Joanna Davis-McElligatt, PH.D. | Department of English

Joanna Davis-McElligatt, PH.D.

Assistant Professor
409E Language Bldg

Joanna Davis-McElligatt is an Assistant Professor of Black Literary and Cultural Studies at the University of North Texas, where is she Affiliate Faculty in Women's and Gender Studies, and LGBT Studies. She is at work on her first monograph, entitled Black Aliens: Navigating Narrative Spacetime in Afrodiasporic Speculative Fiction. Black Aliens offers a contemporary critical framework for analyzing blackness, immigrations, alienness/alienation, temporalities, and nationalisms within broader matrices of slavery, (de)colonization and nation-building, and the politics of embodiment. The monograph explores Black aliens as literary figure and as metaphor in what I call Afrodiasporic speculative fiction, or fiction that addresses what Rasheedah Phillips terms "the first great Indigenous African Space-Time Splintering" which was inaugurated by the transatlantic slave trade, and continues to take on new forms in our present moment. To that end, Black Aliens traces the emergence of the Black alien in Afrodiasporic speculative fiction through figure of the enslaved and their descendants, undocumented workers, refugees, extraterrestrial aliens, immortals, and interstellar settlers.

She is the co-editor of five volumes: Narratives of Marginalized Identities in Higher Education: Inside and Outside the Academy (Routledge 2019), Narrating History, Home, and Dyaspora: Critical Essays on Edwidge Danticat (UP of Mississippi 2022), BOOM! Splat!: Comics and Violence (UP of Mississippi 2024), Afrosouthernfuturism (in progress), and Transgressive Teaching and Learning: Critical Essays on bell hooks' Engaged Pedagogy (in progress).

Her scholarly work appears or is forthcoming in south: a scholarly journal, Mississippi Quarterly, The Cambridge Companion to New Faulkner Studies (Cambridge UP 2022), The Cambridge Companion to the American Graphic Novel (forthcoming, Cambridge UP), A History of the Literature of the U.S. South (Cambridge UP 2021), Routledge Companion to Literature of the U.S. South (Routledge 2022), and Small Screen Souths: Region, Identity, and the Cultural Politics of Television (LSU P, 2017), among other places. Her work on comics has appeared in The Comics Journal, Snapshots: Teaching Love and Rockets (forthcoming 2023), Graphic Novels for Children and Young Adults (U of Mississippi P, 2017), and The Comics of Chris Ware: Drawing is a Way of Thinking (U of Mississippi P 2010). She is the illustrator for Educating for Social Justice: Field Notes from Rural Communities (Brill/Sense 2020).

Her areas of teaching and research include Africana Studies, Critical Race and Ethnic Studies, Literary Theory, Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Comics Studies, Southern Studies, and 20th and 21st century U.S. Literary Studies. She is currently serving as Member at Large for the William Faulkner Society, and is the First Vice President of the Comics Studies Society. Before joining UNT, she spent nine years at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.