Hortense Spillers

Visiting Scholar




Department of English


Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN

Geographic Location

United States
Hortense Spillers

Dr. Hortense Spillers is an American literary critic, Black Feminist scholar and the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor at Vanderbilt University. A scholar of the African diaspora, Spillers is known for her essays on African-American literature in Black, White, and In Color: Essays on American Literature and Culture, published by the University of Chicago Press in 2003 and Comparative American Identities: Race, Sex, and Nationality in the Modern Text, published by Routledge in 1991.

Primary Recipient Awards

Hortense Spillers – International Visiting Research Scholars – 2017

Hortense Spillers is the foremost African-American scholar in North America. She is a renown feminist scholar and a widely read critical theorist whose influence is felt across the humanities. PhD students at UBC are writing dissertations informed by her theoretical reflections in the fields of critical race studies and feminism in English and GRSJ. Faculty whose work already bears the stamp of her influence and who would be uniquely positioned to work with her to advance their own research agendas but also to forge new ones include: Dr. Denise Ferreira da Silva, who shares the field of black feminism, Dr. Phanuel Antwi, who works on black performance arts, Dr. Jeff Severs, who works in African-American literature, Dr. Chris Lee, who works in USA ethnic studies, Dr. Vanessa Androetti, whose critical education practice is indebted to postcolonial and black feminist work, Dr. Dory Nason, in FNIS and Dr. John Culbert, a writer and award-winning scholar much influenced by Spillers. The new synergy that will be the focus of our encounter is to envision the future of a critical/creative theory and practice-based research project in the Institute for Social Justice. We will explore alternatives to the revolutionary model that has dominated our field and with Dr. Spillers we will outline a set of approaches and questions to orient our thinking of social transformation through collaboration between literary practices and theoretical ones.