Derrick Spires

Derrick Spires
  • Associate Professor of English
  • University of Delaware
  • Newark, DE

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Derrick R. Spires is Associate Professor of English at the University of Delaware. He specializes in early Black print culture, citizenship studies, and African American intellectual history. His scholarship and teaching are invested in fleshing out as rich and as a full an account of earlier African American literature and Black aesthetic sensibilities as possible from the tragicomic to the mundane. He committed to recovering the rich imaginative worlds African descended people generated through print and how that process of imagining enabled Black folk to make material change. His first book, The Practice of Citizenship: Black Politics and Print Culture in the Early United States (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019), won the Modern Language Association Prize for First Book and the St. Louis Mercantile Library Prize. The book traces how Black writers articulated an expansive, practice-based theory of citizenship through a robust print culture, including Black newspapers, the Colored Conventions movement, and other ephemera. Spires is part of the editorial team for the Broadview Anthology of American Literature, and he edits the book series, “Black Print and Organizing in the Long Nineteenth Century,” with P. Gabrielle Foreman and Shirley Moody-Turner at the University of Pennsylvania Press. Spires’s work on Black print culture, seriality, and Black bibliography appears or is forthcoming in African American Review, American Literary History, PBSA, and American Literature and has been supported by fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Ford Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, the Mellon/Mays Initiatives, the American Antiquarian Society and other learned societies.