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Dr. John C. Charles Williamson

Picture of Dr. John C. Charles Williamson

Assistant Professor

Interests

I specialize in 20th century African American literature, and American literature more generally. I have interests in contemporary critical theory, and I also work in American Studies and Africana Studies.

Publications

Abandoning the Black Hero: Sympathy and Privacy in the Postwar African American White-Life Novel. (Rutgers University Press 2012).

 

“A Queer Finale: Sympathy and Privacy in Richard Wright’s A Father’s Law,” in Richard Wright: New Readings in the 21st Century (Signs of Race Series) eds. Alice Mikal Craven and William E. Dow. (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011): 147-166.

 

Guest Editor, Special Issue: Celebrating Richard Wright, Obsidian: Literature in the African Diaspora (Vol. 11, No. 2, Fall/Winter 2010).

 

“Desire, Agency, and Black American Subjectivity,” review of Robert Reid Pharr’s Once You Go Black: Choice, Desire, and the Black American Intellectual, (NYU Press) for Twentieth Century Literature 55.2 (Summer 2009): 269-80.

 

“Talk About the South:  Unspeakable Things Unspoken in Zora Neale Hurston's Seraph on the Suwanee,Mississippi Quarterly 62.1 (Winter 2008 – 2009): 19-52.

 

“The Home and The Street: The Dialectics of Racial Privacy in Ann Petry’s Early Career,” Revising the Blueprint: Ann Petry and the Literary Left, ed. Alex Lubin, University Press of Mississippi, 2007. 97-119.

 

Head notes for “Chester Himes: Yesterday Will Make You Cry,” in African American Literature Beyond Race: An Alternative Reader, ed. G. Jarrett. New York University Press, 2006. 275-78.

 

“‘What Was Africa to Him?’:  Alain Locke, Cultural Nationalism, and the Rhetoric of Empire in the New Negro Renaissance,” New Voices on the Harlem Renaissance, ed. A. Tarver. Farleigh Dickinson University Press, 2006. 33-58.

 

“Eugene O’Neill,” The Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance, eds. C. Wintz and P. Finkleman  (Routledge 2004).

Presentations

Invited Lecture: “Race and Privacy in African American Literature”; keynote address for the North Carolina State University Association of English Graduate Students conference: “I Live Here!: Redefining and Negotiating Notions of Public and Private.” Raleigh, NC, February 2013. 
 
“Sympathy and Privacy in the Post War African American White-Life Novel: Richard Wright’s Savage Holiday,” Modern Language Association, Division on Black American Literature and Culture, Seattle, WA. January 2012.
 
“Sympathy and Privacy in the Post War African American White-Life Novel: Ann Petry’s Country Place.” American Studies Association, Baltimore, MD. October  2011.
 
Invited Lecture, “Rethinking Race in the Mid-Twentieth Century: the Case of the African American White Life Novel,” Free University of Berlin, John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies, April 28, 2011.
 
Invited Lecture, “Frank Yerby and the Postwar African American White-Life Novel” Cross-Cultural Exchange: Globalizing American Studies (Symposium), University of Naples, April 2011.
 
"Race and Affect in Mid-Twentieth Century African American Fiction—The Case of Richard Wright's A Father's Law," Literature and Emotions Conference, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark, March 2011.
 
Invited Participant, Higher Seminar in English Literature, Lund University, Sweden, (Autumn 2010 to Spring 2011). 
 
“Richard Wright’s Sentimental Journey,” Dartmouth College Institute on the Futures of American Studies, Hanover, NH, June 2010.
 
Invited Speaker, "Making a Way Out of No Way: The Transformative Visions of African American Literature," North Carolina State University Undergraduate English Club, February 2010.
 
“Sympathy as Agency in Ann Petry’s Country Place,” Dartmouth College Institute on the Futures of American Studies, Hanover, NH, June 2009. (paper accepted, declined due to travel funding restrictions)
 
“The Unfinished Project of Western Modernity:  Savage Holiday and the Problem of Freedom,” invited participant for panel entitled, “Richard Wright, Cultural Criticism and Twentieth-Century Intellectuals,” The Richard Wright Centenary Conference, Paris, France, June 2008.  
 
“Fugitive Cosmopolitanism: Migration as Strategy and Necessity in Willard Motley’s Knock on Any Door,” Modern Language Association, Division on Black American Literature and Culture, Chicago, Il. December 2007.  
 
“The Popular Front as Cultural Matrix of the Post War African American White Life Novel,” Dartmouth College Institute on the Futures of American Studies, Hanover, NH, June 2007.
 
Invited Speaker, “The White-Life Novel as a Productive Problem in Black Cultural History,” Association of Black Cultural Centers, Raleigh, NC, November 2006.
 
“The Politics of Sympathy and Exile: African American Mid-Century Expatriation and the Emergence of the Postwar Black Subject,” American Studies Association, Oakland, Calif., October 2006 (paper accepted, but was unable to attend conference) 

 

“National Culture and Racial Privacy in Ann Petry’s ‘The Bones of Louella Brown,’” Dartmouth College Institute on the Futures of American Studies,Hanover,NH, June 2006.

 

“Frank Yerby and the Popular Front,” Keynote speaker, The Frank Yerby Symposium,Oakland,Calif., May 2006.

 

“Talking Like White Folks: The Rise of the Post-WWII African American ‘White-Life’ Novel,” Session organizer and paper, Modern Language Association,Philadelphia,Pa., December 2004.

 

“’I Had Done It to Be a Man’: White S(k)ins and Queer Redemption in the Post-WW II African American White-Life Novel,” American Studies Association,Atlanta,Ga., November 2004.

 

“Manhood, Freedom, and Cross Racial Identification in Frank Yerby’s The Foxes of Harrow,” Dartmouth College Institute on the Futures of American Studies,Hanover,NH, June 2004. 

 

“Black Skin, White Masks, and Queer Slums: Re-Reading Willard Motley’s Knock on Any Door and Let No Man Write My Epitaph” Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature,Lansing,MI, May 2004.

 

“’I Had Done It to Be a Man’: White S(k)ins and Queer Redemption in the Post-WW II African American White-Life Novel,” Central Michigan University Faculty Speaker Series, February 2004.

 

“What Has All This Traffic Back and Forth Across Borders Done for Me?:  Willard Motley and the Borders of Identity,” American Studies Association,Hartford,Ct., October 2003.

 

“’I Had Done It to Be a Man’: Allegories of Queer White Redemption in the ‘White’ Novels of James Baldwin,ChesterHimes, and Willard Motley,” Dartmouth College Institute on American Studies,Hanover,NH, June 2003.

 

“Black Skin, White Masks, and Queer Slums: Re-Reading Willard Motley’s Knock on Any Door,” Queer Scholarship Series,University ofVirginia, November 2002.

 

“’A Struggle Over the Nature of Reality’: Cross-Racial Identification and the Meaning of the Color Line in Mid-CenturyAmerica,” Dartmouth College Institute on American Studies,Hanover,NH, June 2002.

Education

  • PhD in American Literature from University of Virginia, 2007