The Langston Hughes Visiting Professorship at KU

The Langston Hughes Visiting Professorship was established at the University of Kansas in 1977 in honor of the African American poet, playwright and fiction writer who lived in Lawrence from 1903 to 1916. Over the years, the visiting professorship has attracted prominent or emerging ethnic minority scholars to the university campus, involving a broad range of disciplines and academic departments/schools. This one-semester appointment provides the recipient with a stipend appropriate to the candidate’s rank, a small travel allowance, and a modestly furnished apartment near the KU campus.

The Langston Hughes Professor will teach two courses during the semester of their appointment and deliver a campus-wide symposium on a topic or issue related to their discipline. A reception immediately following the symposium is provided in honor of the visiting professor.


The Process

There is a call for nominations from the Provost to the campus community. After nominations from the school/college deans are received, the “Langston Hughes Committee” will begin their screening process and deliberations. This committee simultaneously works with the specific department(s) to which the potential candidate(s) may be appointed, while planning for and agreeing upon the two courses a candidate could offer during their semester at KU. Once the committee decision is made, their recommendation is sent to the Provost for final approval.


The KU Impact

The Langston Hughes Professorship has not only been a valuable program for bringing prominent ethnic minority scholars to the University for this prestigious appointment, but has also created an opportunity to engage in the campus-wide symposium a variety of topics and issues that otherwise would not be possible. In addition, several past recipients are now tenured faculty members at KU – a direct result of their appointment as a recipient of the Langston Hughes Visiting Professorship.


Langston Hughes Visiting Professors

Fall 2013 Langston Hughes Visiting Professor

Matthew Pettway
Matthew Pettway

Assistant Professor of Spanish, Bates College

Dr. Pettway is the Fall 2013 Langston Hughes Professor and visiting in the Spanish and Portuguese Department where he is teaching two classes. Since 1977 the professorship has brought scholars in a range of disciplines to campus in honor of Langston Hughes, the African American writer who lived in Lawrence ages 1 to 12 (1903-1916). Professor Pettway is an Assistant Professor of Spanish at Bates College where he teaches classes and conducts research in Cuban Cultural Studies, Hispanophone Caribbean Literature and Nineteenth Century Latin American letters. He earned his Ph.D. in Hispanic Cultural Studies at Michigan State University. Professor Pettway’s research can be best described as a literary excavation of Afro-Cuban colonial literature that seeks to gather dispersed fragments of the past in order to define and reconstitute racial and religious subjectivities embedded in the text. His book-length project, Afro-Cuban Literature in a Society of Dead Poets: Race, Religion and Ritual in the Age of Revolution is an analysis of the politics of race and religion in the poetry, narrative, correspondence and trail records of Juan Francisco Manzano and Gabriel de la Concepción Valdés, the most prolific black literary writers in colonial Cuba. Dr. Pettway argues that black writers used Catholicism as subterfuge to inscribe an Afro-Caribbean religiosity that transculturated Cuban literature and posited a broad project of emancipation.

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Spring 2013 Langston Hughes Visiting Professor

David G. Holmes
David G. Holmes, Professor

English and Director of African American Studies at Pepperdine University

David G. Holmes is Professor of English and Director of African American Studies at Pepperdine University. The author of Revisiting Racialized Voice: African American Ethos in Language and Literature, some of his articles have appeared in College English, Rhetoric Review and the award-winning anthology Calling Cards. His current interests include African American expressive culture, political rhetoric, political theology, religious rhetoric and rhetorics of racism. His major project focuses on remapping the rhetorical narratives of the Birmingham mass meetings of 1963. A frequent presenter at the CCC and RSA, he has held offices in the Conference on College Composition and Communication and has served on the editorial board for the CCC journal. He recently received the Howard A. White Award for teaching excellence at Pepperdine.

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Spring 2012 Langston Hughes Visiting Professor

Tammy L. Kernodle
Tammy L. Kernodle, Associate Professor

Musicology at Miami University in Ohio

Her scholarship and teaching has stretched across many different aspects of African American music but with an emphasis on the effects that gender, race, sexuality and regional identity have had on the creation, performance and reception of those musics. Her education includes a B.M. in Music Education (Vocal and piano) from Virginia State University, and M.A. and Ph.D. in Music History/Musicology from The Ohio State University. She served as the Scholar in Residence for the Women in Jazz Initiative at the American Jazz Museum in Kansas City and has worked closely with a number of educational programs including the Kennedy Center’s Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival, Jazz@Lincoln Center and NPR. Her work has appeared in Musical Quarterly, Black Music Research Journal, The Journal of the Society of American Music, American Music Research Journal. The U.S Catholic Historian, The African American Lectionary Project and numerous anthologies. She is the author of biography Soul on Soul: The Life and Music of Mary Lou Williams (Northeastern University Press). She served as Associate Editor of the recently released three volume Encyclopedia of African American Music (ABC-CLIO, 2010). Currently she is serving as one of the editors for the revision of New Grove’s Dictionary of American Music (Oxford University Press). A trained pianist and organist, she serves as Minister of Music and an Associate Minister at the First Baptist Church in Oxford, OH.

Spring 2011 Langston Hughes Visiting Professor

Clarence Lang
Clarence Lang, Assistant Professor

Department of African American Studies & Department of History, University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign

Professor Clarence Lang has been named the 2011 Langston Hughes Visiting Professor and his appointment will be in the Department of African, African American Studies (AAAS). Professor Lang is currently an assistant professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Professor Lang brings an area of scholarship, urban studies, to the AAAS department that has been specified in the Strategic Plan of the department. Lang’s scholarship has focused on urban social movements and on black working-class culture and politics, particularly related to the urban Midwest. His has authored the book, “Grassroots at the Gateway: Class Politics and Black Freedom Struggle in St. Louis, 1936-75 (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2009). He also was co-editor of the book “Anticommunism and the African American Freedom Movement: Another Side of the Story” (New York: Palgrave, Macmillian, 2009); as well as published four book chapters and seven scholarly articles and contributed to fifteen book reviews.

Professor Lang received his B.A, in Journalism with a minor in Black Studies from the University of Missouri-Columbia; an M.A. in History from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville and a Ph.D. in History from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Professor Lang will spend the 2011 spring semester as the Langston Hughes Visiting Professor at KU.

Spring 2010 Langston Hughes Visiting Professor

Adam Banks
Adam Banks, Department of English

Adam Banks, Associate Professor from Syracuse University, received his BA in English from Cleveland State University, and his MA and PhD both in English from Penn State University. He currently is an associate professor of Writing and Rhetoric at Syracuse’s Writing program where he teaches courses in African American Rhetoric, digital thetorics, community literacy, and rhetoric and composition theory. He is the author of the award-winning Race, Rhetoric, and Technology: Searching for Higher Ground.

Spring 2009 Langston Hughes Visiting Professor

Henry Miller
Henry Miller, Theatre & Film

Abydos Revisited: World’s Oldest Drama, Religious Sexuality & the Promise of a New Black Drama Aesthetic!

Henry Miller (Ph.D., Theatre, City University of New York) is a theatre scholar, an experienced stage director, and a dramatist. He is a veteran of the Black Theatre Movement of the 1960s and 1970s, an era that fed his passion for African American theatre. He has staged more than 30 African American theatrical productions and studied playwriting with notable dramatists including Arthur Kopit.

Spring 2008 Langston Hughes Visiting Professor

Randal Jelks
Randal Jelks, American Studies / African & African American Studies

Rediscovering the Life of a Black Religious Intellectual: Benjamin Elijah Mays in the Making of the American Civil Rights Movement

Dr. Randal Jelks is an Associate Professor of American Studies with a joint appointment in African and African American Studies at KU.

Full Bio

Spring 2005 Langston Hughes Visiting Professor

Albert Brousard
Albert Brousard, American Studies / African & African American Studies

The Stewarts: The Triumph of an American Family

Professor Broussard is a historian specializing in the history of African-Americans in the West. Broussard’s research of the Stewart family was published in African-American Odyssey: The Stewarts, 1853-1963, one of two of Broussard’s books published by the University Press of Kansas.

Spring 2004 Langston Hughes Visiting Professor

Madison Davis Lacy
Madison Davis Lacy, Theatre & Film

The Blues Impulse in Film and Video

Madison Davis Lacy is an Associate Professor in the Department of Film & Media Studies at KU.

Full Bio

Spring 2001 Langston Hughes Visiting Professor

Maxine Claire
Maxine Claire, English

Flatted Fifth: poetry and fiction readings

A KU graduate, Maxine Clair is an associate professor emeritus from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., where she taught creative writing.

Spring 2000 Langston Hughes Visiting Professor

Emmanuel Obiechina, English

Common Themes in African Diasporan Literatures.

Spring 1999 Langston Hughes Visiting Professor

Kenneth Hamilton
Kenneth Hamilton, History / American Studies

A Great Man Has Fallen: Booker T. Washington's Memory as Reflected in Letters of Solace

Full Bio

Spring 1998 Langston Hughes Visiting Professor

Maryemma Graham
Maryemma Graham, English

Margaret Walker: A Life, a Poem

Dr. Maryemma Graham is a faculty member in the Department of English at KU.

Full Bio

Spring 1995 Langston Hughes Visiting Professor

Carol Ann Carter
Carol Ann Carter, Design

Living Arrangements: There Are No Walls...There Are Only Bottoms

Carol Ann Carter is a faculty member within the Department of Visual Art at KU.

Full Bio

Spring 1994 Langston Hughes Visiting Professor

John Edgar Tidwell
John Edgar Tidwell, English

Social Function in the Poetry of Frank Marshall Davis

John Edgar Tidwell is a faculty member faculty member in the Department of English at KU.

Full Bio

1992 Langston Hughes Visiting Professors

Fall - Daniel Williams, Design

Spring - Kwabena Nketia, Music History

African-American Models in the Music of Contemporary Africa

Spring 1991 Langston Hughes Visiting Professor

Joel Adedeji
Joel Adedeji, Theatre

Langston Hughes and the River Between (the Making of a Poet)

A Nigerian by birth, Dr. Joel Adedeji is a cultural ambassador and world consultant on African affairs and culture. He holds a diploma in speech and drama from Rose Bruford College in Sidcup, England, bachelor's and master's degrees from New York University, and a doctorate from the University of Ibadan.

Spring 1990 Langston Hughes Visiting Professor

Mervyn Alleyne
Mervyn Alleyne, Linguistics

The Humanities Now! A Third World (Carribean) Perspective

Mervyn C. Alleyne is Emeritus Professor of Linguistics, University of the West Indies, and Visiting Professor, College of Humanities, University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico.

Spring 1989 Langston Hughes Visiting Professor

Robert T. Coles, Architecture

The Practice of Architecture in a Post-Industrial City

Full Bio

1986 Langston Hughes Visiting Professors

Surendra Bhana
Fall - Surendra Bhana, History

The United States and South Africa: Comparative Perspectives

Dr. Surendra Bhana is a professor emeritus of History at KU. He taught at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa from 1972 to 1987, the last eight years as professor and head. From January 1988 to May 1991, he was visiting professor at the University of Kansas, and, beginning August 1991, a regular faculty member. His teaching and research interests are South African history with special reference to Indians.


Spring - Richard Barksdale, English

Spring 1985 Langston Hughes Visiting Professor

Rennard Strickland, Law

Full Bio

Fall 1983 Langston Hughes Visiting Professor

William Julius Wilson, Sociology

Full Bio

Spring 1982 Langston Hughes Visiting Professor

Claudio Gutierrez, Philosophy

Full Bio

Fall 1980 Langston Hughes Visiting Professor

William Warfield
William Warfield, Fine Arts

Full Bio

Spring 1978 Langston Hughes Visiting Professor

Arthur Drayton
Arthur Drayton, English

Langston Hughes: Art and the Literature of Necessity

Dr. Arthur D. Drayton, a graduate of the University of London, is a professor emeritus of African and African-American Studies at KU.

Full Bio

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