Robert Stepto

Robert Stepto's picture
John M. Schiff Professor of English; Prof African American Studies, Prof American Studies Emeritus
Ph.D., Stanford University, 1974


Robert Stepto is the John M. Schiff Professor of English at Yale. He has been a member of the Yale faculty in English, African American Studies, American Studies since 1974. His principal fields are American and African American autobiography, fiction, poetry and visual arts since 1840. His publications include A Home Elsewhere: Reading African American Classics in the Age of Obama, Blue As the Lake: A Personal Geography, and From Behind the Veil: A Study of Afro-American Narrative. His editing projects include (with Jennifer Greeson) the Norton Critical Edition of Charles Chesnutt’s Conjure Stories, (with Michael Harper) Chant of Saints: Afro-American Literature, Art, and Scholarship, (with Dexter Fisher) Afro-American Literature: The Reconstruction of Instruction, and (with Donald McQuade et al) The Harper American Literature anthologies. He has been an editorial board member at American Literature, American Quarterly and Callaloo. He serves on the national committee to establish an American Writers Museum. For 25 summers, he has taught at the Bread Loaf School of English, where he has been the Robert Frost Professor of English and an Interim Director of the School. Among his recent honors are invitations to deliver W. E. B. Du Bois Lectures at Harvard, an Abernathy Lecture (Middlebury) and a Rushton Lecture (Virginia). At Yale, he has contributed to the conferences on Middle Passage, John Brown, African American History and Memory, and “Embodied: BlackIdentities in American Art.” His service to African American Studies  includes being Chair (2005-2008), an early DUS (1974-1977), and the first DGS (1978-1981).

Recent News

“A Conversation About Frederick Douglass,” featuring David W. Blight in Conversation with Robert Stepto, moderated by Crystal Feimster. The American Academy of Arts & Sciences Morton L. Mandel Lecture at Yale, April 1, 2019 

“Rhythms of Race in Richard Wright’s “Big Boy Leaves Home,” in Glenda Carpio, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Richard Wright,. Cambridge University Press,  April 2019 .

In Conversation: Robert Stepto on four decades of teaching at Yale” Yale News, December 3, 2015

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