Articles written by: Hortense J. Spillers

Hortense J. Spillers is the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of English at Vanderbilt University. Since receiving her Ph.D. from Brandeis, she has taught at Wellesley College, Haverford College, Emory, and Cornell Universities. She has also served as a guest professor in the Program in Literature at Duke University during academic year 2002-03 and for two consecutive years during tri-semester terms at the John F. Kennedy Center for North American Studies at the Free University in Berlin, Germany, 2000 and 2001. A recipient of numerous honors and awards, among them, grants from the Rockefeller Foundation and the Ford Foundation, she has been a fellow at the National Humanities Center, Research Triangle, and the Center for the Study of the Behavioral Sciences, Palo Alto. While at Haverford, she was chair of the English Department for two years before moving to Cornell where she joined the Norton projects by serving as one of the period editors of the Norton Anthology of African-American Literature.

Her collection of scholarly essays, Black, White, and In Color: Essays on American Literature and Culture, was published by the University of Chicago Press in 2003. With Marjorie Pryse, she co-edited Conjuring: Black Women, Fiction, and Literary Tradition, published by Indiana University Press; Spillers also edited for the English Institute series a collection of essays entitled Comparative American Identities: Race, Sex, and Nationality in the Modern Text, published by Routledge. Spillers serves on a number of editorial boards, among them, the Editorial Collective of boundary 2, and is a former member of the Executive Council of the Modern Language Association. Some of her more recent essays have appeared in The New Centennial Review, das argument, and boundary 2. Currently, she is at work on two new projects, the idea of black culture and black women and early state formations. She teaches courses in American and African-American literature, Faulkner, and feminist theory. She travels extensively, lectures widely both at home and abroad, most recently delivering the 2010 Sidney Warhaft Distinguished Memorial lecture at the University of Manitoba, the DuBois Lectures at Harvard in the fall of 2014, and the Henry L. Gates Jr. Lecture at Yale in 2016. She received a Lifetime Achievement award from the literary journal, Callaloo, in 2016, and was honored with the Nicolás Guillén Lifetime Achievement award by the Caribbean Philosophical Association at its most recent international conference in summer 2017. She lives in Nashville.

Or Else…
Convergence / Politics / Vol. 1 No. 3-4

Or Else…

In the clash of motives that it inscribes, the term “freedman” and the conditions of existence that it signals are poignantly alluded to in the epigraph that Richard White chooses to inaugurate his exhaustive study of Reconstruction and the Gilded Age: “Wandering between two worlds, one dead, the other powerless […]

Cliff Notes (or Notes for Going Over One)
Convergence / Politics / Vol. 1 No. 2

Cliff Notes (or Notes for Going Over One)

Though it would be hard to say in a single sentence, let me try to understand this: shortly before the holidays, Politico reported that a rogue band of Republican Congressmen had been convening under cover of darkness for several weeks in the shadow of the duly appointed bipartisan House investigative […]

Passport to Freedom
Convergence / International / Politics / Vol. 1 No. 1

Passport to Freedom

The signature page of my passport instructs the bearer—in all caps—to “See p. 27.” Reissued in 2014, my copy of this inestimable document, snugly fit in its leather case, edged at two corners in gold metal, rode my left hip for all of three years, when, one fine day, not […]