Michael A. Chaney

Associate Professor of English
Chair of the African and African American Studies Program
Vice Chair of the English Department

I specialize in 19th-century American and African American literature and culture, with a focus on race representation, mixed-race identity, and visual culture. Other research and teaching interests include comics and graphic novels, autobiography, and flash fiction.

07A Sanborn
HB 6032
African and African American Studies
B.A. Miami University
Ph.D. Indiana University

Selected Publications

Fugitive Vision: Slave Image and Black Identity in Antebellum Narrative (2008).

(Ed) Graphic Subjects: Critical Essays on Autobiography and Graphic Novels (2011).

"Dave the Potter and the Churn of Time." Michigan Quarterly Review (Winter 2014): 1-6.

Keeping Pictures, Keeping House: Harriet and Louisa Jacobs, Fanny Fern, and the Unverifiable History of Seeing the Mulatta.” ESQ 59.2 (2013): 263-290.

“Slave Memory Without Words in Kyle Baker’s Nat Turner.” Callaloo 36.2 (2013): 279-297.

“Not Just a Theme: Transnationalism and Form in Visual Narratives of US Slavery.” In Comics at the Crossroads: Transnational Perspectives on Graphic Narratives, eds. Christina Meyer, Shane Denson, and Daniel Stein: New York: Bloomsbury, 2013. 15-32.

“Mulatta Obscura: Camera Tactics and Linda Brent.” In Pictures and Progress, eds. Maurice O. Wallace and Shawn Michelle Smith. Durham: Duke University Press, 2012. 109-31. 

“The Concatenate Poetics of Slavery and the Articulate Material of Dave the Potter.” African American Review 44.4 (2011): 607-18.

“Animal Subjects of the Graphic Novel.” College Literature 38.3 (2011): 129-149. 

"E.E. Cummings's Tom: A Ballet and Uncle Tom's Doll-Dance of Modernism." Journal of Modern Literature 34:2 (2011) 22-44.

“Terrors of the Mirror and the Mise en Abyme of Graphic Novel Autobiography,” College Literature 38:3 (2011) 21-44.

“‘Heartfelt Thanks to Punch for the Picture’: Frederick Douglass and the Transnational Jokework of Slave Caricature,” American Literature 82:1 (2010) 57-90.

“Is There an African American Graphic Novel?” In Approaches to Teaching the Graphic Novel, ed. Stephen Tabachnick. New York: Modern Languages Association Press, 2009. 69-75.

“Drawing on History in Recent African American Graphic Novels,” MELUS: The Journal of the Society for the Study of the Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States 32:3 (2007) 175-200.

“International Contexts of the Negro Renaissance.” In Cambridge Companion to the Harlem Renaissance, ed. George Hutchinson. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007. 41-54.

“The Gothic Aesthetics of Eminem” (co-authored with Jason Lindquist). Gothic Studies 9.1 (2007): 57-68.

“Coloring Whiteness and Blackvoice Minstrelsy: Representations of Race and Place in Static Shock, King of the Hill, and South Park.” Journal of Popular Film & Television 31.4 (2004): 167-75.

“Slave Cyborgs and the Black Infovirus: Ishmael Reed’s Cybernetic Aesthetics,” Modern Fiction Studies 49:2 (2003) 261-283.

Traveling Harlem’s Europe: Vagabondage from Slave Narratives to Gwendolyn Bennett’s ‘Wedding Day’ and Claude McKay’s Banjo.” Journal of Narrative Theory 32.1 (2002): 52-76.

Touring the Spectacle of Slavery at Magnolia Gardens Plantation.” Southern Quarterly 11.4 (2002): 126-40.

Picturing the Mother, Claiming Egypt: My Bondage and My Freedom as Auto(bio)ethnography.” African American Review 35.3 (2001): 391-408.

“The Dismantling Evolution of Heroes: Aquaman’s Amputation.” International Journal of Comic Art 1.2 (1999): 55-65.

“The Cartoonal Slave.” Forthcoming in The Psychic Hold of Slavery: Legacies in American Culture, eds. Soyica Colbert, Robert Patterson, and Aida Hussen. Rutgers: Rutgers University Press, 2016.

“Being, Significance, and Meaning: Counting on Theory to Account for Dave the Potter.” Forthcoming in I Made This Jar, eds. Jill Beute Koverman and Jane Przybysz. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2016.

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Speaking engagements

Plenary Speaker and Seminar Discussant, “History as Autobiography in Contemporary African American Comics and Graphic Narrative.” Hermanns Lecture Series. University of Texas, Arlington. October 23, 2015.

Plenary Speaker, “Race, the Human, and History in the Graphic Novel.” Honors College of Emerson College. Boston, MA. September 28, 2015.

Plenary Speaker, “Simultaneous History: Re-Seeing John Lewis’s Graphic Memoir March After Ferguson and Baltimore.” Futures of American Studies Institute. Dartmouth College. June 24, 2015.

Plenary Speaker, “What Can Krazy Kat Tell Us About Seriality and Comics Poetics?” Mass Media and Seriality in 1920s-1930s US Popular Visual Culture. Hannover, Germany. April 24, 2015.

Plenary Speaker, "Middle Passage, Community, Mise-en-abyme: Or, What Happens When Kyle Baker Changes the Tail of a Dead Slave’s Speech Balloon in Nat Turner into an Arrow?” Futures of American Studies Institute. Dartmouth College. June 19, 2014.

Plenary Speaker, “The Material Pedagogy of Dave the Potter—19th Century Slave, Poet, and Artisan.” Campus Lectures in Education, Siena College, March 21, 2013.

Keynote Address: “Picture Games in Story Frames: The Play Spaces of Graphic Novels.” Graduate Student Conference at the University of Montreal, Canada. March 16, 2012.

Plenary Speaker, “Flipped Scripts and Magnifying Glasses: Barthes’ Image Music Text and the Comics” Panel.” Interdisciplinary Methodology Conference: The Case of Comics Studies. University of Bern, Switzerland. 15 October 2011.

Plenary Speaker, “Pictorial Aurality in Kyle Baker’s Nat Turner.” Life Writing and the Graphic Novel: an International Conference. Ruhr University of Paderborn, Germany. July 2, 2010.

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Works in progress

(Editor) ‘I Wonder Where Is All My Relation’: Diaspora, Materiality, and the Poetics of Dave the Potter (under contract with Oxford University Press)

Reading Lessons in Seeing: Form and Trope in the Graphic Novel

Near White: Community, Race, and Visibility in American Literature