Panelists

Jovonne J. Bickerstaff
Is a scholar of gender, race and emotional intimacy as a Postdoctoral Associate in the Mellon-funded African American History, Culture & Digital Humanities Initiative at University of Maryland, College Park. Her dissertation, “Together, Close, Resilient: Essays on Emotion Work Among Black Couples,” probed the emotion strategies partners co-construct to foster emotional intimacy, navigate differences and cultivate a shared identity - offering a rare window into black intimate lives. Centering and theorizing from black couples' experiences, Bickerstaff's first book project brings an intersectional approach to Hochschild’s emotion management framework providing a more nuanced portrait of how gender matters and avoiding the gender essentialism in much of the research taking the white, middle class as normative American couples. Her latest project proposes novel frames for conceptualizing black relationships beyond claims of crisis to attend to wellness and expressions of care.  A Ford & NSF Fellow, she received her doctorate in sociology from Harvard.

Christina Carney
Is Assistant Professor of Black (Queer) Sexuality Studies in Black Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Missouri in Columbia. Carney received her doctorate in Ethnic Studies from the University of California in San Diego in May 2016. She has published two articles: “The Politics of Representation for Black Women and the Impossibility of Queering the New Jersey 4/7” in Wish to Live: The Hip-Hop Feminism Pedagogy Reader (Peter Lang Publishing; 2012; edited by Ruth Nicole Brown and Chamara Jewel Kwakye); and “Sexual Knowledge and Practiced Feminisms: On Moral Panic, Black Girlhoods, and Hip Hop” (Journal of Popular Music Studies, Dec 2016; co-authored with Jillian Hernandez and Anya M. Wallace). Her manuscript, Militarized Deviance: Black Women, Surveillance and Place-making in San Diego, examines histories of black queer women during different historical moments that defy a politics of respectability in relation to sexuality, class and gender performance. She is a manuscript editor for American Quarterly and Critical Ethnic Studies. Professional organizations include American Studies Association (ASA) and National Women’s Association (NWSA).

Sachelle Ford
Is a Post-doctoral Lecturing Fellow in the Thompson Writing Program at Duke University, where she teaches courses on African American and Caribbean studies and helps administer a research program for undergraduate scholars.  She received the PhD in English from Brown University in May 2016 after receiving her BA from Emory in 2008 where she was a Mellon Mays Fellow.  Her research focuses on formations of kinship in the diasporic tradition and her writing has appeared in the 
Antigua and Barbuda Review of Books, NOVEL, and Gender: Love, a volume edited by Jennifer C. Nash.  She is currently working on a manuscript that explores how ambivalent representations of love in contemporary narratives expand our understanding of the condition of being in diaspora.  Her presentation for the Black Love Symposium, which is on Hilton Als’s memoir The Women, grows out of this project. 
Kelly A. Harris
Is an ARTpreneur, poet and curator with an MFA from Lesley University. The Cave Canem alum has received awards from The Fine Arts Work Center, The Akron Art Museum and others. The National Parks Service, The Institute for Women & Ethnic Studies and Cleveland’s Regional Transit Authority have commissioned her work. She has curated programs for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, The Ogden Museum of Southern Art, and presented at The Black Arts Movement Conference and The New Orleans Poetry Festival. Her poems have appeared in Yale University's 
Caduceus Journal, Say It Loud: Poems for James Brown, Reverie Journal, Southern Women’s Review, "Didn't Wash Us Away: ", Angels in the Wilderness: Young and Black in New Orleans and Beyond. Kelly founded BrassyBrown.com and works as a writer and consultant. She lives in New Orleans with her husband and daughter, Naomi. 

Aneeka A. Henderson
Is an Assistant Professor at Amherst College in the Sexuality, Women’s and Gender Studies Department. She is a 2017-2018 AAUW American Postdoctoral Fellow and a 2017 Woodrow Wilson National Foundation Career Enhancement Fellow. For the 2017-2018 academic year, she will be an Affiliate Scholar at Brown University’s Pembroke Center for Research and Teaching on Women. Her forthcoming book project, Wedding Bell Blues: Race and the Modern Marriage Plot, examines the ways in which contemporary music, film, and fiction negotiate and respond to complex neoliberal logics and black political nostalgia privileging marriage and family as supposed “cures” for inequality. At Amherst College, she teaches a wide range of courses exploring a mosaic of African American literature, art, music, and film and her classes have been featured in Elle magazine as well as the New York Times.

DaMaris B. Hill
Models her work after the work of Toni Morrison and an expression of her theories regarding ‘rememory.’ She has studied with writers such as Lucille Clifton, Monifa Love-Asante, Marita Golden and others. Her development as a writer has also been enhanced by the institutional support of The MacDowell Colony, Vermont Studio Center, Bread Loaf Writers Conference, Key West Literary Seminar/Writers Workshops, Callaloo Literary Writers Workshop, The Institute for Digital Research in the Humanities, The Project on the History of Black Writing, The Watering Hole Poetry and The Furious Flower Poetry Center at James Madison University. Her books include The Fluid Boundaries of Suffrage and Jim Crow: Staking Claims in the Heartland and \ Vi-zə-bəl \ \ Teks-chərs \ (Visible Textures), short collection of poems. She is currently working on a novel about girls that are incarcerated during the 1930s.

Similar to her creative process, Dr. Hill’s scholarly research is interdisciplinary and examines the intersections between literary criticisms, cultural studies, and digital humanities. Dr. Hill serves as an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Kentucky.  

Gillian Johns
Is an Associate Professor of English and Africana Studies at Oberlin College, where she has developed courses in such areas as the textualization of orality and literacy in works by Gaines, Morrison, and Wideman, black detective fiction, modernist Chicago writers and sociological theory, the August Wilson century cycle, humor and irony in modern black fiction, and critical race theory and classical American fiction.  She earned her PhD in English from Temple University in Philadelphia; her dissertation focused on modern black writers’ uses of discourses associated with frontier or tall humor to re-align (cultural authority in) racialized rhetorical relations with their readerships.  She has published articles on tall humor, irony, satire, and related topics in works by Hurston, Wright, Ellison, Percival Everett, and other authors.  She has also recently taken graduate courses at Case Western Reserve University in cognitive linguistics to serve as a foundation for a monograph tracing African American authors’ study of and fictional experiments with rhetorical, linguistic, and speech act theories of language in their ongoing efforts to transform spoken black English into a rich expressive literary vehicle.
Maria S. Johnson
Is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice at the University of Delaware. She earned a Ph.D. in Public Policy and Sociology from the University of Michigan and a BA in History from Hampton University. Her research uses qualitative methods and critical race and gender theories to examine the intersection of race, gender, and class discourse within Black daughter-father relationships, fatherhood studies, and family policies. Professor Johnson has published works on intersectionality and family relationships in various outlets, including Gender & Society. She is currently completing a book manuscript about Black women’s accounts of daughter-father relationships. Her research has been supported by university and national grants, including the National Poverty Center. At the University of Delaware, Professor Johnson teaches courses related to racial inequalities, gender, and the politics of poverty.
David Malcolm McGruder
Is a native of Kansas City, Kansas.  He earned a B.A. in political science with concentrations in political theory and philosophy from Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA, where he was awarded the 2011 Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship & Prize. He earned a Master of Divinity degree (M.Div) from Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, NJ and was awarded the Aaron E. Gast Prize in Urban Ministry. He is currently pursing a Masters in Politics & History from the University of Cambridge in the U.K. His publications include "The Finished Work" in A Beautiful Thing: Sermons from Young Preachers (Chalice Press, 2010) and “Locked Up: Theological Reflections on Prisons, Repression, and Resistance” in The African American Lectionary (October, 2011). His broader research interests include postmodern theology, continental political philosophy, and global politics.  He currently serves as Community Outreach Coordinator at the Project for Peace & Progress Inc., an advocacy and research non-profit dedicated to eradicating poverty and advancing global peace through community education programing.
McKinley E. Melton
Is an Assistant Professor of English at Gettysburg College, who earned his Ph.D. from the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He is the recipient of a 2015 Career Enhancement Fellowship for Junior Faculty from the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, and was a 2015-16 Postdoctoral Fellow at the Fox Center for Humanistic Inquiry at Emory University.  Dr. Melton's courses engage the intersections of social, political, and cultural movements as part of a critical approach to Africana literatures.  His research-including his current book project, Along Their Own Way: Manhood, Spirituality, and Survival in Black Diasporan Literature-focuses primarily on the influence of spiritual and religious traditions on black diasporan literary, artistic, and cultural expressions.
Nicki Night
Is an edgy hopeless romantic who enjoys creating stories of love and new possibilities. Nicki has a penchant for adventure and is currently working on penning her next romantic escapade. Nicki resides in New York City where dreams are made of, but occasionally travels to her treasured seaside hideaway to write in seclusion. She enjoys hearing directly from readers and can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram as well as through her website at NickiNight.com, or via email at 
NickiNightwrites@gmail.com.
Ted Ownby
Teaches History and Southern Studies at the University of Mississippi, where he is director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture. He is the author of two books, 
Subduing Satan: Recreation, Religion, and Manhood in the Rural South, 1865-1920, and American Dreams in Mississippi: Consumers, Poverty, & Culture, 1830-1998, and editor or coeditor of seven others, including The Mississippi Encyclopedia. He is at work on a study of how different people in the twentieth-century American South defined family life and family problems.

Tyler D. Parry
Is an Assistant Professor of African American Studies in Orange County, California. He received his Ph.D. in 2014 from the University of South Carolina’s History Department. He also holds a Masters Degree (2011) from the University of South Carolina and a BA (2008) from the University of Nevada Las Vegas.

Parry’s research examines slavery in the Americas and the African diaspora. His writings are published in the Journal of Southern History, American Studies, Journal of Global SlaveryHistory Today, Griot's Republic, Jacobin.com, and Black Perspectives. He is currently revising his book manuscript Bound in Bondage: Slave Matrimony in the African Diaspora for publication. Concurrently, he is co-authoring a book with Charlton Yingling of the University of Louisville tentatively titled (White) Man's Best Friend: Slave Hounds and Power in the Americas, which examines the transatlantic usage of dogs against black bodies during the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries.

Dan Royles
Is an Assistant Professor of History at Florida International University, where he teaches courses on United States, African American, LGBT, and oral history. His current book project, To Make the Wounded Whole, describes the ways that a diverse cast of African American activists have fought against the spread of HIV in black America over the last thirty-five years, and is under advance contract with University of North Carolina Press. He also runs African American AIDS Activism Oral History Project, which gathers the stories of African American AIDS activists, and the African American AIDS History Project, a digital archive of responses to HIV/AIDS in black America. He received his Ph.D in history from Temple University in January 2014, and has held fellowships at The Ohio State University, and at the Center for the Humanities at Temple.

Sophfronia Scott
Hails from Lorain, Ohio. She was a writer and editor at Time and People magazines before publishing her first novel, All I Need to Get By (St. Martin’s Press) in 2004. She holds a BA in English from Harvard and an MFA in writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her short stories and essays have appeared in The Timberline ReviewKillens Review of Arts & LettersRuminate MagazineSaranac ReviewNuméro CinqBarnstorm Literary JournalNewYorkTimes.com, and O, The Oprah Magazine.

Her forthcoming novel, Unforgivable Love, will be published by William Morrow/HarperCollins in September 2017. She also has on the way an essay collection, Love’s Long Line, from Ohio State University Press and a spiritual memoir, A Child of Faith: Raising a Spiritual Being in a Secular World, from Paraclete Press. Sophfronia teaches creative writing at Regis University’s Mile High MFA and lives in Sandy Hook, Connecticut.

J. Brendan Shaw

Is a member of the faculty at Central State University​ and holds a Ph.D. in English and an M.A. in Women’s Studies (both from Ohio State University). His research draws on Black feminist thought, queer theory, critical race theory, and theories of emotion and embodiment. His research examines Black women’s use of technology to make art in post-Civil Rights literature, film, and visual culture. Specifically, he considers how Black women have employed emergent ways of storytelling to retell history in ways which center alternative narratives of pain and pleasure. These mediated images and narratives serve as extensions of their bodies that push against static ideas of the Black female body. His work has previously been published in Feminist Formations. His teaching interests include African American literature, queer theory, film studies, and popular culture studies.

Caleb Stephens
Is a LMSW (Licensed Master Social Worker) and a LAC (Licensed Addictions Counselor). He graduated from Bethel College, Kansas, in 2011, and graduated from the University of Kansas School of Social Welfare in 2014. Caleb worked in Child Welfare as a Reintegration Case Manager and then a Intensive In-Home Therapist, from 2011 through 2014.

He is an activist for Social Justice, and specializes in Intrapersonal Conflict, Identity, and the different intersectionalities of Race, Substance Abuse, Coping, and Hope; he implements those through his company called IdentiFight.  Consequential to Caleb's formerly noted foci he is competent in speicalized work encompassing the Black Narrative. His emphasis centers around the understanding of Safety, Truth, and Hope. He utilizes various sources of strength and connection, to create safe spaces to empower authentic, intentional Truths. Caleb enjoys working out, writing, speaking on various issues, and pouring into the Lawrence and University of Kansas community. Oh, and he loves food. 

Maren Turner
Is the director of AARP Kansas. She is a regular contributor to television and print media, a weekly spokesperson on radio talk shows, and serves as a visiting and adjunct professor on aging-related issues. Turner is a past gubernatorial appointee to task forces and commissions, and currently serves on the Governor’s Subcommittee on Alcohol and other Drug Abuse. She is the Past-President and Founder of Malcolm & Associates, Inc., a private company dedicated to meeting the needs of people with developmental disabilities.

Turner has served in a variety of volunteer positions, and is currently a member of the Senior Resource Center for Douglas County, Board of Directors.  She is a graduate of Leadership Kansas (’05), and a KU Woman of Distinction.  Turner has a Bachelor’s degree in Mental Health and Counseling, an MS in Developmental Psychology, an MA in Human Development, a Graduate Certificate in Gerontology, and a PhD in Applied Behavioral Science.  

Deborah Elizabeth Whaley
Is Professor of American studies and African American studies at the University of Iowa, where she teaches courses on comparative American cultural history, black cultural studies, film, music, and critical theory. Whaley’s first book, Disciplining Women: Alpha Kappa Alpha, Black Counterpublics, and the Cultural Politics of Black Sororities (2010), examines the cultural practices, cultural work, and politics of the oldest historically black sorority. Her latest book, Black Women in Sequence: Re-inking Comics, Graphic Novels, and Anime (2015), explores graphic-novel production and comic-book fandom, looking in particular at African, African American, and multiethnic women as deployed in television, film, animation, gaming, and print representations of comic-book and graphic-novel characters. She is currently working on a third monograph on race, gender, affect, and (dis)ability. 
Andreá N. Williams
Is Associate Professor of English at The Ohio State University, where she teaches African American and nineteenth-century American literature. Her book, Dividing Lines: Class Anxiety and Postbellum Black Fiction (2013), examines class inequality in African American literature between the Civil War and Harlem Renaissance. Her research interests also include black print culture and periodical studies, auto/biographical studies, U.S. women writers, and black feminist theory and criticism. As an alumna of Spelman College, she also values the rich history and archives of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), as in her presentation for this conference: “Love on the Quad: Courtship, Surveillance, and the Black College Press.” She currently is at work on a cultural study of unmarried African American women in the first half of the twentieth century. In 2017-18, she is in residence at the National Humanities Center, sponsored by an ACLS Frederick Burkhardt Fellowship.

Riché Barnes
Is a sociocultural anthropologist whose teaching and research specializations are in black feminist theories, work and family policy, and African Diasporic raced, gendered, and classed identity formation. Dr. Barnes is the author of Raising the Race: Black Career Women Redefine Marriage, Motherhood, and Community (Rutgers University 2016), an ethnographic study of Black women’s strategies for family and communal survival, which was considered for an NAACP image award. Her current research focuses on the impact of urban education reform on Black families and communities. Her research has appeared in numerous scholarly collections, including The Changing Landscape of Work and Family in the American Middle Class and The Gender, Culture, and Power Reader. She currently has research affiliations at Stanford University, and the African American Policy Forum. Barnes previously taught at Spelman College and Smith College and is currently the Assistant Dean of Social Sciences and associate professor of anthropology at Endicott College.

Jovonne J. Bickerstaff
A scholar of gender, race and emotional intimacy, is a Postdoctoral Associate in the Mellon-funded African American History, Culture & Digital Humanities Initiative at University of Maryland, College Park. Her dissertation, “Together, Close, Resilient: Essays on Emotion Work Among Black Couples,” probed the emotion strategies partners co-construct to foster emotional intimacy, navigate differences and cultivate a shared identity - offering a rare window into black intimate lives. Centering and theorizing from black couples' experiences, Bickerstaff's first book project brings an intersectional approach to Hochschild’s emotion management framework providing a more nuanced portrait of 
how gender matters and avoiding the gender essentialism in much of the research taking the white, middle class as normative American couples. Her latest project proposes novel frames for conceptualizing black relationships beyond claims of crisis to attend to wellness and expressions of care.  A Ford & NSF Fellow, she received her doctorate in sociology from Harvard.

Christina Carney
Assistant Professor of Black (Queer) Sexuality Studies in Black Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Missouri in Columbia. Carney received her doctorate in Ethnic Studies from the University of California in San Diego in May 2016. She has published two articles: “The Politics of Representation for Black Women and the Impossibility of Queering the New Jersey 4/7” in Wish to Live: The Hip-Hop Feminism Pedagogy Reader (Peter Lang Publishing; 2012; edited by Ruth Nicole Brown and Chamara Jewel Kwakye); and “Sexual Knowledge and Practiced Feminisms: On Moral Panic, Black Girlhoods, and Hip Hop” (Journal of Popular Music Studies, Dec 2016; co-authored with Jillian Hernandez and Anya M. Wallace). Her manuscript, Militarized Deviance: Black Women, Surveillance and Place-making in San Diego, examines histories of black queer women during different historical moments that defy a politics of respectability in relation to sexuality, class and gender performance. She is a manuscript editor for American Quarterly and Critical Ethnic Studies. Professional organizations include American Studies Association (ASA) and National Women’s Association (NWSA).

Sachelle Ford
Is a Post-doctoral Lecturing Fellow in the Thompson Writing Program at Duke University, where she teaches courses on African American and Caribbean studies and helps administer a research program for undergraduate scholars.  She received the PhD in English from Brown University in May 2016 after receiving her BA from Emory in 2008 where she was a Mellon Mays Fellow.  Her research focuses on formations of kinship in the diasporic tradition and her writing has appeared in the 
Antigua and Barbuda Review of Books, NOVEL, and Gender: Love, a volume edited by Jennifer C. Nash.  She is currently working on a manuscript that explores how ambivalent representations of love in contemporary narratives expand our understanding of the condition of being in diaspora.  Her presentation for the Black Love Symposium, which is on Hilton Als’s memoir The Women, grows out of this project. 
Kelly A. Harris
Is an ARTpreneur, poet and curator with an MFA from Lesley University. The Cave Canem alum has received awards from The Fine Arts Work Center, The Akron Art Museum and others. The National Parks Service, The Institute for Women & Ethnic Studies and Cleveland’s Regional Transit Authority have commissioned her work. She has curated programs for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, The Ogden Museum of Southern Art, and presented at The Black Arts Movement Conference and The New Orleans Poetry Festival. Her poems have appeared in Yale University's 
Caduceus Journal, Say It Loud: Poems for James Brown, Reverie Journal, Southern Women’s Review, "Didn't Wash Us Away: ", Angels in the Wilderness: Young and Black in New Orleans and Beyond. Kelly founded BrassyBrown.com and works as a writer and consultant. She lives in New Orleans with her husband and daughter, Naomi. 

Aneeka A. Henderson
Is an Assistant Professor at Amherst College in the Sexuality, Women’s and Gender Studies Department. Her forthcoming book project, Wedding Bell Blues: Race and the Modern Marriage Plot, examines the ways in which contemporary music, film, and fiction negotiate and respond to complex neoliberal logics and post-Black Power nostalgia privileging marriage and family as supposed “cures” for inequality.

She has presented her work at the University of Hull-Yorkshire, England’s Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation and the Collegium for African American Research in Liverpool, England and she is the recipient of the Woodrow Wilson National Foundation Award and the Duke University Mellon Mays Professional Advancement Award. At Amherst College, she teaches a wide range of courses exploring a mosaic of African American literature, art, music, and film and her classes have been featured in Elle magazine as well as the New York Times.

DaMaris B. Hill
Her work is modeled after the work of in the work of Toni Morrison and an expression of her theories regarding ‘rememory.’ She has studied with writers such as Lucille Clifton, Monifa Love-Asante, Marita Golden and others. Her development as a writer has also been enhanced by the institutional support of The MacDowell Colony, Vermont Studio Center, Bread Loaf Writers Conference, Key West Literary Seminar/Writers Workshops, Callaloo Literary Writers Workshop, The Institute for Digital Research in the Humanities, The Project on the History of Black Writing, The Watering Hole Poetry and The Furious Flower Poetry Center at James Madison University. Her books include The Fluid Boundaries of Suffrage and Jim Crow: Staking Claims in the Heartland and \ Vi-zə-bəl \ \ Teks-chərs \ (Visible Textures), short collection of poems. She is currently working on a novel about girls that are incarcerated during the 1930s.

Similar to her creative process, Dr. Hill’s scholarly research is interdisciplinary and examines the intersections between literary criticisms, cultural studies, and digital humanities. Dr. Hill serves as an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Kentucky.  

Gillian Johns
Is an associate professor of English and Africana Studies at Oberlin College, where she has developed courses in such areas as the textualization of orality and literacy in works by Gaines, Morrison, and Wideman, black detective fiction, modernist Chicago writers and sociological theory, the August Wilson century cycle, humor and irony in modern black fiction, and critical race theory and classical American fiction.  She earned her PhD in English from Temple University in Philadelphia; her dissertation focused on modern black writers’ uses of discourses associated with frontier or tall humor to re-align (cultural authority in) racialized rhetorical relations with their readerships.  She has published articles on tall humor, irony, satire, and related topics in works by Hurston, Wright, Ellison, Percival Everett, and other authors.  She has also recently taken graduate courses at Case Western Reserve University in cognitive linguistics to serve as a foundation for a monograph tracing African American authors’ study of and fictional experiments with rhetorical, linguistic, and speech act theories of language in their ongoing efforts to transform spoken black English into a rich expressive literary vehicle.
Maria S. Johnson
Is an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice at the University of Delaware. She earned a Ph.D. in Public Policy and Sociology from the University of Michigan and a BA in History from Hampton University. Her research uses qualitative methods and critical race and gender theories to examine the intersection of race, gender, and class discourse within Black daughter-father relationships, fatherhood studies, and family policies. Professor Johnson has published works on intersectionality and family relationships in various outlets, including 
Gender & Society. She is currently completing a book manuscript about Black women’s accounts of daughter-father relationships. Her research has been supported by university and national grants, including the National Poverty Center. At the University of Delaware, Professor Johnson teaches courses related to racial inequalities, gender, and the politics of poverty.

David Malcolm McGruder 
Is a native of Kansas City, Kansas.  He earned a B.A. in political science with concentrations in political theory and philosophy from Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA, where he was awarded the 2011 Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship & Prize. He earned a Master of Divinity degree (M.Div) from Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, NJ and was awarded the Aaron E. Gast Prize in Urban Ministry. He is currently pursing a Masters in Politics & History from the University of Cambridge in the U.K. His publications include "The Finished Work" in A Beautiful Thing: Sermons from Young Preachers (Chalice Press, 2010) and “Locked Up: Theological Reflections on Prisons, Repression, and Resistance” in The African American Lectionary (October, 2011). His broader research interests include postmodern theology, continental political philosophy, and global politics.  He currently serves as Community Outreach Coordinator at the Project for Peace & Progress Inc., an advocacy and research non-profit dedicated to eradicating poverty and advancing global peace through community education programing.

McKinley E. Melton
Assistant professor of English at Gettysburg College, earned his Ph.D. from the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.  He is the recipient of a 2015 Career Enhancement Fellowship for Junior Faculty from the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, and was a 2015-16 Postdoctoral Fellow at the Fox Center for Humanistic Inquiry at Emory University.  Dr. Melton's courses engage the intersections of social, political, and cultural movements as part of a critical approach to Africana literatures.  His research-including his current book project, Along Their Own Way: Manhood, Spirituality, and Survival in Black Diasporan Literature-focuses primarily on the influence of spiritual and religious traditions on black diasporan literary, artistic, and cultural expressions.
Nicki Night
Is an edgy hopeless romantic who enjoys creating stories of love and new possibilities. Nicki has a penchant for adventure and is currently working on penning her next romantic escapade. Nicki resides in New York City where dreams are made of, but occasionally travels to her treasured seaside hideaway to write in seclusion. She enjoys hearing directly from readers and can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram as well as through her website at NickiNight.com, or via email at 
NickiNightwrites@gmail.com.
Ted Ownby
Teaches History and Southern Studies at the University of Mississippi, where he is director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture. He is the author of two books, 
Subduing Satan: Recreation, Religion, and Manhood in the Rural South, 1865-1920, and American Dreams in Mississippi: Consumers, Poverty, & Culture, 1830-1998, and editor or coeditor of seven others, including The Mississippi Encyclopedia. He is at work on a study of how different people in the twentieth-century American South defined family life and family problems.

Tyler D. Parry
Is Assistant Professor of African American Studies in Orange County, California. He received his Ph.D. in 2014 from the University of South Carolina’s History Department. He also holds a Masters Degree (2011) from the University of South Carolina and a BA (2008) from the University of Nevada Las Vegas.

Parry’s research examines slavery in the Americas and the African diaspora. His writings are published in the Journal of Southern History, American Studies, Journal of Global SlaveryHistory Today, Griot's Republic, Jacobin.com, and Black Perspectives. He is currently revising his book manuscript Bound in Bondage: Slave Matrimony in the African Diaspora for publication. Concurrently, he is co-authoring a book with Charlton Yingling of the University of Louisville tentatively titled (White) Man's Best Friend: Slave Hounds and Power in the Americas, which examines the transatlantic usage of dogs against black bodies during the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries.

Dan Royles
Is an Assistant Professor of History at Florida International University, where he teaches courses on United States, African American, LGBT, and oral history. His current book project, To Make the Wounded Whole, describes the ways that a diverse cast of African American activists have fought against the spread of HIV in black America over the last thirty-five years, and is under advance contract with University of North Carolina Press. He also runs African American AIDS Activism Oral History Project, which gathers the stories of African American AIDS activists, and the African American AIDS History Project, a digital archive of responses to HIV/AIDS in black America. He received his Ph.D in history from Temple University in January 2014, and has held fellowships at The Ohio State University, and at the Center for the Humanities at Temple.

Sophfronia Scott
Hails from Lorain, Ohio. She was a writer and editor at Time and People magazines before publishing her first novel, All I Need to Get By (St. Martin’s Press) in 2004. She holds a BA in English from Harvard and an MFA in writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her short stories and essays have appeared in The Timberline ReviewKillens Review of Arts & LettersRuminate MagazineSaranac ReviewNuméro CinqBarnstorm Literary JournalNewYorkTimes.com, and O, The Oprah Magazine.

Her forthcoming novel, Unforgivable Love, will be published by William Morrow/HarperCollins in September 2017. She also has on the way an essay collection, Love’s Long Line, from Ohio State University Press and a spiritual memoir, A Child of Faith: Raising a Spiritual Being in a Secular World, from Paraclete Press. Sophfronia teaches creative writing at Regis University’s Mile High MFA and lives in Sandy Hook, Connecticut.

J. Brendan Shaw
Is a Senior Lecturer in the English Department at the Ohio State University and holds a Ph.D. in English and an M.A. in Women’s Studies (both from OSU). His research draws on Black feminist thought, queer theory, critical race theory, and theories of emotion and embodiment. His research examines Black women’s use of technology to make art in post-Civil Rights literature, film, and visual culture. Specifically, he considers how Black women have employed emergent ways of storytelling to retell history in ways which center alternative narratives of pain and pleasure. These mediated images and narratives serve as extensions of their bodies that push against static ideas of the Black female body. His work has previously been published in 
Feminist Formations. His teaching interests include African American literature, queer theory, film studies, and popular culture studies.

Caleb Stephens
Is a LMSW (Licensed Master Social Worker) and a LAC (Licensed Addictions Counselor). He graduated from Bethel College, Kansas, in 2011, and graduated from the University of Kansas School of Social Welfare in 2014. Caleb worked in Child Welfare as a Reintegration Case Manager and then a Intensive In-Home Therapist, from 2011 through 2014.

He is an activist for Social Justice, and specializes in Intrapersonal Conflict, Identity, and the different intersectionalities of Race, Substance Abuse, Coping, and Hope; he implements those through his company called IdentiFight.  Consequential to Caleb's formerly noted foci he is competent in speicalized work encompassing the Black Narrative. His emphasis centers around the understanding of Safety, Truth, and Hope. He utilizes various sources of strength and connection, to create safe spaces to empower authentic, intentional Truths. Caleb enjoys working out, writing, speaking on various issues, and pouring into the Lawrence and University of Kansas community. Oh, and he loves food. 

Maren Turner
Is the director of AARP Kansas. She is a regular contributor to television and print media, a weekly spokesperson on radio talk shows, and serves as a visiting and adjunct professor on aging-related issues. Turner is a past gubernatorial appointee to task forces and commissions, and currently serves on the Governor’s Subcommittee on Alcohol and other Drug Abuse. She is the Past-President and Founder of Malcolm & Associates, Inc., a private company dedicated to meeting the needs of people with developmental disabilities.

Turner has served in a variety of volunteer positions, and is currently a member of the Senior Resource Center for Douglas County, Board of Directors.  She is a graduate of Leadership Kansas (’05), and a KU Woman of Distinction.  Turner has a Bachelor’s degree in Mental Health and Counseling, an MS in Developmental Psychology, an MA in Human Development, a Graduate Certificate in Gerontology, and a PhD in Applied Behavioral Science.  

Deborah Elizabeth Whaley
Is professor of American studies and African American studies at the University of Iowa, where she teaches courses on comparative American cultural history, black cultural studies, film, music, and critical theory. Whaley’s first book, Disciplining Women: Alpha Kappa Alpha, Black Counterpublics, and the Cultural Politics of Black Sororities (2010), examines the cultural practices, cultural work, and politics of the oldest historically black sorority. Her latest book, Black Women in Sequence: Re-inking Comics, Graphic Novels, and Anime (2015), explores graphic-novel production and comic-book fandom, looking in particular at African, African American, and multiethnic women as deployed in television, film, animation, gaming, and print representations of comic-book and graphic-novel characters. She is currently working on a third monograph on race, gender, affect, and (dis)ability. 
Andreá N. Williams
Is Associate Professor of English at The Ohio State University, where she teaches African American and nineteenth-century American literature. Her book, Dividing Lines: Class Anxiety and Postbellum Black Fiction (2013), examines class inequality in African American literature between the Civil War and Harlem Renaissance. Her research interests also include black print culture and periodical studies, auto/biographical studies, U.S. women writers, and black feminist theory and criticism. As an alumna of Spelman College, she also values the rich history and archives of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), as in her presentation for this conference: “Love on the Quad: Courtship, Surveillance, and the Black College Press.” She currently is at work on a cultural study of unmarried African American women in the first half of the twentieth century. In 2017-18, she is in residence at the National Humanities Center, sponsored by an ACLS Frederick Burkhardt Fellowship.

Riché Barnes
Is a sociocultural anthropologist whose teaching and research specializations are in black feminist theories, work and family policy, and African Diasporic raced, gendered, and classed identity formation. Dr. Barnes is the author of Raising the Race: Black Career Women Redefine Marriage, Motherhood, and Community (Rutgers University 2016), an ethnographic study of Black women’s strategies for family and communal survival, which was considered for an NAACP image award. Her current research focuses on the impact of urban education reform on Black families and communities. Her research has appeared in numerous scholarly collections, including The Changing Landscape of Work and Family in the American Middle Class and The Gender, Culture, and Power Reader. She currently has research affiliations at Stanford University, and the African American Policy Forum. Barnes previously taught at Spelman College and Smith College and is currently the Assistant Dean of Social Sciences and associate professor of anthropology at Endicott College.

Jovonne J. Bickerstaff
A scholar of gender, race and emotional intimacy, is a Postdoctoral Associate in the Mellon-funded African American History, Culture & Digital Humanities Initiative at University of Maryland, College Park. Her dissertation, “Together, Close, Resilient: Essays on Emotion Work Among Black Couples,” probed the emotion strategies partners co-construct to foster emotional intimacy, navigate differences and cultivate a shared identity - offering a rare window into black intimate lives. Centering and theorizing from black couples' experiences, Bickerstaff's first book project brings an intersectional approach to Hochschild’s emotion management framework providing a more nuanced portrait of 
how gender matters and avoiding the gender essentialism in much of the research taking the white, middle class as normative American couples. Her latest project proposes novel frames for conceptualizing black relationships beyond claims of crisis to attend to wellness and expressions of care.  A Ford & NSF Fellow, she received her doctorate in sociology from Harvard.

Christina Carney
Assistant Professor of Black (Queer) Sexuality Studies in Black Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Missouri in Columbia. Carney received her doctorate in Ethnic Studies from the University of California in San Diego in May 2016. She has published two articles: “The Politics of Representation for Black Women and the Impossibility of Queering the New Jersey 4/7” in Wish to Live: The Hip-Hop Feminism Pedagogy Reader (Peter Lang Publishing; 2012; edited by Ruth Nicole Brown and Chamara Jewel Kwakye); and “Sexual Knowledge and Practiced Feminisms: On Moral Panic, Black Girlhoods, and Hip Hop” (Journal of Popular Music Studies, Dec 2016; co-authored with Jillian Hernandez and Anya M. Wallace). Her manuscript, Militarized Deviance: Black Women, Surveillance and Place-making in San Diego, examines histories of black queer women during different historical moments that defy a politics of respectability in relation to sexuality, class and gender performance. She is a manuscript editor for American Quarterly and Critical Ethnic Studies. Professional organizations include American Studies Association (ASA) and National Women’s Association (NWSA).

Sachelle Ford
Is a Post-doctoral Lecturing Fellow in the Thompson Writing Program at Duke University, where she teaches courses on African American and Caribbean studies and helps administer a research program for undergraduate scholars.  She received the PhD in English from Brown University in May 2016 after receiving her BA from Emory in 2008 where she was a Mellon Mays Fellow.  Her research focuses on formations of kinship in the diasporic tradition and her writing has appeared in the 
Antigua and Barbuda Review of Books, NOVEL, and Gender: Love, a volume edited by Jennifer C. Nash.  She is currently working on a manuscript that explores how ambivalent representations of love in contemporary narratives expand our understanding of the condition of being in diaspora.  Her presentation for the Black Love Symposium, which is on Hilton Als’s memoir The Women, grows out of this project. 
Kelly A. Harris
Is an ARTpreneur, poet and curator with an MFA from Lesley University. The Cave Canem alum has received awards from The Fine Arts Work Center, The Akron Art Museum and others. The National Parks Service, The Institute for Women & Ethnic Studies and Cleveland’s Regional Transit Authority have commissioned her work. She has curated programs for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, The Ogden Museum of Southern Art, and presented at The Black Arts Movement Conference and The New Orleans Poetry Festival. Her poems have appeared in Yale University's 
Caduceus Journal, Say It Loud: Poems for James Brown, Reverie Journal, Southern Women’s Review, "Didn't Wash Us Away: ", Angels in the Wilderness: Young and Black in New Orleans and Beyond. Kelly founded BrassyBrown.com and works as a writer and consultant. She lives in New Orleans with her husband and daughter, Naomi. 

Aneeka A. Henderson
Is an Assistant Professor at Amherst College in the Sexuality, Women’s and Gender Studies Department. Her forthcoming book project, Wedding Bell Blues: Race and the Modern Marriage Plot, examines the ways in which contemporary music, film, and fiction negotiate and respond to complex neoliberal logics and post-Black Power nostalgia privileging marriage and family as supposed “cures” for inequality.

She has presented her work at the University of Hull-Yorkshire, England’s Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation and the Collegium for African American Research in Liverpool, England and she is the recipient of the Woodrow Wilson National Foundation Award and the Duke University Mellon Mays Professional Advancement Award. At Amherst College, she teaches a wide range of courses exploring a mosaic of African American literature, art, music, and film and her classes have been featured in Elle magazine as well as the New York Times.

DaMaris B. Hill
Her work is modeled after the work of in the work of Toni Morrison and an expression of her theories regarding ‘rememory.’ She has studied with writers such as Lucille Clifton, Monifa Love-Asante, Marita Golden and others. Her development as a writer has also been enhanced by the institutional support of The MacDowell Colony, Vermont Studio Center, Bread Loaf Writers Conference, Key West Literary Seminar/Writers Workshops, Callaloo Literary Writers Workshop, The Institute for Digital Research in the Humanities, The Project on the History of Black Writing, The Watering Hole Poetry and The Furious Flower Poetry Center at James Madison University. Her books include The Fluid Boundaries of Suffrage and Jim Crow: Staking Claims in the Heartland and \ Vi-zə-bəl \ \ Teks-chərs \ (Visible Textures), short collection of poems. She is currently working on a novel about girls that are incarcerated during the 1930s.

Similar to her creative process, Dr. Hill’s scholarly research is interdisciplinary and examines the intersections between literary criticisms, cultural studies, and digital humanities. Dr. Hill serves as an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Kentucky.  

Gillian Johns
Is an associate professor of English and Africana Studies at Oberlin College, where she has developed courses in such areas as the textualization of orality and literacy in works by Gaines, Morrison, and Wideman, black detective fiction, modernist Chicago writers and sociological theory, the August Wilson century cycle, humor and irony in modern black fiction, and critical race theory and classical American fiction.  She earned her PhD in English from Temple University in Philadelphia; her dissertation focused on modern black writers’ uses of discourses associated with frontier or tall humor to re-align (cultural authority in) racialized rhetorical relations with their readerships.  She has published articles on tall humor, irony, satire, and related topics in works by Hurston, Wright, Ellison, Percival Everett, and other authors.  She has also recently taken graduate courses at Case Western Reserve University in cognitive linguistics to serve as a foundation for a monograph tracing African American authors’ study of and fictional experiments with rhetorical, linguistic, and speech act theories of language in their ongoing efforts to transform spoken black English into a rich expressive literary vehicle.
Maria S. Johnson
Is an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice at the University of Delaware. She earned a Ph.D. in Public Policy and Sociology from the University of Michigan and a BA in History from Hampton University. Her research uses qualitative methods and critical race and gender theories to examine the intersection of race, gender, and class discourse within Black daughter-father relationships, fatherhood studies, and family policies. Professor Johnson has published works on intersectionality and family relationships in various outlets, including 
Gender & Society. She is currently completing a book manuscript about Black women’s accounts of daughter-father relationships. Her research has been supported by university and national grants, including the National Poverty Center. At the University of Delaware, Professor Johnson teaches courses related to racial inequalities, gender, and the politics of poverty.

David Malcolm McGruder 
Is a native of Kansas City, Kansas.  He earned a B.A. in political science with concentrations in political theory and philosophy from Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA, where he was awarded the 2011 Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship & Prize. He earned a Master of Divinity degree (M.Div) from Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, NJ and was awarded the Aaron E. Gast Prize in Urban Ministry. He is currently pursing a Masters in Politics & History from the University of Cambridge in the U.K. His publications include "The Finished Work" in A Beautiful Thing: Sermons from Young Preachers (Chalice Press, 2010) and “Locked Up: Theological Reflections on Prisons, Repression, and Resistance” in The African American Lectionary (October, 2011). His broader research interests include postmodern theology, continental political philosophy, and global politics.  He currently serves as Community Outreach Coordinator at the Project for Peace & Progress Inc., an advocacy and research non-profit dedicated to eradicating poverty and advancing global peace through community education programing.

McKinley E. Melton
Assistant professor of English at Gettysburg College, earned his Ph.D. from the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.  He is the recipient of a 2015 Career Enhancement Fellowship for Junior Faculty from the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, and was a 2015-16 Postdoctoral Fellow at the Fox Center for Humanistic Inquiry at Emory University.  Dr. Melton's courses engage the intersections of social, political, and cultural movements as part of a critical approach to Africana literatures.  His research-including his current book project, Along Their Own Way: Manhood, Spirituality, and Survival in Black Diasporan Literature-focuses primarily on the influence of spiritual and religious traditions on black diasporan literary, artistic, and cultural expressions.
Nicki Night
Is an edgy hopeless romantic who enjoys creating stories of love and new possibilities. Nicki has a penchant for adventure and is currently working on penning her next romantic escapade. Nicki resides in New York City where dreams are made of, but occasionally travels to her treasured seaside hideaway to write in seclusion. She enjoys hearing directly from readers and can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram as well as through her website at NickiNight.com, or via email at 
NickiNightwrites@gmail.com.
Ted Ownby
Teaches History and Southern Studies at the University of Mississippi, where he is director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture. He is the author of two books, 
Subduing Satan: Recreation, Religion, and Manhood in the Rural South, 1865-1920, and American Dreams in Mississippi: Consumers, Poverty, & Culture, 1830-1998, and editor or coeditor of seven others, including The Mississippi Encyclopedia. He is at work on a study of how different people in the twentieth-century American South defined family life and family problems.

Tyler D. Parry
Is Assistant Professor of African American Studies in Orange County, California. He received his Ph.D. in 2014 from the University of South Carolina’s History Department. He also holds a Masters Degree (2011) from the University of South Carolina and a BA (2008) from the University of Nevada Las Vegas.

Parry’s research examines slavery in the Americas and the African diaspora. His writings are published in the Journal of Southern History, American Studies, Journal of Global SlaveryHistory Today, Griot's Republic, Jacobin.com, and Black Perspectives. He is currently revising his book manuscript Bound in Bondage: Slave Matrimony in the African Diaspora for publication. Concurrently, he is co-authoring a book with Charlton Yingling of the University of Louisville tentatively titled (White) Man's Best Friend: Slave Hounds and Power in the Americas, which examines the transatlantic usage of dogs against black bodies during the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries.

Dan Royles
Is an Assistant Professor of History at Florida International University, where he teaches courses on United States, African American, LGBT, and oral history. His current book project, To Make the Wounded Whole, describes the ways that a diverse cast of African American activists have fought against the spread of HIV in black America over the last thirty-five years, and is under advance contract with University of North Carolina Press. He also runs African American AIDS Activism Oral History Project, which gathers the stories of African American AIDS activists, and the African American AIDS History Project, a digital archive of responses to HIV/AIDS in black America. He received his Ph.D in history from Temple University in January 2014, and has held fellowships at The Ohio State University, and at the Center for the Humanities at Temple.

Sophfronia Scott
Hails from Lorain, Ohio. She was a writer and editor at Time and People magazines before publishing her first novel, All I Need to Get By (St. Martin’s Press) in 2004. She holds a BA in English from Harvard and an MFA in writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her short stories and essays have appeared in The Timberline ReviewKillens Review of Arts & LettersRuminate MagazineSaranac ReviewNuméro CinqBarnstorm Literary JournalNewYorkTimes.com, and O, The Oprah Magazine.

Her forthcoming novel, Unforgivable Love, will be published by William Morrow/HarperCollins in September 2017. She also has on the way an essay collection, Love’s Long Line, from Ohio State University Press and a spiritual memoir, A Child of Faith: Raising a Spiritual Being in a Secular World, from Paraclete Press. Sophfronia teaches creative writing at Regis University’s Mile High MFA and lives in Sandy Hook, Connecticut.

J. Brendan Shaw
Is a Senior Lecturer in the English Department at the Ohio State University and holds a Ph.D. in English and an M.A. in Women’s Studies (both from OSU). His research draws on Black feminist thought, queer theory, critical race theory, and theories of emotion and embodiment. His research examines Black women’s use of technology to make art in post-Civil Rights literature, film, and visual culture. Specifically, he considers how Black women have employed emergent ways of storytelling to retell history in ways which center alternative narratives of pain and pleasure. These mediated images and narratives serve as extensions of their bodies that push against static ideas of the Black female body. His work has previously been published in 
Feminist Formations. His teaching interests include African American literature, queer theory, film studies, and popular culture studies.

Caleb Stephens
Is a LMSW (Licensed Master Social Worker) and a LAC (Licensed Addictions Counselor). He graduated from Bethel College, Kansas, in 2011, and graduated from the University of Kansas School of Social Welfare in 2014. Caleb worked in Child Welfare as a Reintegration Case Manager and then a Intensive In-Home Therapist, from 2011 through 2014.

He is an activist for Social Justice, and specializes in Intrapersonal Conflict, Identity, and the different intersectionalities of Race, Substance Abuse, Coping, and Hope; he implements those through his company called IdentiFight.  Consequential to Caleb's formerly noted foci he is competent in speicalized work encompassing the Black Narrative. His emphasis centers around the understanding of Safety, Truth, and Hope. He utilizes various sources of strength and connection, to create safe spaces to empower authentic, intentional Truths. Caleb enjoys working out, writing, speaking on various issues, and pouring into the Lawrence and University of Kansas community. Oh, and he loves food. 

Maren Turner
Is the director of AARP Kansas. She is a regular contributor to television and print media, a weekly spokesperson on radio talk shows, and serves as a visiting and adjunct professor on aging-related issues. Turner is a past gubernatorial appointee to task forces and commissions, and currently serves on the Governor’s Subcommittee on Alcohol and other Drug Abuse. She is the Past-President and Founder of Malcolm & Associates, Inc., a private company dedicated to meeting the needs of people with developmental disabilities.

Turner has served in a variety of volunteer positions, and is currently a member of the Senior Resource Center for Douglas County, Board of Directors.  She is a graduate of Leadership Kansas (’05), and a KU Woman of Distinction.  Turner has a Bachelor’s degree in Mental Health and Counseling, an MS in Developmental Psychology, an MA in Human Development, a Graduate Certificate in Gerontology, and a PhD in Applied Behavioral Science.  

Deborah Elizabeth Whaley
Is professor of American studies and African American studies at the University of Iowa, where she teaches courses on comparative American cultural history, black cultural studies, film, music, and critical theory. Whaley’s first book, Disciplining Women: Alpha Kappa Alpha, Black Counterpublics, and the Cultural Politics of Black Sororities (2010), examines the cultural practices, cultural work, and politics of the oldest historically black sorority. Her latest book, Black Women in Sequence: Re-inking Comics, Graphic Novels, and Anime (2015), explores graphic-novel production and comic-book fandom, looking in particular at African, African American, and multiethnic women as deployed in television, film, animation, gaming, and print representations of comic-book and graphic-novel characters. She is currently working on a third monograph on race, gender, affect, and (dis)ability. 
Andreá N. Williams
Is Associate Professor of English at The Ohio State University, where she teaches African American and nineteenth-century American literature. Her book, Dividing Lines: Class Anxiety and Postbellum Black Fiction (2013), examines class inequality in African American literature between the Civil War and Harlem Renaissance. Her research interests also include black print culture and periodical studies, auto/biographical studies, U.S. women writers, and black feminist theory and criticism. As an alumna of Spelman College, she also values the rich history and archives of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), as in her presentation for this conference: “Love on the Quad: Courtship, Surveillance, and the Black College Press.” She currently is at work on a cultural study of unmarried African American women in the first half of the twentieth century. In 2017-18, she is in residence at the National Humanities Center, sponsored by an ACLS Frederick Burkhardt Fellowship.

Riché Barnes
Is a sociocultural anthropologist whose teaching and research specializations are in black feminist theories, work and family policy, and African Diasporic raced, gendered, and classed identity formation. Dr. Barnes is the author of Raising the Race: Black Career Women Redefine Marriage, Motherhood, and Community (Rutgers University 2016), an ethnographic study of Black women’s strategies for family and communal survival, which was considered for an NAACP image award. Her current research focuses on the impact of urban education reform on Black families and communities. Her research has appeared in numerous scholarly collections, including The Changing Landscape of Work and Family in the American Middle Class and The Gender, Culture, and Power Reader. She currently has research affiliations at Stanford University, and the African American Policy Forum. Barnes previously taught at Spelman College and Smith College and is currently the Assistant Dean of Social Sciences and associate professor of anthropology at Endicott College.

Jovonne J. Bickerstaff
A scholar of gender, race and emotional intimacy, is a Postdoctoral Associate in the Mellon-funded African American History, Culture & Digital Humanities Initiative at University of Maryland, College Park. Her dissertation, “Together, Close, Resilient: Essays on Emotion Work Among Black Couples,” probed the emotion strategies partners co-construct to foster emotional intimacy, navigate differences and cultivate a shared identity - offering a rare window into black intimate lives. Centering and theorizing from black couples' experiences, Bickerstaff's first book project brings an intersectional approach to Hochschild’s emotion management framework providing a more nuanced portrait of 
how gender matters and avoiding the gender essentialism in much of the research taking the white, middle class as normative American couples. Her latest project proposes novel frames for conceptualizing black relationships beyond claims of crisis to attend to wellness and expressions of care.  A Ford & NSF Fellow, she received her doctorate in sociology from Harvard.

Christina Carney
Assistant Professor of Black (Queer) Sexuality Studies in Black Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Missouri in Columbia. Carney received her doctorate in Ethnic Studies from the University of California in San Diego in May 2016. She has published two articles: “The Politics of Representation for Black Women and the Impossibility of Queering the New Jersey 4/7” in Wish to Live: The Hip-Hop Feminism Pedagogy Reader (Peter Lang Publishing; 2012; edited by Ruth Nicole Brown and Chamara Jewel Kwakye); and “Sexual Knowledge and Practiced Feminisms: On Moral Panic, Black Girlhoods, and Hip Hop” (Journal of Popular Music Studies, Dec 2016; co-authored with Jillian Hernandez and Anya M. Wallace). Her manuscript, Militarized Deviance: Black Women, Surveillance and Place-making in San Diego, examines histories of black queer women during different historical moments that defy a politics of respectability in relation to sexuality, class and gender performance. She is a manuscript editor for American Quarterly and Critical Ethnic Studies. Professional organizations include American Studies Association (ASA) and National Women’s Association (NWSA).

Sachelle Ford
Is a Post-doctoral Lecturing Fellow in the Thompson Writing Program at Duke University, where she teaches courses on African American and Caribbean studies and helps administer a research program for undergraduate scholars.  She received the PhD in English from Brown University in May 2016 after receiving her BA from Emory in 2008 where she was a Mellon Mays Fellow.  Her research focuses on formations of kinship in the diasporic tradition and her writing has appeared in the 
Antigua and Barbuda Review of Books, NOVEL, and Gender: Love, a volume edited by Jennifer C. Nash.  She is currently working on a manuscript that explores how ambivalent representations of love in contemporary narratives expand our understanding of the condition of being in diaspora.  Her presentation for the Black Love Symposium, which is on Hilton Als’s memoir The Women, grows out of this project. 
Kelly A. Harris
Is an ARTpreneur, poet and curator with an MFA from Lesley University. The Cave Canem alum has received awards from The Fine Arts Work Center, The Akron Art Museum and others. The National Parks Service, The Institute for Women & Ethnic Studies and Cleveland’s Regional Transit Authority have commissioned her work. She has curated programs for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, The Ogden Museum of Southern Art, and presented at The Black Arts Movement Conference and The New Orleans Poetry Festival. Her poems have appeared in Yale University's 
Caduceus Journal, Say It Loud: Poems for James Brown, Reverie Journal, Southern Women’s Review, "Didn't Wash Us Away: ", Angels in the Wilderness: Young and Black in New Orleans and Beyond. Kelly founded BrassyBrown.com and works as a writer and consultant. She lives in New Orleans with her husband and daughter, Naomi. 

Aneeka A. Henderson
Is an Assistant Professor at Amherst College in the Sexuality, Women’s and Gender Studies Department. Her forthcoming book project, Wedding Bell Blues: Race and the Modern Marriage Plot, examines the ways in which contemporary music, film, and fiction negotiate and respond to complex neoliberal logics and post-Black Power nostalgia privileging marriage and family as supposed “cures” for inequality.

She has presented her work at the University of Hull-Yorkshire, England’s Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation and the Collegium for African American Research in Liverpool, England and she is the recipient of the Woodrow Wilson National Foundation Award and the Duke University Mellon Mays Professional Advancement Award. At Amherst College, she teaches a wide range of courses exploring a mosaic of African American literature, art, music, and film and her classes have been featured in Elle magazine as well as the New York Times.

DaMaris B. Hill
Her work is modeled after the work of in the work of Toni Morrison and an expression of her theories regarding ‘rememory.’ She has studied with writers such as Lucille Clifton, Monifa Love-Asante, Marita Golden and others. Her development as a writer has also been enhanced by the institutional support of The MacDowell Colony, Vermont Studio Center, Bread Loaf Writers Conference, Key West Literary Seminar/Writers Workshops, Callaloo Literary Writers Workshop, The Institute for Digital Research in the Humanities, The Project on the History of Black Writing, The Watering Hole Poetry and The Furious Flower Poetry Center at James Madison University. Her books include The Fluid Boundaries of Suffrage and Jim Crow: Staking Claims in the Heartland and \ Vi-zə-bəl \ \ Teks-chərs \ (Visible Textures), short collection of poems. She is currently working on a novel about girls that are incarcerated during the 1930s.

Similar to her creative process, Dr. Hill’s scholarly research is interdisciplinary and examines the intersections between literary criticisms, cultural studies, and digital humanities. Dr. Hill serves as an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Kentucky.  

Gillian Johns
Is an associate professor of English and Africana Studies at Oberlin College, where she has developed courses in such areas as the textualization of orality and literacy in works by Gaines, Morrison, and Wideman, black detective fiction, modernist Chicago writers and sociological theory, the August Wilson century cycle, humor and irony in modern black fiction, and critical race theory and classical American fiction.  She earned her PhD in English from Temple University in Philadelphia; her dissertation focused on modern black writers’ uses of discourses associated with frontier or tall humor to re-align (cultural authority in) racialized rhetorical relations with their readerships.  She has published articles on tall humor, irony, satire, and related topics in works by Hurston, Wright, Ellison, Percival Everett, and other authors.  She has also recently taken graduate courses at Case Western Reserve University in cognitive linguistics to serve as a foundation for a monograph tracing African American authors’ study of and fictional experiments with rhetorical, linguistic, and speech act theories of language in their ongoing efforts to transform spoken black English into a rich expressive literary vehicle.
Maria S. Johnson
Is an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice at the University of Delaware. She earned a Ph.D. in Public Policy and Sociology from the University of Michigan and a BA in History from Hampton University. Her research uses qualitative methods and critical race and gender theories to examine the intersection of race, gender, and class discourse within Black daughter-father relationships, fatherhood studies, and family policies. Professor Johnson has published works on intersectionality and family relationships in various outlets, including 
Gender & Society. She is currently completing a book manuscript about Black women’s accounts of daughter-father relationships. Her research has been supported by university and national grants, including the National Poverty Center. At the University of Delaware, Professor Johnson teaches courses related to racial inequalities, gender, and the politics of poverty.

David Malcolm McGruder 
Is a native of Kansas City, Kansas.  He earned a B.A. in political science with concentrations in political theory and philosophy from Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA, where he was awarded the 2011 Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship & Prize. He earned a Master of Divinity degree (M.Div) from Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, NJ and was awarded the Aaron E. Gast Prize in Urban Ministry. He is currently pursing a Masters in Politics & History from the University of Cambridge in the U.K. His publications include "The Finished Work" in A Beautiful Thing: Sermons from Young Preachers (Chalice Press, 2010) and “Locked Up: Theological Reflections on Prisons, Repression, and Resistance” in The African American Lectionary (October, 2011). His broader research interests include postmodern theology, continental political philosophy, and global politics.  He currently serves as Community Outreach Coordinator at the Project for Peace & Progress Inc., an advocacy and research non-profit dedicated to eradicating poverty and advancing global peace through community education programing.

McKinley E. Melton
Assistant professor of English at Gettysburg College, earned his Ph.D. from the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.  He is the recipient of a 2015 Career Enhancement Fellowship for Junior Faculty from the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, and was a 2015-16 Postdoctoral Fellow at the Fox Center for Humanistic Inquiry at Emory University.  Dr. Melton's courses engage the intersections of social, political, and cultural movements as part of a critical approach to Africana literatures.  His research-including his current book project, Along Their Own Way: Manhood, Spirituality, and Survival in Black Diasporan Literature-focuses primarily on the influence of spiritual and religious traditions on black diasporan literary, artistic, and cultural expressions.
Nicki Night
Is an edgy hopeless romantic who enjoys creating stories of love and new possibilities. Nicki has a penchant for adventure and is currently working on penning her next romantic escapade. Nicki resides in New York City where dreams are made of, but occasionally travels to her treasured seaside hideaway to write in seclusion. She enjoys hearing directly from readers and can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram as well as through her website at NickiNight.com, or via email at 
NickiNightwrites@gmail.com.
Ted Ownby
Teaches History and Southern Studies at the University of Mississippi, where he is director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture. He is the author of two books, 
Subduing Satan: Recreation, Religion, and Manhood in the Rural South, 1865-1920, and American Dreams in Mississippi: Consumers, Poverty, & Culture, 1830-1998, and editor or coeditor of seven others, including The Mississippi Encyclopedia. He is at work on a study of how different people in the twentieth-century American South defined family life and family problems.

Tyler D. Parry
Is Assistant Professor of African American Studies in Orange County, California. He received his Ph.D. in 2014 from the University of South Carolina’s History Department. He also holds a Masters Degree (2011) from the University of South Carolina and a BA (2008) from the University of Nevada Las Vegas.

Parry’s research examines slavery in the Americas and the African diaspora. His writings are published in the Journal of Southern History, American Studies, Journal of Global SlaveryHistory Today, Griot's Republic, Jacobin.com, and Black Perspectives. He is currently revising his book manuscript Bound in Bondage: Slave Matrimony in the African Diaspora for publication. Concurrently, he is co-authoring a book with Charlton Yingling of the University of Louisville tentatively titled (White) Man's Best Friend: Slave Hounds and Power in the Americas, which examines the transatlantic usage of dogs against black bodies during the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries.

Sophfronia Scott
Hails from Lorain, Ohio. She was a writer and editor at Time and People magazines before publishing her first novel, All I Need to Get By (St. Martin’s Press) in 2004. She holds a BA in English from Harvard and an MFA in writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her short stories and essays have appeared in The Timberline ReviewKillens Review of Arts & LettersRuminate MagazineSaranac ReviewNuméro CinqBarnstorm Literary JournalNewYorkTimes.com, and O, The Oprah Magazine.

Her forthcoming novel, Unforgivable Love, will be published by William Morrow/HarperCollins in September 2017. She also has on the way an essay collection, Love’s Long Line, from Ohio State University Press and a spiritual memoir, A Child of Faith: Raising a Spiritual Being in a Secular World, from Paraclete Press. Sophfronia teaches creative writing at Regis University’s Mile High MFA and lives in Sandy Hook, Connecticut.

J. Brendan Shaw
Is a Senior Lecturer in the English Department at the Ohio State University and holds a Ph.D. in English and an M.A. in Women’s Studies (both from OSU). His research draws on Black feminist thought, queer theory, critical race theory, and theories of emotion and embodiment. His research examines Black women’s use of technology to make art in post-Civil Rights literature, film, and visual culture. Specifically, he considers how Black women have employed emergent ways of storytelling to retell history in ways which center alternative narratives of pain and pleasure. These mediated images and narratives serve as extensions of their bodies that push against static ideas of the Black female body. His work has previously been published in 
Feminist Formations. His teaching interests include African American literature, queer theory, film studies, and popular culture studies.

Caleb Stephens
Is a LMSW (Licensed Master Social Worker) and a LAC (Licensed Addictions Counselor). He graduated from Bethel College, Kansas, in 2011, and graduated from the University of Kansas School of Social Welfare in 2014. Caleb worked in Child Welfare as a Reintegration Case Manager and then a Intensive In-Home Therapist, from 2011 through 2014.

He is an activist for Social Justice, and specializes in Intrapersonal Conflict, Identity, and the different intersectionalities of Race, Substance Abuse, Coping, and Hope; he implements those through his company called IdentiFight.  Consequential to Caleb's formerly noted foci he is competent in speicalized work encompassing the Black Narrative. His emphasis centers around the understanding of Safety, Truth, and Hope. He utilizes various sources of strength and connection, to create safe spaces to empower authentic, intentional Truths. Caleb enjoys working out, writing, speaking on various issues, and pouring into the Lawrence and University of Kansas community. Oh, and he loves food. 

Maren Turner
Is the director of AARP Kansas. She is a regular contributor to television and print media, a weekly spokesperson on radio talk shows, and serves as a visiting and adjunct professor on aging-related issues. Turner is a past gubernatorial appointee to task forces and commissions, and currently serves on the Governor’s Subcommittee on Alcohol and other Drug Abuse. She is the Past-President and Founder of Malcolm & Associates, Inc., a private company dedicated to meeting the needs of people with developmental disabilities.

Turner has served in a variety of volunteer positions, and is currently a member of the Senior Resource Center for Douglas County, Board of Directors.  She is a graduate of Leadership Kansas (’05), and a KU Woman of Distinction.  Turner has a Bachelor’s degree in Mental Health and Counseling, an MS in Developmental Psychology, an MA in Human Development, a Graduate Certificate in Gerontology, and a PhD in Applied Behavioral Science.  

Deborah Elizabeth Whaley
Is professor of American studies and African American studies at the University of Iowa, where she teaches courses on comparative American cultural history, black cultural studies, film, music, and critical theory. Whaley’s first book, Disciplining Women: Alpha Kappa Alpha, Black Counterpublics, and the Cultural Politics of Black Sororities (2010), examines the cultural practices, cultural work, and politics of the oldest historically black sorority. Her latest book, Black Women in Sequence: Re-inking Comics, Graphic Novels, and Anime (2015), explores graphic-novel production and comic-book fandom, looking in particular at African, African American, and multiethnic women as deployed in television, film, animation, gaming, and print representations of comic-book and graphic-novel characters. She is currently working on a third monograph on race, gender, affect, and (dis)ability. 
Andreá N. Williams
Is Associate Professor of English at The Ohio State University, where she teaches African American and nineteenth-century American literature. Her book, Dividing Lines: Class Anxiety and Postbellum Black Fiction (2013), examines class inequality in African American literature between the Civil War and Harlem Renaissance. Her research interests also include black print culture and periodical studies, auto/biographical studies, U.S. women writers, and black feminist theory and criticism. As an alumna of Spelman College, she also values the rich history and archives of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), as in her presentation for this conference: “Love on the Quad: Courtship, Surveillance, and the Black College Press.” She currently is at work on a cultural study of unmarried African American women in the first half of the twentieth century. In 2017-18, she is in residence at the National Humanities Center, sponsored by an ACLS Frederick Burkhardt Fellowship.

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