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DeLisa D. Hawkes, Ph.D.

El-Ra Adair Radney
Assistant Professor, English and the Africana Studies Program
University of Tennessee
417 McClung Tower, Knoxville, TN 37996-0430


DeLisa D. Hawkes is a scholar of African American Studies and an affiliate faculty member of the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Program, specializing in nineteenth- to twenty-first-century African American literature. Her current book project examines how authors of the New Negro Renaissance used their writings to make strides towards anti-colonial thinking within Black American communities through their discussions about Black and Indigenous opposition to white-settler colonialism and white supremacy. Her project is also interested in how these texts influence narratives of racial identity and kinship in the United States. Hawkes’ research has appeared in peer-reviewed journals and edited collections, including  J19, MELUS, Langston Hughes Review, Studies in the Fantastic, North Carolina Literary Review, Reimagining the Republic: Race, Citizenship, and Nation in the Literary Work of Albion W. Tourgée (Fordham 2022), and 21st Century US Historical Fiction: Contemporary Responses to the Past (Palgrave 2020).

Several fellowships and grants have supported Hawkes’ research and teaching, including support from the First Book Institute hosted by the Center for American Literary Studies at Penn State, the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing, the Community Engagement Academy at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, the Center for Historic American Visual Culture at the American Antiquarian Society, the Mystic Seaport Museum, and the Association of Literary Scholars, Critics, and Writers. She also participated in the 2015 NEH summer institute Paul Laurence Dunbar and American Literary History.

Hawkes is an engaged member of several organizations, including the African American Intellectual Historical Society, the College Language Association, the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association, MELUS: The Society for the Study of the Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States, and C19: The Society of Nineteenth Century Americanists. She currently serves as the Vice President of the Langston Hughes Society and as a member of the C19 podcast subcommittee.  


PhD, University of Maryland
MA, North Carolina Central University
BA, North Carolina State University

Selected Publications

“Hippolyta’s Awakening Through Spiritual Warfare in Lovecraft Country (2020).” Studies in the Fantastic, no. 12, 2022, p. 1-17, doi:10.1353/sif.2021.0010. 

“To Fathom His Very Roots: Chief Buffalo Child Long Lance and ‘Evidence’ of His Literary Racial Passing.” J19: The Journal of Nineteenth-Century Americanists, vol. 9, no. 1, 2021, p. 69-80, doi:10.1353/jnc.2021.0008. 

“‘My Uncle’s Cousin’s Great-Grandma Were a Cherokee,’ and I Am Descended from an Ashanti King: The American Blood Idiom in the Simple Stories.” The Langston Hughes Review, vol. 27, no. 1, 2021, pp. 29-46.

“Olivia Ward Bush-Banks and New Negro Indigeneity.” MELUS, vol. 45, no. 3, 2020, pp. 104-128.