SAS Dean Rebecca Bushnell has announced the appointment of Dr. Thadious M. Davis, professor of English, as the Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought.
Dr. Davis is widely known for her biographical scholarship on prominent American writers such as William Faulkner, Langston Hughes and Nella Larsen. Her teaching and research focus on fiction, women’s writing and African American literature. Prior to joining Penn’s department of English this academic year, Dr. Davis served for nine years as the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of English at Vanderbilt University. She has also held faculty appointments at Brown University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Massachusetts, Boston.
Dr. Davis is the author or editor of nine books, including Nella Larsen, Novelist of the Harlem Renaissance: A Woman’s Life Unveiled, which received both the College Language Association Award for Creative Scholarship and the Anna Julia Cooper Award for Feminist Scholarship. Her other books include Faulkner’s “Negro”: Art and the Southern Context; Games of Property: Law, Race, Gender, and Faulkner’s Go Down, Moses; and Afro-American Fiction Writers After 1955. She has published articles and poems in African American Writers, Black American Literature Forum and Southern Studies.
Among her many honors, Dr. Davis has received fellowship awards from the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the New York Public Library Center for Scholars and Writers. In 2002, she was invited by First Lady Laura Bush to participate in the White House Symposium on the Harlem Renaissance. Dr. Davis holds her bachelor’s degree from Southern University in Baton Rouge, her master’s from Atlanta University and her doctorate from Boston University.
This chair was created with a gift made in 1978 by Bernard and Geraldine Segal when the late Geraldine Segal, Ed ’30, Gr ’78, completed her Ph.D. in sociology. This chair is interdisciplinary in nature and is intended for a scholar of national reputation whose central interests include human rights, civil liberties and race relations. The late Bernard Segal, C ’28, L ’31, received Penn’s Alumni Award of Merit in 1977. He was also a Penn Trustee and the former president of the American Bar Association.
Almanac, Vol. 51, No. 23, March 1, 2005