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Department Chair and Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Professor of English

Margo Natalie Crawford is the Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania and chairs the department. She also served as the Director of the Center for Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania from 2019 to 2022. She has also held positions at Cornell University, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Indiana University-Bloomington, and Vassar College.

Crawford is a member of the editorial board of the Society for Textual Scholarship, The James Baldwin Review, and the Wiley Blackwell Anthology of African American Literature. She is the author of "What is African American Literature?" (Wiley Blackwell, 2021), and "Black Post-Blackness: The Black Arts Movement and Twenty-First-Century Aesthetics" (University of Illinois Press, 2017), which was the 2019 Winner of the James A. Porter Book Award at the Porter Colloquium on African American Art and Art of the African Diaspora. She is also the co-editor of "New Thoughts on the Black Arts Movement" (Rutgers University Press, 2006) and "Global Black Consciousness" (Duke University Press, 2018).

Her essays appear in a wide range of books and journals, including American Literary History, South Atlantic Quarterly, Modern Drama, American Literature, The Psychic Hold of Slavery, The Trouble with Post-Blackness, The Modernist Party, Publishing Blackness: Textual Constructions of Race Since 1850, The Cambridge Companion to American Poetry Post-1945, Want to Start a Revolution?: Radical Women in Black Freedom Struggle, Callaloo, Black Renaissance Noire and Black Camera.

She has an MA and Ph.D. in American Studies from Yale University (1993 and 2000 respectively).


Crawford is a scholar of 20th and 21st-century African American literature and visual culture and global black studies. Crossing boundaries between literature, visual art, and cultural movements, her scholarship opens up new ways of understanding black radical imaginations. Her other research interests include performance studies, comparative ethnic studies, radical feminism, and transnational modernism.

Selected Publications

  • The Flesh of the Matter: A Critical Forum on Hortense Spillers (Vanderbilt University Press, October 2024), ed. Margo Crawford and C. Riley Snorton
  • “When Hortense Spillers and Toni Morrison Meet in the Clearing: The Hieroglyphics of Marking and Unmarking,” Boundary 2 (Vol. 51, no. 1, February 2024, Duke University Press), 77-95.
  • “African American Citizenship in the Post-Civil Rights Era,” in The Cambridge companion to contemporary African American literature, ed. Yogita Goyal. Cambridge University Press, 2023.
  • “The Black Experimental Impulse: Returning to Seismosis,” in John Keene’s Literary Experiments, Post45, 2023.
  • “What Time Is It When You’re Black?” South Atlantic Quarterly Special Issue, "Black Temporality in Times of Crisis,”, ed. Habiba Ibrahim and Badia Ahad. 121:1 January 2022: 153-172.
  • “The Black Fire Remix,” Introduction, Black Fire This Time, ed. Kim McMillon (Aquarius/Willow Books, 2022)
  • “The Atmos-Feeling of Resurrection: Feeling Black (Not Slave) in Black Arts Movement Drama,” “Slavery’s Reinventions,” Modern Drama (Vol. 62, Issue 4, Winter 2019), 483-501.
  • Dilution Anxiety and the Black Phallus, Ohio State University Press, 2008.
  • New Thoughts on the Black Arts Movement, coeditor Lisa Gail Collins, Rutgers University Press, 2006
University of Pennsylvania, U.S.A