Judith Madera

Dr. Judith Madera          Judith Madera

Associate Professor of  Literature
Office: C209 Tribble Hall
Director: Dean Family Speaker Series
Faculty Affiliate in African American Studies
Latin-American and Latino Studies
Environmental Studies


Judith Madera specializes in African American and Caribbean literatures from the eighteenth century to present. At Wake Forest she teaches classes on the topics of race, critical place studies, and Pan-American intellectual history. She regularly offers seminars in contemporary environmental movements.

Madera is the author of Black Atlas: Geography and Flow in Nineteenth Century African American Literature (Duke, 2015) and is completing a long arc study of Black emancipatory politics and the radical geographical record that emerged through the abolition epoch.

She received her PhD in English from the City University of New York Graduate Center, where she was awarded the Melvin Dixon Prize for African American Studies. Her work has been supported by grants from Mellon/NEH and the Wake Forest Humanities Institute. She serves on steering committees for (RECAAL) Center for Research Engagement and Collaboration in African American Life, American Ethnic Studies, and the Social Science Research Seminar. International editorial advisory boards include the Journal of American Studies (Cambridge) and Critical Approaches to Ethnic American Literature (Brill).

Courses at Wake Forest

ENG 361/ ENV 302  Liquid Landscapes: Designs, Networks, Stories  (Course site linked)
ENG 702  Colony, Nation, Empire: Studies in Early American Literature
ENG 341/741  Literature and the Environment
ENG 387  Studies in African American Literature
ENG 381  The Black Atlantic
ENG 356  Literature of the Caribbean
HON 285  Radical Ecologies
WGS 320  Ecofeminism
ENG 302  Literature and Ecology
ENG 300  American Environments: Hemispheric American Literature and Theory
ENG 175/ 275  Studies in American Literature
WRI 111  Writing Seminar: Dreams and Presence

Selected Publications


“Shaking the Basemap” The Black Geographic: Praxis, Resistance, Futurity. (Duke, 2023)

 “Early Black Worldmaking: Body, Compass and Text.” American Literary History, 33(3) Fall 2021.

“Quiet Empire and Slippery Geography: Puerto Rico as Non-Sovereign Territory.” JTAS: Journal of Transatlantic American Studies. Special Forum on American Territorialities. 11(1) 2020

“The Birth of an Island: Revisiting Rachel Carson’s The Sea Around Us.WSQ: Women’s Studies Quarterly, Vol. 46, Spring 2017.

“Moving Home” Review essay for ALH, Fall (2023); “Plagiarama!: William Wells Brown and the Aesthetics of Attraction,” ALH. Series X (2017)

Book:  Black Atlas: Geography and Flow in Nineteenth-Century African American Literature. (Duke, 2023)

“Atlantic Architectures: Nineteenth-Century Cartography and Martin Delany” ELN: English Language Notes, Vol. 52, Issue 2 (2014) https://read.dukeupress.edu/english-language-notes/article/52/2/75/137000/Atlantic-Architectures-Nineteenth-Century.

“Floating Prisons: Dispossession, Ordering, and Colonial Atlantic ‘States,’ 1776-1783” in Buried Lives: Incarcerated in Early America. eds. Michele Lise Tarter and Richard Bell. University of Georgia Press, 2012. https://muse.jhu.edu/article/549034/summary

“Frederick Douglass and Herman Melville: Essays in Relation” Journal of American History, Vol 95 No.4 (March 2009) 

“The Standardized Curriculum and De-Localization: Obstacles to Critical Pedagogy.” (co-author with D.E. Mulcahy) Radical History Review, 102 (Fall 2008): 201-213.

“American Heteroglossia: Open-Cell Regionalism and the New Orleans Short Fiction of Alice Dunbar Nelson.” Discourse, 29.1 (Winter 2007): 120-139.

“James McCune Smith: The Communipaw Connection.” Nineteenth-Century Prose, Volume 31, Nos. 1 / 2 (Fall 2007): 349-358.

“American Colonization” The World of Frederick Douglass, 1818-1895.  Eds. Paul Finkelman and L. Diane Barnes. New York: Oxford UP (2006)


PhD  City University of New York Graduate Center
MPhil  City University of New York Graduate Center
BA  University of Connecticut (Philosophy and English)


• Grant for Scholarly Research, Endowed Faculty Funding (University of British Columbia, Vancouver)  6/18
• McCulloch Family Faculty Fellowship, Wake Forest University  2015-2018
• National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Mellon Engaged Humanities Development Award  1/18
• Wake Forest University Faculty of Impact Teaching Award, Office of the College of the Dean  4/14

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