Althea Tait, Ph.D.

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Althea Tait, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
(585) 395-5920
Office: 220 LAB

Teaching and Creative Interests: 19th and 20th Century African American Literature, Literary Criticism, Women’s Studies



  • Morgan State University, Ph.D, English Department, 2008
    Specializations: 19th and 20th Century African American Literature, Literary Criticism, Women’s Studies
    Dissertation: "Redefining Women’s Beauty Through Toni Morrison: a Black Feminist Reading"
  • University of Maryland, College Park, Visiting Gradute Scholar, Women's Studies Certificate Program, 2007-2008
  • The University of Tulsa, M.A., English Literature, 2003
  • Oral Roberts University, B.A., English Literature, 1998

Academic Appointments

  • SUNY, the College at Brockport, Assistant Professor, Department of English, (Fall 2014-)
  • Old Dominion University, Assistant Professor, Department of Women's Studies, (2008-2013)
  • Twoson University, Visiting Lecturer in African American Literature, Department of English, (2006-2008)

Research & Teaching Assistantships

Morgan State University, Teaching Assistant, Department of English, (2005-2006)
Morgan State University, Research Assistant, Department of English, (2004-2005)
The University of Tulsa, Teaching Assistant, Department of English, (2003-2004)

Honors and Awards

The Univesrity of Arizona

Professor of the Year, 2014.*

Old Dominion University

Old Dominion University, ODU NAACP Professor of the Year Nominee, 2013.
Old Dominion University, Shining Star Award, 2011.**
Old Dominion University, Shining Star Award, 2010.
Old Dominion University, College Summer Grant Award, 2010.

Morgan State University

Morgan State University Graduate Student Award, 2008.
Morgan State Graduate Student Research Award, 2007.
Morgan State University Graduate Student Award for Publications, 2006. Morgan State Graduate English Fund, 2005.
Morgan State University Graduate Student Research Award, 2005.

Towson University

Towson University, Outstanding Teaching Certificate, 2007.

The University of Tulsa

University of Tulsa Faculty Development Program Funding, 2004.
University of Tulsa Office of Research Graduate Research Grant, 2004.
University of Tulsa Women’s Studies Program Graduate Research Grant, 2004.
Chapman Graduate Award, 2004.
Chapman Graduate Award, 2002.
Chapman Graduate Award, 2001.

*The Professor of the Year Award is an award given to faculty members based on nominations from graduating seniors. Multiple professors are given the award.

**The Shining Star Award is a student-nominated award given to faculty members based on their ability to inspire students to pursue their dreams and to provide them with dedicated mentorship.



Toni Morrison and The Soul of Beauty: Cultural Perspectives of Black Women. Manuscript is nearly completed

Book Chapters

“The Harm in Beauty: Toni Morrison’s Revision of Racialized Traditional Theories of Aesthetics in The Bluest Eye.” Global Beauty: Consumerism and Body Aesthetics. Eds. Thomas Kühne and Hartmut Berghoff. New York: Palgrave Publishers, 2013.

“Women/War Machines in Ousmane Sembène’s God’s Bits of Wood.” Cultural Production in  Africa and the Diaspora. Ed. Metasebia Woldermariam. Manuscript under external review.

“Tell Them: The Premise for African American Female Writers’ Children’s Literature.” The  Language of Diversity. Ed. Mary Alice-Trent-Williams. London: Cambridge Scholars Publishers, 2008.

“Triumph over Suffering in Allan Stratton’s Chanda’s Secrets.” Sankofa: A Journal of African Children’s and Young Adult Literature, 2005.


Terrance Hayes. NEH Institute Don’t Deny My Voice: Reading and Teaching Black Poetry, the University of Kansas, November 26, 2013.

Book Reviews

A review of The Aesthetics of Toni Morrison: Speaking the Unspeakable. Ed. Marc Connor. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2000. The Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature, Spring 2001.

Creative Works

“Zion.” Poetry publication in The Sable Quill. 2007. This poem is a product of my visit to Senegal, Africa in 2005. The poem revolves around the return of a young African American woman to the Door of No Return on Gorée Island.

“Company.” Fiction publication in The University of Tulsa Graduate Review, Spring 2001. This short story revolves around the life of a young woman living in Boston and coming to terms with disillusionment and unrequited love.

Encyclopedia Entries

“John Marrant.” Notable Black Men. Ed. Jessie Carney Smith. Lake Forest: Thomson Gale, 2007.

“George Peake.” Notable Black Men. Ed. Jessie Carney Smith. Lake Forest: Thomson Gale, 2007.

“Charles Diggs.” Encyclopedia of African American Business. Ed. Jessie Carney Smith. Westport: Greenwood Press, 2006.

“Suzanne de Passe.” Encyclopedia of African American Business. Ed. Jessie Carney Smith. Westport: Greenwood Press, 2006.


The National Endowment for the Humanities (2004)

“Black Aesthetics and African Centered Cultural Expressions: Sacred Systems in the Nexus Between Cultural Studies, Religion and Philosophy” Summer Institute at Emory University Awarded $2700.00

The National Endowment for the Humanities (2013)

“Don’t Deny My Voice: Reading and Teaching Black Poetry and Poetics” Summer Institute at The University of Kansas
Awarded $2700.00

Children's Literature Association Faculty Research Grant (2011)

“Light Rebellions: Colorism Within The Crisis Magazine Children’s Beauty Contest”
Awarded $1000.00

Old Dominion University College of Arts and Letters Summer Research Grant (2010)

“The Harm in Beauty: Misappropriations of Traditional Theories of Aesthetics” Awarded $6000.00

Old Dominion University, The Office of the Dean Research Travel Grant (2010)

Awarded $400.00

Conference Papers/Symposiums

“In between the Sacred and the Violated: Understanding Rita Dove’s Mother Love” Furious Flower Poetry Conference, James Madison University, September 24-27, 2014. Forthcoming.

Censorship and the Challenges of Teaching The Bluest Eye to Young Adults” The Children’s Literature Association, The University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina, June 18-21, 2014.

“Hearing the Voices, Echoing the Voices, Becoming a Voice: An Intergenerational Perspective  of Black Poets” Panelist on Historical Black Writing Project Roundtable on Teaching Poetry, College Language Association, New Orleans, Louisiana March 26-29, 2014. (Accepted but could not attend)

Moderator, “Virtual Seminar with Poet Terrance Hayes” NEH Don’t Deny My Voice Institute in Black Poetry and Poetics, the University of Kansas, November 26, 2013.

“Black Bodies at Stake: From Wollstonecraft to Beyonce” The National Association of Women’s Studies, Cincinatti, OH, November 6-9, 2013.

“Black Mother Work, Beauty, and Soul Murder” The International Conference on Beauty, Harris Manchester College, Oxford, England, September 12-15, 2013. (Accepted but unable to attend)

"Killing Them With Cuteness: The Crisis Magazine 1939 Beauty Contest” Children’s Literature Association, Simmons College, Boston, MA, June 14-16, 2012. (Accepted but unable to attend)

“The Shame that Binds: A Reading of Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye and Precious” Mid- Atlantic Popular and American Culture Association, November 3-6, 2011.

“Light Rebellions: Colorism within The Crisis’ Children’s Beauty Contest” Children’s Literature Association, Hollins University, Roanoke, VA, June 23-25, 2011.

“Confounding Traditional Theories of Beauty: A Reading of the Bluest Eye” Toni Morrison Society, Paris, France, November 4-6, 2010.

For more conference papers/symposiums, please view Dr. Taits' CV


Courses Taught

  • Africana Studies, The Univesrity of Arizona, Tucson
    • AFAS/GWST/ENGL 342
      Women, Writers, and the Gods (This course looks at the ways race, class, and gender among other interlocking sites of oppression act as god-like forces in black women’s lives. Black women’s literature and cultural artifacts are the space in which students examine the premise for the course.)
    • AFAS/GWS/HIST 306
      African American Women and AutoBiography

    Note: The AFAS 342 course is crosslisted with the departments of English and Gender and Women’s Studies. The AFAS 306 course is crosslisted with the departments of Gender and Women’s Studies and History.

  • Women's Studies, Old Dominion University
    • WMST 495/595
      Feminist Theory
    • WMST/ENGL/AAS 495/595
      Beauty and Performance: Black Women's Writing
    • WMST/ENGL/AAS 495/595
      Black Penelope: Black Women n the Odyssey of Hollywood Film
    • WMST/ENGL 495/595
      Race-ing Beauty: The Novels of Toni Morrison
    • WMST/ENGL/AAS 495/595
      Gender, Memory, and the Black Experience
    • WMST/COMM 495
      Gender and Popular Culture
    • WMST 302
      Dimensions of Diversity: A Multicultural Approach to Women's Studies
    • WMST 201
      Introduction to Women's Studies

    Note: Many of the courses, as noted, were crosslisted with the departments of English and African American and African Studies; the Gender and Popular Culture course was crosslisted with the department of Communications alone.

  • English, Towson University
    • ENGL 466/566
      Beauty and Performance: Black Women's Writing
    • ENGL 234
      Major African American Writers
    • ENGL 233
      Survey of African American Literature
    • ENGL 101
      Introduction to College Writing
  • Humanities, Morgan State University
    • HUM 202
      Modern Africana Humanities 202
    • HUM 201
      Ancient Africana Humanities 201
  • English, Morgan State University
    • ENGL 101
      Understanding Literature
    • ENGL 354
      Advanced English Composition
    • ENGL 102
      Composition and Research
    • ENGL 350
      Writing Practicum
  • English, The University of Tulsa
    • ENGL 1033
      Exposition and Argumentation
    • ENGL 1004I
      Introduction to College Writing: Breaking Free—Seeing and Writing Beyond the Constructions of Race, Gender, Economics, and Self -Presentation

Master's Thesis Committees

Old Dominion University

Marion Thomas, MFA, English Department (Fall 2011).
Emily Louise Zimbrick, MFA, English Department (Fall 2009).

Towson University

Deletta Gillespie, MFA, Theater Department (Spring 2009).

Master's Thesis Examinations

Judah Micah Lamar, MA, English Department, Old Dominion University, 2010.

Public Service Projects Chaired

Thanksgiving Day Outreach for Women’s Studies students to the YWCA of South Hampton Roads Center for Women in Crisis 2010-2011.
Tyrice Dean, Internship with YWCA with Executive Director, Spring 2011.
Carly Zuniga, Internship with YWCA Substance Abuse Program, Spring 2011.

Capstone Projects Chaired

Tiffany Berry, Capstone Experience in Cultural Studies, Towson University, Spring 2008.

Professional Service

The University of Arizona, Tucson

Department of Africana Studies

Faculty Co-Organizor, “Saidiya Hartman on Scenes of Subjection,” April 3, 2014
Black History Month Events Committee
Undergraduate Advisor
Major/Minor Recruitment
Graduate School Preparation Coordinator

Old Dominion University

Department of Women's Studies

Chair, Curriculum Committee, (2009-2013).
Committee Member, Friends of Women’s Studies Annual Scholarship Fundraising Event, (2009-2013).
Faculty Major and Minor Advisor, (2009-2013).
Library Acquisitions Director, (2009-2013).
Faculty Organizer, “Annual Women’s Studies Writing Contest” (2010-2012).
Committee Co-Chair, Departmental Writing Curriculum Committee (2009-2011).
Faculty Organizer/Sponsor Thanksgiving Day Student Community Outreach to YWCA of South Hampton Roads Center for Women in Crisis (2010-2011).
Major/Minor Recruitment Liason with Center for Major Exploration, (2010-2011).
Faculty Organizer/Sponsor, “Love Your Body” Poetry Event (2009-2011).
Search Committee Member, WMST and Humanities Office Administrator Position, (2010).
Faculty Mentor for two Graduate Student Presenters, Mid-Atlantic Popular and American Culture Association, October 28-31, 2010.
Faculty Mentor for Graduate Student Presenter, National Association for African American Studies Conference, February 10-13, 2010.
Faculty Organizer/Sponsor for Student Excursion, “Still Brave: Black Women’s Studies at 25+, Looking Backward to Move Forward” University of Maryland, College Park April 23, 2010.
Faculty Organizer/Sponsor, “Get It Off Your Chest” Student Poetry Reading (Spring 2010).

Department of African American Studies

Affiliate Faculty Member (2008-2013)
Committee Member of the Weave Assessment for African American Studies Program, (Spring 2011).

College of Arts and Letters

Committee Member, College Curriculum Committee (Fall 2009-2013).
Search Committee Member, African American Literature Position (Fall 2009).
Committee Member, Dean’s NEH College Grant Committee (Fall 2008).

University Community


Faculty Senate, (2011-2013).
Office of the Provost Committee on Faculty Diversity, (Fall 2011).
Faculty Presenter, ODU Faculty Summer Institute for Learning Technologies, (Summer 2011).
Committee Member, Black Faculty Caucus Scholarship Fund (2009- 2011).
Faculty Advisory Board Member, Black History Month (2009-2011).
Faculty Co-Organizer, “Taking the First Step, When You Can’t Even See the Whole Staircase: Poery, MLK Aphorisms and the Struggle Toward Humanism in the Poetry of Chezia Thompson Cager” (Spring 2009).


Invited Discussant, “Hip Hop: Beyond the Beats and Rhymes,” hosted by the Counseling Center and the Women’s Center (April 15, 2013).
Invited Speaker, “‘Mamma’s Baby, Pappa’s Maybe’: A Mother’s Responsibility of Navigating the Media’s Roadmap to Beauty and Self-Esteem.” ODU Community Development Corporation 3rd Annual Conference for Girls & Young Women (Summer 2011).
College of Arts and Letters Summer Grant Presentation, “The Harm in Beauty: Toni Morrison’s Revision of Misappropriated Theories of Aesthetics,” (Spring 2011).
Faculty Organizer and Moderator, “Do We Know Our Hairstory: a Screening of Good Hair,” Old Dominion University, (Spring 2010).
Invited Discussant: “From Margin to Center: Movement for Change that Matters” hosted by The Women’s Center, Old Dominion University, (Spring 2010).
Invited Speaker, “The Soul of Beauty: Brokenness Leads to Healing” Old Dominion University UMOJA Conference under the Office of Intercultural Relations, (Spring 2010).
Faculty Participant, “Out of My Head, Into My Heart” Black History Month Panel (Spring 2010).
Invited Speaker, Institute for Humanities Junior Faculty Lecture Series, “The Soul of Beauty,” Old Dominion University, (Spring 2009).
Invited Discussant: “A New Day: Implications of the Obama Presidency” hosted by the Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, Old Dominion University, (Spring 2009). Faculty Participant in “Love Your Body” Poetry Event (Fall 2008).

Towson University

English Department

Invited Speaker, “Self and Sisterhood: Unity Within and Without” Black Student Union, Towson University (2007).
Faculty Sponsor and Judge, Body Image Poetry Contest (2006-2007).
Respondent to “Roots and Routes: Reflections on the Life of Olaudah Equiano” with plenary guests: Vincent Caretta, Roland Williams, Patricia Romero, Towson University (February 20, 2007).


Invited Speaker, “To Clamor for a Kiss, Toni Morrison, Blackmotherhood, Motherwork, and Beauty,” Virginia State University, Spring 2013.
Member, Board for Mid-Atlantic Popular and American Culture Association, 2010-2012. Chair, Women’s Studies Area, Mid-Atlantic Popular and American Culture Association, 2010-2013.
Consultant, Norfolk State University, The Women’s Center, Spring 2011. Consultant, Norfolk State University, Women’s Studies Minor, 2011.
Invited Speaker for Black History Month: “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide...and Dared to Live,” Tidewater Community College (Metro Campus), Spring 2011.
Invited Speaker for Women’s History Month: “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide...and Dared to Breath (Together),” Norfolk State University, Spring 2011. Faculty Expert, WHRO, Another View “Pay Equity for African American Women,” Spring 2011.
Faculty Expert, Hampton Roads News Channel 13 WVEC, “In the 21st Century, Does Chivalry Have a Seat at the Table?,” Spring 2010.
Invited Speaker: Unitarian Church of Norfolk Women’s History Month Celebration, March 1, 2009.


Member, Diversity Committee, Children’s Literature Association, 2013-2016. Reader, The Journal of Research on Women and Gender, 2014-present.
Reader, Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature, the University of Tulsa, 2010-present.
Hostess, Toni Morrison Society Celebration of Toni Morrison’s 80th birthday, 2011.
Reader, The Mid-Atlantic Almanack, 2011.
Documentary Critic, Last to the Altar: Black Women and Marriage. Dir. Candice McDowell, 2010.
College Language Association Creative Writing Judge, 2006-2007.
Editorial Assistant, Sankofa: A Journal of African Children’s and Young Adult Literature, 2005-2007.
Fiction Manuscript Reader, Nimrod International Journal, 2003-2004. Guest Artist, Greenwood Cultural Center, 2002.
Member of Toni Morrison Society
Member of Modern Language Association
Member of Children’s Literature Association
Member of National Women’s Studies Association


Visiting Scholar, Conference of International Education Exchange, Senegal, Africa, 2005.


Invited Speaker, “This is not a rout; It is a route (Overcoming Insurmountable Odds...),” Palmer Women and Children’s Center for Addiction and Healing, Tulsa Oklahoma, June 27, 2013.
Faculty Expert, “YWCA of South Hampton Roads Candle Light Vigil for Women in Crisis,” Fall 2010.
Board Member of the Suzanne Behr Scholarship for Women 2004-present. Poetry Instructor, Female Offenders Committed to Ultimate Success (FOCUS)
Program/Resonance Women’s Resource Center, 2004.
Volunteer Grant Researcher for Resonance Women’s Resource Center, 2004.


French (Language Studies conducted at l’Université Laval in Quebec (2002) along with research on Québécoise poet, Nicole Brossard, under the supervision of Holly Laird Frances, W. O’Hornett Professor of Literature, the University of Tulsa).


Dana Heller
Eminent Scholar
Chair, Department of English
Old Dominion University
Norfolk, VA 23529
tel: 757-683-3991

Holly Laird
Director, Women's and Gender Studies Program
Frances W. O'Hornett Professor of Literature
University of Tulsa
800 S. Tucker Dr.
Tulsa, OK 74104-3189
tel: 918-631-3408

Alain-Philippe Durand
Director, School of International Languages and Literatures Interim Director, Africana Studies
Professor of French
The University of Arizona
Tucson, AZ
tel: 520-621-5452

Jeff Jones
Lambdin Kay Chair for the Peabody
Director, The George Foster Peabody Awards
Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications The University of Georgia
Athens, GA 30606
tel: 706.542.3787


Curriculum Vitae

Last Updated 8/13/18

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