Bell Brings Black Feminist Theory to African Studies Courses
Danielle Procope Bell joined UT in 2021 as an assistant professor of English and Africana Studies. Bell, who received her PhD from Vanderbilt University, teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on African American literature and Black feminist theory, with a focus on literary criticism and effective writing. Her research areas are mid-to-late 19th and early 20th-century African American literature and contemporary Black feminist criticism.
Her book project, tentatively titled Respectable Radicalism: The Rhetoric of Black Women’s Intellectualism, examines how so-called “respectable” rhetoric coheres with radical thought in Black women’s writing in the 19th century. Respectable Radicalism focuses on Black women’s strategies to be heard, traces Black women’s intellectual thought, and considers the multivalent ways that Black women make plain their inherent humanity through a strategic use of respectable rhetoric. At the core, her work examines strategies of Black resistance and the makings of Black subjectivity in a world bent on refusing citizenship, and even personhood, to Black people.
In addition to her scholarship, Bell is helping us develop innovative, student-centered courses and programming through a collaboration with the Frieson Black Cultural Center. The goal is to reach more UT students and welcome new majors and minors to Africana Studies. In spring 2022, Bell is teaching AFST 450: Black Feminist Theory and AFST 233: Major Black Writers.