Researching Memory and National Identity Formation
DeLisa D. Hawkes joined the UT faculty in 2021 as an assistant professor of English and Africana Studies. Hawkes received her PhD from the University of Maryland-College Park. Her research and teaching focus are in 19th to 21st-century African American and Black diaspora literature, Southern Black feminism, Afro-Indigenous Studies, and historical and speculative fiction. Theories concerning memory and national identity formation, particularly regarding archives and family histories, inform her research.
In her current book project, tentatively titled Separate Yet Intertwined: African-Native American Lives in African American Literature, Hawkes examines representations of African American and Native American relationships in nineteenth- to early-twentieth-century African American literature. More specifically, she analyzes how these literary depictions impact narratives of racial identity, kinship, and cross-racial coalitions against white supremacy in the United States.
Hawkes participated in the Community Engagement Academy (CEA) facilitated by the UT Office of Community Engagement and Outreach, which is an interdisciplinary professional development program that trains participants in the foundations of community engagement and engaged scholarship. To mark her completion of the program, Hawkes presented her community-engaged project-in-progress titled, “Bridging Generations: The Black Knoxville Oral History Project.” In November 2021, she presented “Intersectionality: A Framework to See and Address Inequity” as a part of the Office of Multicultural Student Life’s Diversity Dialogues Symposium, which brings together members of the UT community to participate in interactive discussions focused on fostering diversity and inclusivity.
In January 2022, Hawkes began her tenure as a co-producer for the “C19: The Society of Nineteenth Century Americanists” podcast. Hawkes will assist leading and emerging scholars of the 19th century in developing episodes to discuss their recent literary and historical discoveries, nuanced approaches to understanding key texts and historical moments, and innovative pedagogy. Additionally, she is teaching two new courses in Africana Studies – AFST 435: North America and the Diaspora and AFST 450: Issues and Topics in African American Studies, which will focus on race in horror, sci-fi, and horror across a variety of mediums.