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Herman Beavers

Julie Beren Platt and Marc E. Platt President’s Distinguished Professor of English and Africana Studies


3401 Walnut Street 326 A
215 898-0507

Office Hours

spring 2023

Office Hours: Tuesday, and Thursday 2:30-4 pm; Wednesdays, Via Zoom, by appointment

Herman Beavers has taught at Penn since 1989.  Professor Beavers has a joint appointment in the Department of Africana Studies and teaches courses in African American and American literature, including courses on Southern Modernism, 20th Century African American Poetry, as well as  "Trading Fours:  The Literatures of Jazz," which is a requisite course in the Jazz and Popular Music minor.  He also teaches a section of the introductory poetry workshop in the Creative Writing Program.  Professor Beavers also teaches (with Prof. Suzana Berger) the Arts-Based Community Service course entitled, "August Wilson and Beyond," which brings Penn students together with West Philadelphia residents to read August Wilson's Century Cycle of plays.  His most recent poems have appeared (or are about to appear) in MELUS, The Langston Hughes Colloquy, Versadelphia, Cleaver Magazine, and The American Arts Quarterly.  He has recently published essays on  August Wilson, Charles Johnson, Ralph Ellison, and Toni Morrison.  His latest book Geography and the Political Imaginary in the Novels of Toni Morrison was published in 2018.  He also serves as an advisory editor at African American Review, Modern Fiction Studies, The Langston Hughes Review, and The Black Scholar.  


News & Events


Doctoral Dissertations Chaired


Kenton Butcher "Ain’t No Shame: Contemporary Passing Narratives in African American and South African Literature"


Dana Cypress "In Time of Disaster: Representations of Hurricane Katrina in Literature and Culture"


Melanie R. Hill "Personified Preaching: Black Feminist Sermonic Practice in Literature and Music"


Brandon T. Woods "Dangerous Accumulations: Representing Black Rage in the Protest Era, 1936-1945"


Nicole L. Brittingham Furlonge "On the Lower Frequences: Listening and African-American Expressive Culture"


James Peterson "Concepts of the Underground in Black Culture"

Courses Taught

fall 2024

spring 2023

fall 2022

ENGL 2222.401 August Wilson and Beyond  
ENGL 3101.401 Poetry Writing Workshop  

spring 2022

fall 2021

ENGL 380.401 August Wilson and Beyond  

fall 2020

ENGL 380.401 August Wilson and Beyond  

spring 2020

fall 2019

ENGL 380.401 August Wilson and Beyond  

spring 2019

ENGL 113.401 Poetry Writing Workshop  

fall 2018

ENGL 380.401 August Wilson and Beyond  

spring 2018

fall 2017

ENGL 380.401 August Wilson and Beyond  

summer 2016

spring 2016

ENGL 113.301 Poetry Workshop  

fall 2015

spring 2015

fall 2014

spring 2014

ENGL 113.401 Poetry Workshop  

fall 2013

summer 2013

spring 2013

fall 2012

spring 2012

ENGL 570.401 African-American Literature  

fall 2011

ENGL 113.401 Poetry Writing Workshop  

spring 2011

ENGL 080.401 Literatures of Jazz  
ENGL 570.401 Ellison and Morrison  

fall 2010

spring 2009

ENGL 113.401 Poetry Writing Workshop  

fall 2008

ENGL 081.401 African-American Literature  

spring 2008

ENGL 600.401 Africana Studies Proseminar  

fall 2007

spring 2007

ENGL 113.401 Poetry Workshop  

spring 2006

fall 2005

spring 2005

ENGL 080.401 The Literatures of Jazz  

fall 2004

ENGL 113.301 Poetry Writing Workshop  
ENGL 199.304 African American Authors  

fall 2003

ENGL 081.401 African American Literature  
ENGL 113.302 Poetry Writing Workshop  
ENGL 199.305 Independent Study  
ENGL 199.601 Independent Study  

spring 2003

fall 2002

fall 2001

ENGL 299.302 Independent Study  

summer 2001

ENGL 099.301 Independent Study  

spring 2001

fall 2000

ENGL 103.401 The Short Story  
ENGL 570.401 Afro-American Autobiography  

spring 2000

ENGL 288.401 Topics in American Poetry  

fall 1999

ENGL 081.401 African-American Literature  
ENGL 299.007 Independent Study  
ENGL 770.401 Afro-American Literature  

spring 1999

fall 1998

ENGL 016.302 Topics in Literature  
ENGL 299.306 Independent Study  

spring 1997

ENGL 199.310 Independent Study  
ENGL 299.346 Independent Study  
ENGL 569.401 Literature of Jazz  

fall 1996

ENGL 089.401 American Fiction  

spring 1996

ENGL 299.301 Independent Study  
ENGL 299.312 A Poet Ai-Society  
ENGL 299.321 Southern Literature  

fall 1995

spring 1995

ENGL 299.326 Independent Study  
ENGL 299.328 Black Art Movement  

fall 1994