Main Content

Audrey Elisa Kerr, Ph.D.

kerrProfessor of English 

20th Century African American Fiction and Poetry; 20th Century African American Autobiography; [En]Gender[ing] Theory; Harlem in Black Literature, 1919—present; Toni Morrison

Office: Engleman Hall D240
Phone: 203.392.5114




MAR in Religion, Yale University, 2003
PhD English Language and Literature, University of Maryland, College Park, 1998
MA in English Language and Literature, University of Maryland, College Park, 1994
BA in Political Science, Rutgers University, 1991

Recent Courses Taught

Wives, Mothers and Harlots: Black Women Writing, 1950-present
20th Century African American Autobiography
The Harlem Renaissance
African American Poetry: Hughes to Hip-Hop
Seminar in the Works of Toni Morrison

Selected Publications and Presentations

Books and Book Manuscripts

Dance is not Dead in Memphis: Race, Urban Decline, and the Radical Power of Ballet in a Southern City.  (under contract, Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2019)

Normal:  A Chaplain, a Community with HIV and AIDS, and the Eternal Life of Stories (Wipf and Stock, 2018)

The Wine We Drink: An Inner City, a Chaplain, and a Community with AIDS (forthcoming)

The Paper Bag Principle: Class, Complexion and Conspiracy, and the Case of Black Washington, D.C., University of Tennessee Press, 2006

Essays and Creative Non-fiction 

“More usually, we must do battle where we are standing.” Pedagogical responses to “Making America great again” in Black studies classrooms. Chapter in: Our Voices, Our Stories (Columbia: Complexity Publishing, 2019)

"Mercy, Mercy Me: Urban Catholic Education, Women’s Activism, and the Experiences of Audre Lorde and Bella Abzug in Washington Heights," CrossCurrents: Journal of Religion in Intellectual Life (Spring 2017)

“Matchsticks : A Meditation on Harlem in the Wake of the Trayvon Martin Verdict” CrossCurrents (Winter 2013)

“In Praise of Folly: Working, Mothering and Other Messy Couplings” CrossCurrents (Winter 2013)

“Matchsticks: A Meditation on Trayvon Martin from Harlem“CrossCurrents (Winter 2013)

“The Day I Killed A Boy,” (creative non-fiction) Fresh Ink (Spring 2013), 6-7

“Pedagogy of Pathos and the HIV Narrative: The Theory of Empathetic Critical Discourse in English Classrooms,” International Journal of Learning vol 14, no. 10 (Spring, 2008), 75-80

“The Paper Bag Principle: Of the Myth and Motion of Colorism,” The Journal of American Folklore, 118.469 (Summer 2005), 271-289

“Christian Steinberg Is Dead” (creative non-fiction) The Connecticut Review volume XXV, no. 1 (Spring 2003), 46-51

“What Becomes of the Colored Girl?: Black Women, Autobiography and Theological Tradition,” Quodlibet: The Journal of Christian Theology and Philosophy, vol 2, no 3 (Summer 2000)