Michael A. Chaney

Academic Appointments

Edward Hyde Cox Professor of English and American Literature

Michael Chaney specializes in nineteenth-century American literature and African American literature, race representation, visual culture studies, and autobiography. He is the author of two monographs, Fugitive Vision: Slave Image and Black Identity in Antebellum Narrative and, more recently, Reading Lessons in Seeing: Mirrors, Masks, and Mazes in the Autobiographical Graphic Novel. Chaney's latest edited collection, Where Is All My Relation? The Poetics of 'Dave' the Potter (Oxford UP), explores the multifaceted artwork of David Drake, an enslaved ceramicist and poet who worked in antebellum South Carolina. Chaney's academic essays on visuality and race have been published in American Literature, African American Review, Callaloo, SubStance, and MELUS. Inspired by his own mixed-race Black and White identity, he is currently working on a book-length study of U.S. interracial identities and the changing political functions of autobiography. Chaney's teaching spans such courses as Early Black American Literature and Graphic Medicine.


Sanborn, Room 016
HB 6032


English and Creative Writing


Ph.D. Indiana University

Selected Publications

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Speaking Engagements

  • Inaugural Webinar 'Tributo' Address: "The Literary and Interpretive Horizons of Graphic Narrative"  St. Joseph's College, India. September 15, 2020.

  • Keynote Address: "Reading March Covers with and Against the President." Spaced Out Comics Conference at Università degli Studi di Cagliari, Italy. October 26, 2017.

  • Keynote Address: "The Covers of John Lewis's March Trilogy and the Paracaption." University of Siegen. Germany. Summer School, "Transnational Graphic Narratives." July 31-August 5 2017.

  • Keynote Address: "Where? Reflections on Richard McGuire's Here and the Spatial Ontology of Comics." International Comic Arts Forum. Univ. of South Carolina, Columbia SC. April 14, 2016.

  • Address, "Counting on Theory to Account for Dave the Potter's 'Not Counted' Jar." McKissick Museum, Columbia SC. April 12, 2016.

  • Plenary Speaker, "Graphic Novels Offer Reading Lessons in Seeing." McComb Conference. Miami University, Oxford OH. March 12, 2016.

  • Plenary Speaker and Seminar Discussant, "History as Autobiography in Contemporary African American Comics and Graphic Narrative." Hermanns Lecture Series. University of Texas, Arlington. October 23, 2015.

  • Plenary Speaker, "Race, the Human, and History in the Graphic Novel." Honors College of Emerson College. Boston, MA. September 28, 2015.

  • Plenary Speaker, "What Can Krazy Kat Tell Us About Seriality and Comics Poetics?" Mass Media and Seriality in 1920s-1930s US Popular Visual Culture. Hannover, Germany. April 24, 2015.

  • Keynote Address: "Picture Games in Story Frames: The Play Spaces of Graphic Novels." Graduate Student Conference at the University of Montreal, Canada. March 16, 2012.

  • Plenary Speaker, "Flipped Scripts and Magnifying Glasses: Barthes' Image Music Text and the Comics" Panel." Interdisciplinary Methodology Conference: The Case of Comics Studies. University of Bern, Switzerland. 15 October 2011.

  • "Seeing the Social, Or How to Read a Graphic Novel." TEdX Conference at Dartmouth College, March 6, 2011.

  • Plenary Speaker, "Pictorial Aurality in Kyle Baker's Nat Turner." Life Writing and the Graphic Novel: an International Conference. Ruhr University of Paderborn, Germany. July 2, 2010.