Patrice D. Douglass, PH.D. Joins Duke University

Monday, September 10, 2018
Sasha Panaram, PhD Candidate, English Department, Duke University
Patrice Douglass

The Program in Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies at Duke University Welcomes a New Faculty Member

Duke University’s newest crop of faculty includes Assistant Professor, Patrice D. Douglass, who has joined the Program in Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies. Prior to arriving at Duke, Professor Douglass served as an Assistant Professor for the Justice, Community, and Leadership program at St. Mary’s College in California.

Her research is widely published and has appeared in scholarly publications such as Theory and Event, Zeitschrift für Anglistik und Amerikanistik: A Quarterly of Language, Literature and Culture, and the Journal of Visual Culture. Among her many accolades, Professor Douglass has served as a Bremen Research Ambassador at the University of Bremen in Germany.

She is currently at work on her first book manuscript, tentatively entitled, Politicizing Gender: Sociogeny, Violence, and Narrative in Black, where she “deconstructs antebellum case law to examine the history of sexual violence under slavery.” Professor Douglass argues that, “the legalized refusal to mediate violations against the enslaved illumines a structural caesura between the assumptive logics of political and social violence in political theory and the violence that engenders blackness.”

“We in GSF all feel incredibly fortunate to have hired Professor Douglass, says Professor Priscilla Wald, the R. Florence Brinkley Professor of English and Director of Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies. “She brings a range of fields and areas of expertise to GSF and has already shown herself to be a wonderful teacher and terrific colleague. Her scholarly work is incredibly rich, analytically rigorous, and intellectually challenging in all the best ways.”

Patrice Douglass earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Santa Cruz where she majored in Feminist Studies and minored in Legal Studies. She then went on to earn a master’s degree in Ethnic Studies from the University of California, Riverside, and a M.A. and Ph.D. in Culture and Theory from the University of California, Irvine.

With research and teaching interests in Black feminist theory, afropessimism, political theory, and legal theory, Professor Douglass’s presence at Duke University will undoubtedly impact students and research on the college campus and the wider North Carolinian community as well.

“Patrice Douglass’s work is important for her willingness to deal with death and violence as central to the conception of black existence,” says Professor Jasmine Nichole Cobb, the Bacca Foundation Associate Professor of African & African American Studies and of Art, Art History and Visual Studies at Duke University. “Her attention to the intersection of state violence and gender violence is timely, forcing us to think about the framing of black women’s lives with regard to movements against sexual assault and police violence.”

“Professor Douglass’ work examines how the archive of slavery, and blackness more generally, confound and trouble the anchoring assumptions of contemporary feminism around sexual difference, desire, and sexuality,” according to Professor Gabriel Rosenberg, an assistant professor of Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies at Duke University. “Her work is meticulous, brilliant, and creative. It is also timely and tells us much about contemporary American culture and politics. I think that it will have an enormous impact on both the fields of black studies and gender and sexuality studies in the coming years.”

Intent on producing work that, in her own words, “uses theory as a creative tool to place ideas that are seemingly contradictory into conversation,” Professor Douglass brings with her to Duke a “desire to teach courses, produce scholarship, and commission dialogues that make clear the bridge between Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies and Black Studies.”

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