Robert Patterson

Dr. Patterson, Chair of the Department of African American Studies, is an associate professor of African American Studies at Georgetown University.

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His first book, Exodus Politics: Civil Rights and Leadership in African American Literature and Culture (UVA Press, 2013), examines late twentieth century African American literary texts to demonstrate how this cultural production enhances our understanding of civil rights, black leadership, and black political discourses. He is also the co-editor of The Psychic Hold of Slavery: Legacies in American Expressive Culture (Rutgers 2016), which is an interdisciplinary collection of scholarly essays that examines slavery's continued significance. In addition to these two projects, Dr. Patterson 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, and the film 12 Years a Slave. Some of his work appears in South Atlantic QuarterlyBlack Camera: an International Film JournalReligion and LiteratureThe Journal of Feminist Studies in ReligionThe Cambridge Companion to African American Women's Writing, and The Cambridge Companion to Civil Rights Literature. He co-guest edited a special edition of South Atlantic Quarterly, Black Literature, Black Leadership: New Boundaries, New Borders (112.2). Extending his scholarly interests in the post–civil rights era, black popular culture, black music, racial equality, and the politics of race and gender, Dr. Patterson is working on his second book, Destructive Desires: Rhythm and Blues Culture and the Politics of Racial Equality. His forthcoming article, "Marriage Panacea: Black Music Re(imagines) Sociological Explanations of Black Inequality," in the Journal of Popular Music Studies (December 2017) previews the arguments upon which Destructive Desires builds.