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Riché Richardson

Associate Professor


Riché Richardson is currently an associate professor of African American literature in the Africana Studies and Research Center at Cornell University.  Her other areas of interest include American literature, black feminism, gender studies, and Southern studies. She graduated from Spelman College with a major in English and minors in philosophy and women’s studies in 1993 and received her doctorate in American Literature from the English Department at Duke University in 1998, along with a Certificate in African and African American Studies. In 2001, she received a Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship.  She spent the first 10 years of her academic career in the University of California system at the University of California, Davis and served as the campus representative for the President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program (PPFP) from 2006-08.  She is a recipient of a Davis Humanities Institute Fellowship (2002) and an award from the university for Diversity and the Principles of Community (2008).  Her essays have been published in journals such as American Literature, Mississippi Quarterly, Forum for Modern Language Studies, Black Renaissance/Renaissance Noire, TransAtlantica, the Southern Quarterly, Black Camera, NKA, Phillis, Technoculture, and Labrys.  She is a 2017 Public Voices Fellow with the Op-Ed Project whose pieces have appeared in The New York Times, Public Books and Huff Post.  Her first book, Black Masculinity and the U.S. South:  From Uncle Tom to Gangsta (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2007), was highlighted by Choice Books among the "Outstanding Academic Titles of 2008," and by Eastern Book Company among the "Outstanding Academic Titles, Humanities, 2008."  Since 2005, she has served as the coeditor of the New Southern Studies book series at the University of Georgia Press.  She serves on the Delta Research and Educational Foundation’s Sister Scholars Advisory Council.  Richardson is also a visual artist whose mixed-media appliqué art quilts are the subject of a chapter in Patricia A. Turner’s Crafted Lives:  Stories and Studies of African American Quilters (2009).  Richardson’s art quilts are the subject of the short film by Anne Crémieux and Géraldine Chouard entitled A Portrait of the Artist (2008) and are featured in Lauren Cross’s film The Skin Quilt Project (2010).  In January of 2009, Richardson was invited to Paris as a “Cultural Envoy” by the U.S. Embassy in France through a grant from the U.S. Department of State in tandem with the national exhibition “Un Patchwork de Cultures” and honored with a talk, reception, exhibition and film screening at the U.S. Ambassador’s Residence in the city.


    • Africana Studies and Research Center
    • American Studies Program
    • English

    Graduate Fields

    • Africana Studies
    • English Language and Literature
    • Feminist, Gender & Sexuality Studies
    • History of Art, Archaeology and Visual Studies


    In research, I have continued to expand my research project grounded in questions related to the status of the U.S. South in shaping formations related to gender and race in the U.S, and in shaping categories such as the American and the African American.  I am now primarily examining such questions by focusing on black femininity.  The working title for my second book manuscript is “Emancipation’s Daughter’s:  Re-Imagining Black Femininity and the National Body Beyond Aunt Jemima” and it is currently in the revision process.  Typically, people of African descent, including black women, have been excluded from the prevailing national narratives in the U.S., along with notions of citizenship and democracy.  Their national iconicity has often been linked to stereotypes, including the ubiquitous example of Aunt Jemima.  However, my study examines how consistently black women have challenged and helped to expand exclusionary definitions of the national body by considering figures across its 4 chapters such as Mary McLeod Bethune, Rosa Parks, Condoleezza Rice, and Michelle Obama, along with Beyoncé in the conclusion.  This study contributes to African American literary criticism and black feminist criticism, along with fields such as Southern studies, black/Africana studies, gender studies, and American studies.  Work from this book project was foundational for developing the op-ed piece on Aunt Jemima that I was invited to write for the New York Times in 2015.

    As I have focused on my research for this book project, I have also maintained my intellectual commitment to producing high-quality academic essays.  I have researched and published a body of nearly 35 published academic essays in journals and edited collections, along with many others that I have produced in draft form.  



    “From the 'Summer of Faulkner' to Oprah's Obama: What We Can Learn from Joe Christmas and Miss      Jane Pittman."  “The Summer of Faulkner: Oprah’s Book Club, William Faulkner, and 21st Century America.”  Ed. Jaime Harker, Jay Watson, and Cecilia Konchar Farr.  The Mississippi Quarterly 3(2013): 459-486.

    “Oprah’s Faulkner.”  Ed. Peter Lurie and Ann J. Abadie.  Faulkner and Film (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2014), 120-145.

    "'The Bed Intruder' - News Video Goes Viral: Antoine Dodson as Internet Celebrity and Commodity."  “On Gender and Sexuality.”  Ed. Amber Johnson.  Technoculture: An Online Journal of Technology in Society 4(2014) (online)

    “Monumentalizing Mary McLeod Bethune and Rosa Parks in the Post-Civil Rights Era.”  “The Genius of Black Women: One Hundred Years of Triumph.”  Ed. Darlene Clark Hine and Paula Giddings.  Phillis: The Journal for Research on African American Women 2:1 (2014): 23-30.

    “Framing Rosa Parks in Reel Time.”  Southern Quarterly 4(2013): 54-65.

    “Push, Precious and New Narratives of Slavery and Harlem.”  Black Camera 4(2012): 161-180.


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