Spaces, co-directed this interdisciplinary course-based, student-created public exhibit; opened at JMU’s Institute for Creative Inquiry in December 2019; travelling version opened on JMU’s East Campus in March 2020. Supported by a Provost’s Faculty Diversity Curriculum Development Grant, the Institute for Creative Inquiry, the College of Integrated Science and Engineering, and the College of Science and Mathematics.

Furious Flower Digital Archive, co-taught interdisciplinary JMU X-Labs project in which students use design methods to prototype an online archive for the Furious Flower Poetry Center ; sponsored by 4-VA and VentureWell; this project was also instrumental in articulating the need for a new model of integrated library and educational technologies to support Furious Flower, a goal that is now being supported by a $150,000 planning grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Celebrating Simms: The Story of the Lucy F. Simms School, co-director of permanent exhibition at the Lucy F. Simms Continuing Education Center, with satellite exhibits at Harrisonburg High School and all four Rockingham County High schools, plus 1000 copies of companion booklet, digital archive, and website; winner of the WGS Award for Feminist Scholarship and Creative Work (2017); the Conference on Community Writing’s Outstanding College-Community Project Award (2017), and a Virginia Humanities Open Grant (2019–2020).

NAACP Maine Archives, director of college-community partnership that preserved and processed 38 linear feet of Maine NAACP archives for the African American Collection of Maine at the University of Southern Maine; winner of the Bates College Harward Center Faculty Award for Outstanding New Community Partnership Initiative (2012).

Mapping the Stacks, archival intern for Mellon-funded project on mapping hidden collections, directed by Jacqueline Goldsby, University of Chicago, 2005–2010. Collections processed: Cyrus Colter Papers (1910–2002); Chicago Defender Photo Archives (1928–2007); Heritage Press Archives (1944–2002); Path Press Archives (1962–1998); South Side Community Art Center Archives (1938–2008).

Work in Progress
Black Humanisms: Race, Gender, and the Fictions of Segregation (book project).

“Celebrating Simms: Community Engagement and the Pedagogy of Shared Storytelling,” with Seán McCarthy, Robin Lyttle, Billo Harper, et al. (invited article for the Community Literacy Journal).

“Teaching Maya Angelou in the #MeToo Moment” (article project).

Selected Awards
Edna T. Shaeffer Humanist Award, James Madison University, 2017, 2020

Virginia Humanities Open Grant, with Seán McCarthy, 2020

David D. Anderson Award for Outstanding Essay in Midwestern Literary Studies, Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature, 2019

Provost’s Faculty Diversity Curriculum Development Grant, James Madison University, 2017, 2019

4-VA VentureWell Interdisciplinary Course Mini-Grant Award, James Madison University, 2018-2019

Innovative Diversity Effort Award Program Grant, James Madison University, 2015-2016, 2018-2019

Provost’s Faculty Development Support Award, James Madison University, 2018

Pauline Hopkins Society Memorial Scholarship Award, 2017

Women’s and Gender Studies Award for Feminist Scholarship and Creative Work, with Seán McCarthy, James Madison University, 2017

Conference on Community Writing Outstanding College-Community Project Award, with Seán McCarthy, 2017

Faculty-Senate Madison Vision Mini-Grant Award, with Seán McCarthy, James Madison University, 2016

Maine Humanities Council Community Outreach Grant, 2012

Harward Center Faculty Award for Outstanding New Community Partnership Initiative, Bates College, 2012

Harward Center Grant for Publicly Engaged Academic Projects, Bates College, 2010–2011, 2011–2012

Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture Teaching Fellowship, University of Chicago, 2009–2010

Blair Dissertation-Year Fellowship, University of Chicago, 2007–2008

Norman Maclean Teaching Fellowship, University of Chicago, 2006–2007


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