Deborah Elizabeth Whaley is an artist, curator, and writer. She is currently Senior Scholar for Digital Arts and Humanities Research for the Digital Scholarship and Publishing Studio (DSPS) and Professor of American and African American Studies at the University of Iowa. Her research and teaching fields include the institutional history, theories, and methods of American and Transnational American Studies, 19th Century to the Present Cultural History, Comparative Ethnic Studies, Black Cultural Studies, Popular Culture, the Visual Arts, Digital Humanities and Critical Theory. As senior scholar and as an ambassador for DSPS, she collaborates with faculty, students, and staff who produce or engage with digital scholarship, research, and new media technologies and pedagogy.
Dr. Whaley has published original art, poetry, as well as articles on social movements, popular culture, fine art, documentary photography, and film. She was 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 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." “Two Turntables” featured a collaborative mural she did with graffiti artist Lady Pink and UI studio arts students, the video and slide installation project "Pink," photographs, album covers, concert fliers, and a listening station of 1980's hiphop.
Professor Whaley's first book is Disciplining Women: Alpha Kappa Alpha, Black Counterpublics, and the Cultural Politics of Black Sororities (SUNY Press, 2010). In it, she examines the cultural practices, cultural work, and politics of the oldest historically Black sorority. Her most recent book is Black Women in Sequence: Reinking Comics, Graphic Novels, and Anime (University of Washington Press, 2015), which won an award from AAUP for its graphic design and book cover. BWiS explores graphic novel production and comic book fandom, looking in particular at African, African American, and multiethnic women as deployed in television, film, animation, gaming, and print representations of comic book and graphic novel characters.
Professor Whaley has two books in progress. One is a compilation of creative essays, images, and poetry tentatively titled Bodyflow. The other is a monograph: Feeling Her Fragmented Mind: Women, Race, and Dissociative Identities in Popular Culture. The latter is an examination of dissociative identities (formerly known as multiple personality disorder) as a narrative trope in popular literature, film, television, and memoir, with a particular focus on Latinas, White, Asian/American, and Black women in a global and transnational framework. More than an interpretive and critical analysis of popular cultural productions, Feeling Her Fragmented Mind engages with the intersection of différance, geopolitics, affect, and disability studies and combines digital and print humanities and the social sciences to explore the racial, class, and gender disparities in the medical industrial complex.
She is completing, with professors Michael Hill and Jessica Welburn, a 2018 special journal issue of CLA on the MacArthur Genius Award winning writer Ta-Nehisi Paul Coates and a Keywords in Comic Studies anthology with Ramzi Fawaz and Shelley Streeby. Upcoming article length projects include an analysis of the Jazz opera in 1960s British cinema, the trope of love in Black romantic comedies and romance comics, and the articulation of Afrogoth in comix and Afropunk music. She continues to write more broadly for the public sphere for a number of newspapers, blogs, and websites, covering everything from being a black female swimmer and grief, to using the music of David Bowie in teaching Rhetoric to undergraduates, to the ways in which individuals and groups can intervene in structures of domination in their everyday lives, to the use of the digital humanities in re-envisioning scholarship, teaching, art, and activism.
Whaley is on the editorial board of the journal American Studies, serves on the American Studies Association’s (ASA) committee on American Studies departments, programs, and centers, and is a former chair of the Women's Committee for the ASA. At the University of Iowa, she serves on faculty senate and its charter diversity committee. In the Iowa City corridor, she collaborates with local museums, film houses, and nonprofit organizations on community conversations, screenings, panels, and lectures on social justice.
More information is available at her website:http://www.deborahelizabethwhaley.com
COURSES TAUGHT AT IOWA
- Understanding American Cultures
- Introduction to American studies
- Introduction to Popular Culture
- Social Construction of Whiteness
- Approaches to American Studies
- Diversity and American Identities
- Black american Cinema
- Black Popular Culture
- Black Popular Music
- Black Sequential Art: Comics, Graphic Novels, and Anime
- Rhetoric: Reading and Writing
- Rhetoric: Reading, Writing and Speaking
- Theory & Practice in American Studies I
- Theory & Practice in American Studies II
- Critical Dialogues in Cultural Studies: Stuart Hall
- Classics in American Studies
- Affect Theory & Inquiry
Poroi: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Rhetorical Analysis and InventionSummer 2011
ArtSPACE, New Haven, Ct.Saturday, May 11, 2013-Saturday, June 29, 2013
Saturday, May 11, 2013-Saturday, June 29, 2013, pp. 8-9
Journal of Graphic Novel and Comic Book StudiesJune 2011
June 2011, 2, no. 2 3-23
Women: A Cultural ReviewFall 2012
Fall 2012, 23, no. 3 323-345
University of Illinois Press2018
Rutgers University Press2012
Wayne State University Press2011
Fairleigh Dickinson University Press2009
New York University Press2006
University of Washington Press2015
State University of New York Press2010