Daphne A. Brooks appointed the Kenan Professor of African American Studies

Yale Professor Daphne A. Brooks.
Daphne A. Brooks (photo by Michael Marsland)

Daphne Ann Brooks, recently named as the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of African American Studies, is a scholar of African-American literature and culture, performance studies, critical gender studies, and popular music culture.

Brooks is the author of two books: “Bodies in Dissent: Spectacular Performances of Race and Freedom, 1850-1910,” winner of The Errol Hill Award for Outstanding Scholarship on African American Performance from the American Society for Theatre Research, and “Jeff Buckley’s Grace.” She is currently working on a three-volume study of black women and popular music culture titled “Subterranean Blues: Black Women Sound Modernity.” The first volume in the trilogy, “Liner Notes for the Revolution: The Archive, the Critic, and Black Women’s Sound Cultures,” is forthcoming from Harvard University Press. 

Brooks is the editor of “The Great Escapes: The Narratives of William Wells Brown, Henry Box Brown, and William Craft” and The Performing Arts volume of “The Black Experience in the Western Hemisphere Series.” From 2016 to 2018, she served as the co-editor of the “33 1/3 Sound: Short Books About Albums” series, published by Bloomsbury Press. She is the co-founder and co-director of Yale’s Black Sound and the Archive Working Group, a 320 York Humanities grant initiative. 

Brooks is currently editing an anthology of essays, forthcoming from Duke University Press, and culled from “Blackstar Rising & The Purple Reign: Celebrating the Legacies of David Bowie and Prince,” a four-day international conference and concert event held at Yale which she curated.

The Yale professor has authored numerous articles on race, gender, performance and popular music culture. Her liner notes for “The Complete Tammi Terrell” and “Take a Look: Aretha Franklin Complete on Columbia” each won the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for outstanding music writing.

A graduate of the University of California-Berkeley, Brooks earned an M.A. and a Ph.D. in English from the University of California-Los Angeles. She is the recipient of fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, the Ford Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, and the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, among other institutions.

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