Miriam Thaggert is an Associate Professor of English with joint appointments in the Department of Gender, Women’s and Sexuality Studies and the Program in African American Studies.
She teaches courses on American and African American literature in the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. Some of the courses she has taught include The City in American literature, African American Women Writers, Mystery and Detective Fiction, and Gender and Sexuality in African American Culture. Her book, Images of Black Modernism: Verbal and Visual Strategies of the Harlem Renaissance (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2010) studies an early form of black American modernism, one that is characterized by a heightened attention to and experimentation with visual and verbal techniques for narrating and representing blackness. The book is interested in not only in the ways in which the biological, physiological facts of visual difference have been transformed into moral, intellectual, or social hierarchies, but also, and more significantly, the impact this transformation has had on our language and the ways we talk about race and (American) modernism.
Her current book project, Riding Jane Crow: Women and the Railroad in African American Culture, recovers the displaced history of African American women and train travel in the United States. Researched while a completing a fellowship at the Newberry Library, the book draws upon African American literature, oral interviews, early African American newspapers, legal proceedings, and railroad employee records to detail the social impact of the nineteenth- and early twentieth-century railroad on the perception of race, gender, class and nationality in American culture.
Her writings have been published in African American Review, American Literary History, American Quarterly, and Meridians.