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David Todd Lawrence

Associate Professor

American Culture and Difference
Diversity Leadership

I teach African American literature and culture, folklore studies, and cultural studies. My research and teaching areas include the Black Arts Movement, James Baldwin, racial passing, black speculative writing, and ethnographic writing. My work straddles a number of areas, but generally sits at the intersection of identity, narrative, community, and culture. Recent work I’ve done includes a chapter on police incident videos, social media, and black counter-narratives; as well as a new book – When They Blew the Levee – an ethnographic study done in collaboration with former residents of Pinhook, Missouri, an African American town destroyed when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers intentionally breached the Birds Point levee during the Great Mississippi River Flood of 2011. This book, co-authored with Elaine Lawless, focuses on the persistence of community in the face of disaster and counter narratives of environmental and social justice.