Department of English / Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies
A scholar of African-American and American cultural studies, Maurice Wallace has a keen interest in the history of photography and its convergence with black freedom struggles, from abolitionism and emancipation to the U.S. Civil Rights movement and the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement.
Wallace says he looks forward to encouraging diversity and to contributing to the culture of scholarly excellence cultivated within the Department of English and the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies.
“I am one of the blessed ones who is paid to do what I am sure I was put on the planet to do,” Wallace says. “Teaching is as much who I am as it is what I do. As much as I hope my students gain an ever more intelligent view of the world by our interactions, I admit that their success has always also powerfully validated me. Teaching and learning are life-giving for me. Already, U.Va. has given me life.”
Wallace studies 19th- and 20th-century African American literary and cultural production, 19th-century American literature, and cultural theory. He has written on slave narratives, black manhood, Langston Hughes, Civil War photography, race and psychoanalysis, and Martin Luther King, Jr.
He is the author of the Constructing the Black Masculine: Identity and Ideality in African American Men's Literature and Culture, 1775–1995 (Duke University Press, 2002), which earned the MLA William Scarborough Prize for outstanding scholarly study of black American literature. He also was co-editor of Pictures and Progress: Early Photography and the Making of African American Identity (Duke University Press, 2012).
Before coming to the University of Virginia, Wallace taught at Duke and Yale Universities. At Duke, he was the Andrew M. Mellon Assistant Professor of English and interim director of the Department of African & African American Studies. He earned his Ph.D. at Duke (1995) and has a bachelor’s degree from Washington University (1989).