Judith Madera

Dr. Judith Madera Judith Madera

Associate Professor of Literature
Email: maderaji@wfu.edu
Office: C209 Tribble Hall
Director: Dean Family Speaker Series
Faculty Affiliate in 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 Reearch 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

“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.

“Plagiarama!: William Wells Brown and the Aesthetics of Attraction,” Review essay for American Literary History, ALH. Series X. (2017)

Black Atlas: Geography and Flow in Nineteenth-Century African American Literature. (Duke UP, 2015) https://www.amazon.com/Black-Atlas-Geography-Nineteenth-Century-Literature/dp/0822358115

“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)


• 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


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

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