Derrick Spires, Cornell University: A Spirit of Inquiry: Early African American Criticism from Phillis Wheatley to Dorothy Porter Wesley (MHC Seminar on Eighteenth Century Studies)


Tuesday, April 12, 2022, 6:00pm


Online Event

Professor Spires's talk draws on several pieces that will be published in Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America about the mission of Black bibliography.

Derrick R. Spires is Associate Professor of Literatures in English and affiliate faculty in American Studies, Visual Studies, and Media Studies at Cornell University. The recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Antiquarian Society, and many other organizations, Professor Spires specializes in early African American and American print culture, citizenship studies, and African American intellectual history. His first book, The Practice of Citizenship: Black Politics and Print Culture in the Early United States (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019), traces the parallel development of early black print culture and legal and cultural understandings of U.S. citizenship, demonstrating how black writers articulated an expansive, practice-based theory of citizenship. Practice won the Modern Language Association Prize for First Book, the Bibliographical Society/St. Louis Mercantile Library Prize and the M/MLA Book Prize. He has also edited a special issue of American Literary History dedicated to “Genealogies of Black Modernity” (Winter 2020). His second book project, Serial Blackness: Periodical Literature and Early African American Literary Histories in the Long Nineteenth Century, takes up seriality as both the core of early African American literary history and a heuristic for understanding blackness in the long nineteenth century.

How To Join

Please register here to receive a Zoom link to the event.

If you have any questions about the event, please contact Yoon Sun Lee at