Dr. Venetria K. Patton is Director of African American Studies and Research Center and Professor of English. Prior to her appointment at Purdue, Dr. Patton was an Associate Professor of English and African American Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she served in a number of administrative capacities including a term as Coordinator of African American and African Studies. She earned her B.A. in English from the University of La Verne and her M.A. and Ph.D. in English from the University of California-Riverside. Dr. Patton’s teaching and research focus on African American and Diasporic Women’s Literature. In 2003, she won two teaching awards: the Annis Chaiken Sorensen Distinguished Teaching Award in the Arts and Humanities and the College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Teaching Award from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Dr. Patton is the author of Women in Chains: The Legacy of Slavery in Black Women’s Fiction (SUNY, 2000), the Co-editor of Double-Take: A Revisionist Harlem Renaissance Anthology (Rutgers, 2001) and editor of Background Readings for Teachers of American Literature (Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2006). She recently published The Grasp That Reaches Beyond the Grave: the Ancestral Call in Black Women’s Texts (SUNY, 2013) and edited a second edition of Background Readings for Teachers of American Literature. Her essays have appeared in Black Studies and Women’s Studies journals as well as the essay collections, Postcolonial Perspectives on Women Writers From Africa, the Caribbean, and the US (Africa World Press, 2003), White Scholars/African American Texts (Rutgers UP, 2005), and Imagining the Black Female Body: Reconciling Image in Print and Visual Culture (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010). She is also the editor of the fall 2011 issue of Black Women, Gender, and Families and co-editor of the spring 2004 issue of The Black Scholar. Dr. Patton is a former Chair of the Purdue Black Caucus of Faculty and Staff and a current board member of the Hanna Community Center.