Plenary speakers

Professor Bettye Collier-Thomas | Department of History, Temple University

EBAAS 2018 Lecture title: “From King to Trump: The Enduring Legacy of White Supremacy for American Democracy.”

Bettye Collier

Bettye Collier-Thomas is Professor of History and specialises in U. S. social, cultural, and political history. She has authored books in the fields of African American and women’s history, religion, civil rights and black power and her publications include Jesus, Jobs, and Justice: African American Women and Religion (2010); Daughters of Thunder: Black Women Preachers and Their Sermons (1997); and she has co-authored with V. P. Franklin Sisters in the Struggle: African American Women in the Civil Rights-Black Power Movement (2001) and My Soul Is A Witness: A Chronology of the Civil Rights Era, 1954-1965 (2000).

Appointed by the National Endowment for the Humanities as a Special Consultant to the division of Public Programs (1977-1980), she developed NEH’s first program of technical assistance to black museums and historical organizations; became a founder and officer of the National Association of Black Museums and organized the first National Conference on Black Museums. Collier-Thomas is the founder and served as the first executive director of the Mary McLeod Bethune Memorial Museum and the National Archives for Black Women’s History, and served as the inaugural director of the Temple University Center for African American History and Culture (1989-2002).

In 2015, at a national conference sponsored by Michigan State University, Collier-Thomas was one of 11 outstanding scholars celebrated as pioneers in African American Women’s History and she is currently writing a history of African American women and politics.


Professor Jo Gill | Department of English, University of Exeter

EBAAS 2018 Lecture title: “As Seen from Above: American Poetry in the Jet Age”

Jo Gill 

Jo Gill is Professor of twentieth-century and American literature. She teaches and researches in modern and contemporary English and American literature, and has particular interests and expertise in confessional and life-writing, mid-twentieth century American poetry, the literature and culture of the American suburbs and the relationship between literature (specifically poetry) and architecture.

Gill’s publications include The Poetics of the American Suburbs (2013); The Cambridge Introduction to Sylvia Plath (2008); Anne Sexton’s Confessional Poetics (2007); and Women’s Poetry (2007). Her article “‘Quite the Opposite of a Feminist’: Phyllis McGinley, Betty Friedan, and Discourses of Gender in Mid-Century American Culture” (Women’s History Review, 2013) won the Arthur Miller Centre Prize for the year’s best American Studies essay and she was the Principal Investigator of the Leverhulme Trust-funded “Cultures of the Suburbs International Research Network” (2011-14). Gill is now completing work on a new book entitled Modern American Poetry and the Architectural Imagination.


Professor M. Giulia Fabi | Department of Humanities, University of Ferrara

EBAAS 2018 Lecture title: “Book Power: Early African American Speculative Fiction and the Future of the Past.”

Giulia Fabi is Associate Professor of American literature and specializes in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century African American and American literature.

She is the author of Passing and the Rise of the African American Novel (2001), which was selected as an Outstanding Academic Book by Choice Magazine in 2002, and America nera: la cultura afroamericana (2002).  She has co-edited New Black Feminist Criticism, 1985-2000, by Barbara Christian (2007), and is a contributor to several volumes, including Approaches to Teaching Nella Larsen (2016), Extravagances: Habits of Being 4 (2015), Jim Crow, Literature, and the Legacy of Sutton E. Griggs  (2013), Recovering Five Generations Hence: The Life and Writing of Lillian Jones Horace  (2013), and The Cambridge Companion to the African American Novel (2004).  She is the editor of  the Penguin Classics edition William Wells Brown’s Clotel (2004), of a series of Italian translations of African American novels, and of the bilingual edition of Frederick Douglass’s 1845 Narrative (2015).

She is currently working on the critical edition of Sutton E. Griggs’s Pointing the Way and completing a manuscript on African American Speculative Fiction to the Harlem Renaissance.

The British Library

The British Library