Deborah Whaley

Associate Professor of American Studies
PhD University of Kansas (2002, American Studies)
724 Jefferson Building
(319) 335-3494
Curriculum Vitae: 
Research Interests: 
Institutional history, theories, & methods of American Studies; American cultural history; comparative ethnic studies; black cultural studies; visual culture

Deborah Elizabeth Whaley is Associate Professor of American Studies and African American Studies at the University of Iowa. Her research and teaching fields include the institutional history, theories, and methods of American Studies, 19th and 20th Century American Cultural History, Comparative Ethnic Studies, Black Cultural Studies, Popular Culture, the Visual Arts, and Feminist Theory. Dr. Whaley has published original art, poetry, as well as articles on social movements, popular culture, fine art, documentary photography, and film. She has been a Resident Visiting Scholar at the Center for Cultural Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and was a recipient of a grant from the Monroe Trotter Institute for Black Culture for her research on responses to 9/11 in Black expressive art and in the public sphere. In 2010, she was co-curator, with Kembrew McLeod, of the University of Iowa Museum of Art exhibition, "Two Turntables and a Microphone: Hiphop Contexts Featuring Harry Allen's Part of the Permanent Record; Photos From the Previous Century." Professor Whaley's first book is: Disciplining Women: Alpha Kappa Alpha, Black Counterpublics, and the Cultural Politics of Black Sororities (SUNY, 2010). In it, she examines the cultural practices, cultural work, and politics of the oldest historically Black sorority. Her current book project, Black Women in Sequence: Reinking Comics, Graphic Novels, and Anime (2015) explores graphic novel production and comic book fandom, looking in particular at African, African American, and multiethnic women as deployed in television, film, animation, and print representations of comic book and graphic novel characters. Whaley is on the editorial board of the journal American Studies and is the 2013-2014 chair of the Women's Committee for the American Studies Association. For more information:



  • Understanding American Cultures
  • Social Construction of Whiteness
  • Sources for American Studies
  • Diversity and American Identities
  • Introduction to African American Culture
  • African American Cinema and Culture
  • Black Popular Culture
  • Black Popular Music



  • Theory & Practice in American Studies I
  • Theory & Practice in American Studies II
  • Critical Dialogues in Cultural Studies: Stuart Hall
  • Classics in American Studies
  • Race, Ethnicity, Nation