Deborah E. McDowell

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Deborah E. McDowell
Deborah E. McDowell.jpg
Awards Honorary Doctorate, Purdue University, Helen Homans Gilbert Prize Lectureship, Harvard University
Academic background
Alma mater Purdue University
Thesis title "Women on Women: The Black Woman Writer of the Harlem Renaissance--Jessie Fauset, Nella Larsen, Zora Neale Hurston"
Academic work
Institutions University of Virginia, Carter G. Woodson Institute of African-American and African Studies
Main interests African-American Literature and Culture,Women's Literature

Deborah E. McDowell (born 1951) is a scholar, author and member of the university of Virginia faculty since 1987 where she serves as[1][2] Alice Griffin professor of Literary Studies. In 2008 professor McDowell was named director of the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies, at the University of Virginia.[3]

Early life[edit]

Mcdowell was born and raised in Bessemer, Alabama. She wrote about her childhood in her debut memoir Leaving Pipe Shop: Memories of Kin.

Academic and writing career[edit]

McDowell received a B.A. from Tuskegee University, and M.A. and Ph.D. from Purdue University. She has been on the faculty of the University of Virginia since 1987. She founded the African-American Women Writers Series at Beacon Press, and was its editor from 1985 to 1993. Deborah McDowell was featured in the documentary Unearthed and Understood.


  • The Punitive Turn: New Approaches to Race and Incarceration (Carter G. Woodson Institute Series), co-editor with Claudrena N. Harold and Juan Battle (2013)
  • Leaving Pipe Shop: Memories of Kin, Simon & Schuster/Scribners (1997) ISBN 0-684-81449-8
  • Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, by Frederick Douglass and Deborah E. McDowell. Oxford World's Classics (1999)
  • The Changing Same: Black Women's Literature, Criticism, and Theory (1994)
  • Four Girls at Cottage City (The Schomburg Library of Nineteenth-Century Black Women Writers) (1991)
  • Plum Bun: A Novel Without A Moral (Black Women Writers Series), by Jessie Redmon Fauset and Deborah E. McDowell (1990)
  • Slavery and the Literary Imagination (Selected Papers from the English Institute),by Deborah E. McDowell and Arnold Rampersad (1989)


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ [2]
  3. ^ Bromley, Anne. "Deborah E. McDowell named Carter G. Goodson Institute Director at the University of Virginia." UVA Today. April 23, 2008.

External links[edit]