He is the author of Destructive Desires: Rhythm and Blues Culture and the Politics of Racial Equality (Rutgers University Press, 2019) and Exodus Politics: Civil Rights and Leadership in African American Literature and Culture (UVA Press, 2013), co-editor of The Psychic Hold of Slavery: Legacies in American Expressive Culture (Rutgers University Press, 2016), and editor of the forthcoming Black Cultural Production After Civil Rights (University of Illinois Press, Fall 2019). Currently, he is working on a book titled Black Equity, Black Equality: Reparation and Black Communities.
Dr. Patterson also has published articles on W.E.B. Dubois, Toni Morrison, African American Women’s writing in the 19th and 20th centuries, civil rights, Tyler Perry’s films, slavery’s legacies, the film 12 Years a Slave, and rhythm and blues music and culture. Some of his work appears in South Atlantic Quarterly, Black Camera: An International Film Journal, Religion and Literature, The Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, The Cambridge Companion to African American Women’s Writing, The Cambridge Companion to Civil Rights Literature, and the Journal of Popular Music Studies. He co-guest edited a special edition of South Atlantic Quarterly, Black Literature, Black Leadership: New Boundaries, New Borders (112.2).
Dr. Patterson’s teaching interests and courses mirror his research projects and he has taught a range of courses that examine black cultural production, racial politics, and the legacies of slavery.
Dr. Patterson has worked with governmental agencies, school systems, and other organizations to develop solutions that increase diversity, cultivate inclusion, and provide equity of access and outcomes. Dr. Patterson has collaborated with the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving to endow the Robert J. Patterson Scholarship Fund, which supports residents of Hartford, CT, who intend to pursue an undergraduate degree in African American Studies, social justice, the arts, or the humanities.