New Faculty: Danielle Morgan
Tell us about your background as a scholar and teacher.
My scholarship started at a young age – when I was in kindergarten, my mother sat me down and had me watch the incredible Civil Rights Movement documentary series Eyes on the Prize. Even as a child, I found the history fascinating and – though I couldn’t quite articulate it at the time – I knew I wanted to learn more about African American literature, art, and culture. A lot of my experiences as a scholar and teacher were influenced by that formative moment. I received my Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in African American studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, followed by a Master of Arts in Teaching from Duke University. I taught high school English and African American studies for three years before deciding to return to school as a student. I earned my M.A. in English from North Carolina State University before going on to earn my Ph.D. in English from Cornell University. While at Cornell, my research focused on African American comedy, satire, and the reclamation of negative stereotypes surrounding blackness. People always ask if (in part) that means I got to study Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle, and the answer is yes!
What are you working on now?
I’m really excited about two articles I’m writing now. The first is on the neo-slave narrative and protest – why are authors still writing first-person narratives about slavery in the 21st century? What is it about slavery that might make it a useful frame for storytelling in our present age? The second examines Spike Lee’s filming of the musical Passing Strange in an analysis of the contemporary coming-of-age narrative and the limits of music and lyrics to convey loss and pain. I am also working on a book-length project in which I argue that African American comedy is an overlooked form of social activism.
There are so many reasons I’m delighted to be at SCU. I was drawn to the holistic approach to education and the clear emphasis on educating the whole person. The campus is gorgeous, the faculty and staff are supportive and brilliant, and I get to teach thoughtful, engaged, and engaging students. What’s not to love?
What do you do in your spare time?
In my spare time I enjoying cooking and watching classic television – I especially love The Twilight Zone and The Dick Van Dyke Show. You can also usually find me singing Broadway show tunes at top volume.