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Michelle M. WrightEmory College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor of English


Michelle M. Wright is an Emory College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor of English. Her research focuses on literary, cultural, philosophical, and political discourses on Blackness and Black identity in the Anglophone, Francophone, and Germanophone African Diaspora, from the 18th to 21st centuries.

Professor Wright’s first book, Becoming Black: Creating an Identity in the African Diaspora (Duke UP 2004) establishes an intellectual genealogy of Blackness from Other to subject in West Africa, the Anglophone and Francophone Caribbean, the United States, and Western Europe across the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.

Physics of Blackness: Beyond the Middle Passage Epistemology (UMN Press, 2015) uses theories of time from lay discourses in theoretical physics, philosophy, history, and literature to show how theorizations of Blackness become more accurate and inclusive when we move from understanding Blackness as a “what” to a “when” and a “where”.

Her current project, Feeling Europe: Black and African Diasporas in the Heart of Empire looks at how space, place, and affect destabilizes yet expands notions of home and racial belonging.

She is also co-editor, with Tina M. Campt, of Reading the Black German Experience: A Special Issue of Callaloo; with Maria Fernandez and Faith Wilding, of Domain Errors! A Cyberfeminist Handbook and, with Antje Schuhmann, of Blackness and Sexualities.

Professor Wright works across a variety of disciplines and subfields, including Black and African Diaspora Studies, Black European Studies, Black German Studies, African American Studies, Black Queer Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Black Feminist Studies, Time Studies, Science Studies, Literary Studies, Poststructuralist theory, European Studies, and American Studies.

Professor Wright also writes for the public media, with pieces published in Ebony, Chicago Tribune, The Root, and Los Angeles Review of Books as well as other media outlets.


Co-editor, with Jodi A. Byrd, Critical Insurgencies book series sponsored by Critical Ethnic Studies Association and Northwestern University Press. 

Editorial Board, The James Baldwin Review

Editorial Board, The Black Scholar


  • B.A. Comparative Literature, Oberlin College, 1992
  • Ph.D. Comparative Literature, University of Michigan, 1997


Becoming Black: Creating an Identity in the African DiasporaPhysics of Blackness: Beyond the Middle Passage Epistemology