Department of English, College of LAS, University of Illinois

Derrick R. Spires

Assistant Professor of English

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Office Hours

  • MT: 3:15 - 4:15 pm, or by appointment


PhD., English, Vanderbilt University (2012); M.A., English, Vanderbilt University (2005); B.A., English, Tougaloo College (2004)

Teaching Interests

American Studies, Early African American Print Culture, Early U.S. Literature and History, Twentieth Century African American Literature and Culture, Citizenship Studies and Race Theory, Literature and Religion, Science/Speculative Fiction, Literature and Science


ENGL 559, Graduate Seminar: Early African American Print Culture , ENGL 396, Honors Seminar: Richard Wright, ENGL 455, Major Authors: Richard Wright: Texts and Contexts , ENGL 274, Literature and Society: Literature, History, and Collective Memory, ENGL 109, Introduction to Fiction: Fantastic Voyages

Research Interests

Representations of Race and Citizenship, Early African American Literature and Culture, Early American Literature and Politics, Science/Speculative Fiction, Political Aesthetics

Selected Publications

Chapter Books

  • “Imagining a Nation of Fellow Citizens: Early African American Politics of Publicity”. Chapter Book. Ed. Lara L. Cohen and Jordan A. Stein. Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 2012.

Edited Books

  • Baker, Houston A., and Derrick R. Spires. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave. A Penguin Enriched eBook. New York: Penguin, 2009.

Works in Progress

  • Black Theories of Citizenship in the Early U.S., 1793-1860 (book manuscript)