(David) Todd Lawrence  portrait

(David) Todd Lawrence

Associate Professor of English
Degree
Ph.D., University of Missouri
M.A., Creighton University
B.A., Rockhurst University
At St. Thomas since 2003
Office
JRC 340
Hours
(Spring 2017) M/W/F 10:00-10:50am; also by appointment
Phone
(651) 962-5625
CV

 

I teach African-American literature and culture, folklore studies, and American cultural studies. My research and teaching areas include the Black Arts Movement, James Baldwin, African-American genre fiction, Afrofuturism, folklore studies, and ethnographic writing. I am currently finishing an ethnographic book project in collaboration with the still displaced residents of Pinhook, Missouri, an African American town destroyed when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers intentionally breached the Birds Point-New Madrid levee during the Mississippi River Flood of 2011. This project focuses on the persistence of community in the face of disaster and counter narratives of environmental and social justice.

 

Spring 2017 Courses

Spring 2017 Courses
Course - Section Title Days Time Location
ENGL 203 - W04 Crossing the Color Line M - W - F - - 1055 - 1200 OEC 305
CRN: 22168 4 Credit Hours Instructor: David T. Lawrence Race is a paradox. Biologists and anthropologists explain that it doesn't actually exist, and yet we see it every day. But what happens when we can't see race? This course will explore the vagaries of the color line--specifically, what happens to those who dare to cross over from black to white or "pass." We will read various representations of black-to-white passing written by both black and white authors with an eye toward the ways that the absence of racial visibility troubles the very notion of race itself. Likely authors to be studied include Kate Chopin, James Weldon Johnson, Anatole Broyard, and Nella Larsen. The writing load for this course is a minimum of 15 pages of formal revised writing. This course satisfies the Writing Across the Curriculum Writing Intensive requirement.

Schedule Details

Location Time Day(s)
ENGL 203 - W06 Crossing the Color Line M - W - F - - 1215 - 1320 OEC 305
CRN: 22169 4 Credit Hours Instructor: David T. Lawrence Race is a paradox. Biologists and anthropologists explain that it doesn't actually exist, and yet we see it every day. But what happens when we can't see race? This course will explore the vagaries of the color line--specifically, what happens to those who dare to cross over from black to white or "pass." We will read various representations of black-to-white passing written by both black and white authors with an eye toward the ways that the absence of racial visibility troubles the very notion of race itself. Likely authors to be studied include Kate Chopin, James Weldon Johnson, Anatole Broyard, and Nella Larsen. The writing load for this course is a minimum of 15 pages of formal revised writing. This course satisfies the Writing Across the Curriculum Writing Intensive requirement.

Schedule Details

Location Time Day(s)
ENGL 325 - W01 Topic: Ethnographic Writing M - W - - - - 1335 - 1510 OEC 305
CRN: 22182 4 Credit Hours Instructor: David T. Lawrence In this course we will investigate the difficulties, complexities, and limits of ethnography – the attempt to represent culture – by exploring questions such as: What are the limits of representation? Is objectivity possible? What are the ethical responsibilities of writing about others? How do we do ethnography without exploiting research “subjects”? Should ethnography be done at all? In pursuing these questions we will engage ethnographic theory of the last forty years from the disciplines of anthropology, sociology, and folklore, focusing on the ethical turn from ethnography’s colonialist past to a more self-aware, reflexive, and reciprocal ethnography. In addition to looking at various theories about ethnography, we'll also sample ethnographies of the 20th century – from Bronislaw Malinowski to Alice Goffman – paying close attention as well to experimental fiction, non-fiction, and filmed works by Zora Neale Hurston, Karen McCarthy Brown, and others – ultimately posing the questions: what counts as ethnography, and what are the possibilities for it? Student ethnographers in this course will work on community-engaged qualitative research projects during the second half of the semester. Projects will likely focus on issues of sustainability, urban farming, land access, food justice and traditions, and/or new immigrant experience. Interdisciplinary in scope, this course should be of special interest to students in COJO, Sociology, English, Social Work, Art History, Geography, and Justice and Peace Studies. This course satisfies the Writing Across the Curriculum Writing Intensive requirement and the writing distribution requirement for English majors under undergraduate catalogs prior to Fall 2015. Prerequisite: ENGL 201, 202, 203, or 204. Please note that this course does not count towards the core literature and writing requirement.

Schedule Details

Location Time Day(s)
GENG 699 - 6 Master's Essay - - - - - - - -
CRN: 22745 3 Credit Hours Instructor: David T. Lawrence

Schedule Details

Location Time Day(s)

Summer 2017 Courses

Summer 2017 Courses
Course - Section Title Days Time Location

Fall 2017 Courses

Fall 2017 Courses
Course - Section Title Days Time Location
ENGL 202 - W02 Reading Black Resistance M - W - F - - 1055 - 1200 OEC 206
CRN: 42485 4 Credit Hours Instructor: David C. Williard, David T. Lawrence This course, team-taught by a historian and a literary scholar, focuses on the long struggle of African Americans for justice and equality in the U.S. Analyzing literary and historical texts, students in this course will learn about and engage in research on African American history and culture. Utilizing historical, literary, and cultural approaches, this interdisciplinary course will immerse students into an exploration of the African American experience from multiple perspectives using dual disciplinary frameworks. For example, students may study Richard Wright’s NATIVE SON, but would read the text within the historical and cultural framework of the Great Migration, connecting Wright’s text not just to other literary texts, but situating it within an historical and cultural context vital to the novel’s creation and essential for its interpretation. The writing load for this course is a minimum of 15 pages of formal revised writing. This course satisfies the Writing Across the Curriculum Writing Intensive requirement.

Schedule Details

Location Time Day(s)
ENGL 337 - L01 James Baldwin/Contemp. Blk Wrt M - W - F - - 1215 - 1320 OEC 206
CRN: 42450 4 Credit Hours Instructor: David T. Lawrence James Baldwin has often been recognized as a major voice of African American literature during the twentieth century, but recently, that voice has re-emerged with an uncanny timeliness in the twenty-first, referenced by contemporary writers and commentators to illuminate the shadowy terrain of race and culture that continues to befuddle Americans today. Baldwin’s voice has not re-appeared from nowhere; it has long been with us, for nearly seventy years lodging a relentless critique of racism and injustice in American culture and society. It is no surprise then, that an entire generation of writers has been influenced by Baldwin’s perceptive eye and incisive language. From Pulitzer prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks to his cultural inheritor Ta-Nehisi Coates, Baldwin’s influence has been prominent and lasting. This course will consider the ongoing literary conversation between Baldwin and his artistic children. In addition to Baldwin, writers will include Jesmyn Ward, Coates, Parks, Kevin Young, Kiesi Laymon, Claudia Rankine, and Teju Cole. In addition to satisfying the core Human Diversity requirement, this course also satisfies the Contexts and Convergences distribution requirement and the Diversity Literature area requirement for English majors. Prerequisite: ENGL 201, 202, 203, or 204.

Schedule Details

Location Time Day(s)