Kimberly Wallace-Sanders

Associate Professor of American and African American Studies

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Kimberly Wallace-Sanders is an Associate Professor of American and African American Studies  in the department of African American Studies. She received her B.A in English from Oberlin College, her MFA in English and Creative Writing from Brown University and her PhD in American Studies from Boston University. Her research and teaching specialties are: 19th Century American and African American Women’s Literature, Ethnic Stereotypes in Visual and Material Culture, Representations of Race and The Female Body, Race, Gender and Visual Culture, African American Photography and Portraiture, Race, Gender and the American South and The Black Female Body, Beauty and American Culture. Professor Wallace-Sanders is a recipient of Emory’s 2014-2015 Associate Professor Completion award.

Professor Wallace-Sanders is currently completing work on a book called “Nannies, Mammies and Love Slaves: Portraits of Black Women with White Children.” Ranging from 1850 to 1950, it will be the largest collection of portrait photographs of its kind. These portraits reveal an astonishing and complex intra-racial and inter-generational intimacy between family members and servants, offering innovative and original insights into American family life.  In this research project her intention is to foreground formal studio portraits of African American women with the white children of their owners or employers as unique examples of the historically troubling and complicated relationship between African Americans and white Americans; one of domestic service centering on childcare. As the natural sequence to her book Mammy: A Century of Race, Gender and Southern Memory (University of Michigan Press, 2007), this new book project represents a shift in her scholarly interests from the cultural representations of “the mammy” as a character to the African American women (and often young girls) whose daily lives were focused on caring for white children.  This project takes on the “family with servant” portrait genre as a subject with tremendous possibilities; each individual portrait represents a unique microcosm of power dynamics reflecting race, gender, class, status, and age.

Professor Wallace Sanders taught in the Institute of Liberal Arts from 1999 to 2011 and served as Director of Graduate Studies of the Graduate Program in the Institute of Liberal Arts from 2009 to 2011.  The list of her most accomplished former students includes: Brittney Cooper, Sheri Davis-Faulkner, Whitney Peoples and Moya Baily who are all Founding Members of the award-winning “Crunk Feminist Collective,” Pellom McDaniels, Curator of African American Collections at the Rose Library, Emory University, Donna Troka, the Associate Director for the Center for Faculty Development and Excellence, Emory University,  Janelle Hobson author of Venus in the Dark: Blackness and Beauty in Popular Culture, Stacy Boyd author of Black Men Worshipping: Intersecting Anxieties of Race, Gender, and Christian Embodiment, Tamura Lomax, founding editor of “The Feminist Wire” and author of Womanist and Black Feminist Responses to Tyler Perry’s Cultural Productions, Kwesi DeGraff Hanson, featured on CNN for his work with the online database African Origins, Brent Campney, author of This Is Not Dixie, Racist Violence in Kansas, 1861-1927, Miriam Petty, author of Stealing the Show: African American Performers and Audiences in 1930s Hollywood, Michelle Hite, Assistant Professor of English at Spelman College and Michelle J. Wikerson, Museum Curator at Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.  She has been nominated for both the Martin-Massey Teaching Award and the Eleanor Main Student Mentoring Award. 

Professor Wallace-Sanders edited the volume Skin Deep. Spirit Strong: Critical Essays on the Black Female Body in American Culture, (University of Michigan Press, 2002) which was nominated for an NAACP Image Award in Literature. Her book Mammy: A Century of Race, Gender and Southern Memory, (University of Michigan Press, 2007) is regularly taught in American Studies, Women’s Studies, African-American Studies and Southern Studies courses. Her most recent publications include: “Your eyes returning my Gaze” Southern Quarterly, Special Edition on Natasha Trethewey, Vol. 50,no.4 , Summer 2013, and “Every Child Left Behind: Minny’s Many Invisible Children in The Help,”  Southern Cultures, Special Issue on The Help, spring 2014,
 Volume 20, Number 1, Spring 2014.

Professor Wallace-Sanders joined the Department of African American Studies in 2012 and has taught the following courses: “Introduction to African American Studies,” “Cover Girls: Race, Beauty and American Culture,” “The Black Female Body in American Culture” and “Race, Gender and Southern Culture.”

Internet Resources:

Interview with Stephanie Stokes, NPR WABE 90.1 FM “How The Gold Dust Twins Came To Haunt Auburn Avenue.” 2015