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Robert J Patterson


Associate Professor


Department of English
General profile


+1 202-687-1324


Office hours

Fall 2014: M 10:15-12:00 and by appointment


Dr. Patterson is an Associate Professor of English and African American Studies, and Director of the African American Studies Program at Georgetown University. His book, Exodus Politics: Civil Rights and Leadership African American Literature and Culture (UVA Press, 2013), argues "that by narrowly conceptualizing civil rights in only racial terms and relying solely on a male figure, conventional African American leadership, though frequently redemptive, can also erode the very goals of civil rights." In addition to this project, Dr. Patterson has published articles on W.E.B. Dubois, Toni Morrison, African American Women’s Writing,Tyler Perry’s films, and some of his work appears in South Atlantic Quarterly Black Camera, Religion and Literature (forthcoming). He co-guest edited a special edition of South Atlantic Quarterly, Black Literature, Black Leadership (112.2). Extending his interest scholarly interests in the post-civil rights era, black popular culture, and the politics of gender, he also has begun to work on a second book project, Between Resistance and Reinscription: Black Popular Culture and the Intimacy of Politics, which analyzes the various ways that African Americans have mobilized popular and expressive culture to negotiate racial politics in the 20th and 21st centuries. He is also co-editing a book, Do You Want to Be Well: the Psychic Hold of Slavery, which is an interdisciplinary collection of scholarly essays that considers how slavery's legacies impact contemporary black subjects.


  • Ph.D. () Emory University, African American Literary and Cultural Studies
  • B.A. () Georgetown University, English