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Thadious Davis

Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought and Professor of English

Thadious M. Davis, Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought and Professor of English, received her Ph.D. from Boston University. Her teaching areas include African American literature and Southern literature with an emphasis on issue of race, region, and gender. Her research interests are interdisciplinary: geography and African American writers; photography and Southern women; film and literary modernism; visual culture and the Harlem Renaissance; civil rights law and narrative fiction.

She is the author of Southscapes: Geographies of Race, Region, and Literature (2011), Games of Property: Law, Race, Gender, and Faulkner’s Go Down, Moses (2003), Nella Larsen, Novelist of the Harlem Renaissance (1994; paper 1996) and Faulkner’s “Negro”: Art and the Southern Context (1982), and the editor of numerous reference texts, including the Penguin Classic editions of Nella Larsen’s Passing (1997) and Quicksand (2002), and the co-edited Satire or Evasion: Black Perspectives on Huckleberry Finn (1992). She is currently writing a monograph on Alice Walker for the Understnding Contemporary Authors Series, and serves as co-editor of the Gender and American Culture Series, University of North Carolina Press.

Active in American Studies and Southern Studies, she has taught and lectured in Europe and Asia; most recently, she delivered papers in Tokyo, Japan, at Chuo University and at International Faulkner Symposium, sponsored by the Faulkner Society of Japan. In 2015, she will return to Korea to deliver a keynote addresss for the English Language and Literature Association of Korea. As the Walt Whitman Chair in American Civilization, a Fulbright Distinguished Chair, at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands, she participated in American Studies programs throughout Western and Central Europe. She has also held tenured professorships at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Brown University, and Vanderbilt University where she was the Gertrude Conway Vanderbilt Professor of English.

Invested in contemporary archival work, she has been a fellow at the Newberry Library in Chicago, the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library, and the Huntington Library in California where she held the R. Stanton Avery Distinguished Fellowship. During 2014-15, she was the Director's Fellow at the Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study. 


Doctoral Dissertations Chaired


Omari Weekes " "On a Path of Decent Pleasures: Sex, Spirit, and Affect in Late Twentieth-Century African American Literature.""


Aundeah Kearney "Ambitious Confusion: Recovering the Unthought in Contemporary Memorials to the Antebellum South"


Julius B. Fleming, Jr. "Staging Civil Rights: African American Literature, Performance, and Innovation"


Sarah Mantilla Griffin "'Hush Now Can You Hear It': Black Women's Sonic Literature"
Mecca Jamilah Sullivan "Interstitial Voices: The Poetics of Difference in Afrodiasporic Women's Literature"


S. Isabel Geathers "Tragedy's Black Eye: Theorizing the Tragic in Contemporary African American Literature"


Gershun Avilez "The Wake of Blackness: Aesthetic Ambivalence and the Post-Black Arts Era"

Courses Taught

fall 2016

ENGL 264.401 Black South Writers canceled  

spring 2016

ENGL 281.401 African American Modernism  
ENGL 290.401 Gender and Phototextuality  

fall 2015

ENGL 101.401 Faulkner  

fall 2013

spring 2013

fall 2012

ENGL 264.401 Black South Writers  

spring 2012

spring 2011

ENGL 101.401 William Faulkner  
ENGL 253.401 Law, Property, Bodies  

fall 2010

ENGL 770.401 Raced Space  

spring 2010

ENGL 281.401 African American Modernism  

fall 2009

ENGL 264.401 Black South Writers  

spring 2008

ENGL 281.401 African-American Modernism  

fall 2007

ENGL 101.401 Faulkner  

spring 2007

spring 2006

fall 2005

ENGL 101.001 Faulkner  

spring 2005