Department of English, College of LAS, University of Illinois

Derrick R. Spires

Assistant Professor of English

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Office Hours

  • MW: 12:00-1:00, 3:00-4:00, 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 455, Major Authors Topic: Richard Wright: Texts and Contexts ENGL 274, Literature and Society Topic: Literature, History, and Collective Memory

Research Interests

Representations of Race and Citizenship; Early African American Print Culture; Political Theory; African American Literature

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)
  • “Neighborly Citizenship in Absalom Jones and Richard Allen’s A Narrative of the Proceedings of the Black People during the Late and Awful Calamity in Philadelphia in the Year 1793.” (article)