Ph.D., University of Virginia
Dean of the College
Woodrow Wilson Professor of Literature, Department of English
Valerie Smith is Dean of the College, the Woodrow Wilson Professor of Literature, and Professor of English and African American Studies at Princeton University. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Bates College, she holds the M. A. and Ph. D. from the University of Virginia. Her research and teaching interests include African American literature and culture, black film and visual art, and twentieth century U. S. literature. She is the author of numerous essays and articles as well as three books: Self-Discovery and Authority in Afro-American Narrative; Not Just Race, Not Just Gender: Black Feminist Readings; and Toni Morrison: Writing the Moral Imagination. She is the editor or co-editor of five volumes and is co-General Editor, with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., of the 3rd edition of the Norton Anthology of African American Literature. At present, she is completing a book on the Civil Rights Movement in cultural memory and co-editing a collection of essays with Kim Lane Scheppele and Adrienne Brown on race and real estate.
A recipient of the President’s Award for Distinguished Teaching, she has held fellowships from the Alphonse G. Fletcher Foundation, the Bogliasco Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the American Council of Learned Societies.
- Toni Morrison: Writing the Moral Imagination (Wiley-Blackwell, 2012)
- Self-Discovery and Authority in Afro-American Narrative (Harvard University Press, 1987)
- Not Just Race, Not Just Gender: Black Feminist Readings (Routledge, 1998)
- ed., African American Writers (Scribners, 1991)
- ed., New Essays on Song of Solomon (Cambridge University Press, 1994)
- ed., Representing Blackness: Issues in Film and Video (Rutgers University Press, 1997)
Recent Courses Taught:
- ENG 389/AAS 389 - Women Writers of the African Diaspora
- ENG 556 - Religion and African American Autobiography
- ENG 365/AAS 365 - Topics in American Literature: Literature of the Civil Rights Movement