Hortense Spillers is the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor in the English Department at Vanderbilt University, where she has been on faculty since 2006. She is the editor (along with Marjorie Pryse) of Conjuring: Black Women, Fiction, and Literary Tradition (1985) and Comparative American Identities: Race, Sex, and Nationality in the Modern Text (1991). She published a collection of essays, Black, White, and in Color: Essays on American Literature and Culture (2003), which spans the breadth of her professional interests in African American culture and history. She is currently working on two big projects — the idea of black culture, and women and early Republican formations — and three smaller and related ones — Faulkner’s Thomas Sutpen (from Absalom, Absalom!) and the DuBoisian “double consciousness”; “statelessness” and the early modern black subject; and Wright, Baldwin, and Ellison at mid-century. All of these projects are at various stages of writing.
The Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Lectures, established in 2012 and administered by the Department of African American Studies at Yale, annually invites a world-renowned scholar from the diverse field of African Diaspora Studies to present an original lecture to the University and New Haven communities. These lectures are endowed in the spirit of excellence that Professor Gates (Yale ’73) brought to the Yale community, particularly in African American Studies, during his years of undergraduate study and while on the faculty. The Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Lectureship is made possible through the generous support of Daniel and Joanna S. Rose. Organized by the African American Studies Department in association with Sterling Memorial Library.