(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
Phone
(651) 962-5625
CV
I teach African American literature and culture, folklore studies, and cultural studies. My research and teaching areas include the Black Arts Movement, James Baldwin, racial passing, black speculative writing, and ethnographic writing. My work straddles a number of areas, but generally sits at the intersection of identity, narrative, community, and culture. Recent work I’ve done includes a chapter on police incident videos, social media, and black counter-narratives; as well as a new book – When They Blew the Levee – an ethnographic study done in collaboration with former residents of Pinhook, Missouri, an African American town destroyed when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers intentionally breached the Birds Point levee during the Great Mississippi River Flood of 2011. This book, co-authored with Elaine Lawless, focuses on the persistence of community in the face of disaster and counter narratives of environmental and social justice

 

Summer 2018 Courses

Summer 2018 Courses
Course - Section Title Days Time Location

Fall 2018 Courses

Fall 2018 Courses
Course - Section Title Days Time Location
ENGL 202 - W03 Reading Black Resistance M - W - F - - 0935 - 1040 JRC 247

Days of Week:

M - W - F - -

Time of Day:

0935 - 1040

Location:

JRC 247

Course Registration Number:

42603 (View in ClassFinder)

Credit Hours:

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 The Black Mystery Novel M - W - F - - 1215 - 1320 MCH 115

Days of Week:

M - W - F - -

Time of Day:

1215 - 1320

Location:

MCH 115

Course Registration Number:

41906 (View in ClassFinder)

Credit Hours:

4 Credit Hours

Instructor:

David T. Lawrence

This course will explore the complex terrain of crime and mystery novels written by black authors and seek to understand the ways protagonists of these works occupy a unique and precarious position while attempting to negotiate a world in which notions of "criminality," "justice," and "morality" are highly contested and almost always dependent on who occupies the positions of power. We will also explore the ways that black criminality can offer a powerful indictment of the very laws and systems that seek to regulate it. Ultimately, we will consider the critiquing function of black detective, crime, and mystery novels and attempt to understand the world they construct for us as readers. Likely authors to be examined include Pauline Hopkins, Chester Himes, Walter Mosley, Barbara Neely, Ishmael Reed, and Percival Everett. This course satisfies the core Human Diversity requirement and the Diversity Literature distribution requirement for English majors. Prerequisite: ENGL 201, 202, 203, or 204.

Schedule Details

Location Time Day(s)
GENG 560 - 01 The Black Mystery Novel - - W - - - - 1800 - 2100 JRC 246

Days of Week:

- - W - - - -

Time of Day:

1800 - 2100

Location:

JRC 246

Course Registration Number:

42503 (View in ClassFinder)

Credit Hours:

3 Credit Hours

Instructor:

David T. Lawrence

While for many Americans, the law and its enforcement have served to assuage anxieties about order and stability and to provide for a sense of security (“To Protect and Serve”), for African Americans the law has often been a barrier to freedom and dignity – a clear and present danger to human existence. It is the volatile nature of this relationship that makes detective, crime, and mystery novels by African American writers so fascinating. More often than not, the characters in these novels exist in a world where criminality depends entirely on one’s perspective. Often the real villain is a power structure that attempts to define and fix identity, status, privilege, and even humanity itself. This course will explore the complex terrain of crime and mystery novels written by black authors and seek to understand the ways protagonists of these works occupy a unique and precarious position while attempting to negotiate a world in which notions of “criminality,” “justice,” and “morality” are highly contested and almost always dependent on who occupies the positions of power. We will also explore the ways that black criminality can offer a powerful indictment of the very laws and systems that seek to regulate it. This course satisfies the Multicultural Literature distribution requirement.

Schedule Details

Location Time Day(s)
HIST 298 - W01 Reading Black Resistance M - W - F - - 0935 - 1040 JRC 247

Days of Week:

M - W - F - -

Time of Day:

0935 - 1040

Location:

JRC 247

Course Registration Number:

42729 (View in ClassFinder)

Credit Hours:

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)

J-Term 2019 Courses

J-Term 2019 Courses
Course - Section Title Days Time Location