(David) Todd Lawrence  portrait

(David) Todd Lawrence

Associate Professor of English / Interim Director of American Culture & Difference
Degree
Ph.D., University of Missouri
M.A., Creighton University
B.A., Rockhurst University
At St. Thomas since 2003
Office
JRC 340
Hours
(Spring 2018) M 1:30-2:30pm; W 3:30-5:45pm; 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.

Check out this short YouTube video to learn more about my urban agriculture and ethnography class, which I've taught at both the graduate and undergraduate level.

 

Spring 2018 Courses

Spring 2018 Courses
Course - Section Title Days Time Location
ACST 450 - 01 Amer. Culture & Diff. Capstone - - - - - - - -

Days of Week:

- - - - - - -

Time of Day:

-

Location:

Course Registration Number:

23030 (View in ClassFinder)

Credit Hours:

0 Credit Hours

Instructor:

David T. Lawrence

The American Culture and Difference Capstone Project will integrate learning from the Introduction to American Culture and Difference course and elective courses that compose each student’s ACD Minor. The capstone experience will articulate and enhance the interdisciplinary studies of an ACD minor and synthesize that learning in a culminating project. Two capstone seminars will provide structure for students to transition from knowledge acquisition to knowledge production (i.e.: article, essay, or research) or cultural production (i.e.: music, poetry, visual art, creative writing), and provide guidance from ACD Faculty to complete a capstone project and presentation. Registration is restricted to American Culture and Difference minors in their senior year. Prerequisite: ACST 200

Schedule Details

Location Time Day(s)
ENGL 202 - W05 Sports and Social Justice M - W - F - - 1215 - 1320 JRC 414

Days of Week:

M - W - F - -

Time of Day:

1215 - 1320

Location:

JRC 414

Course Registration Number:

22390 (View in ClassFinder)

Credit Hours:

4 Credit Hours

Instructor:

David T. Lawrence

Why did two men walk, shoeless, to the medal podium at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City and raise black-gloved fists during the playing of the U.S. national anthem? Who stood beside them in solidarity? Why does a poem about the first Olympic gold medalist in Women’s Marathon in 1984 end with the line, “and standing”? What basketball team was declared World Champion following the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904? These and other questions highlight the convergence of sport, culture, and social justice, an intersection that is embedded in our history and lauded in our literature. In this class, we will investigate the literature of sport and social justice via interdisciplinary perspectives. Sport provides a lens through which we can see the values of America more clearly. It can show us the best we have to offer . . . and sometimes, unfortunately, the worst. We will consider it all, focusing on the ways that sport has become an arena for politics, culture, and social justice. To accomplish this we will read the work of sports writers, essayists, poets, novelists and playwrights, but we will also engage productions of contemporary culture such as photographic images, social media, videos, and memes. Through all of these we will seek to consider sport not as an apolitical pastime, but as a complex and fraught landscape where the issues and problems that our country grapples with are present in numerous and fascinating ways. 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)
GENG 660 - 01 Theorizing Black Body - - W - - - - 1800 - 2100 JRC 222

Days of Week:

- - W - - - -

Time of Day:

1800 - 2100

Location:

JRC 222

Course Registration Number:

21713 (View in ClassFinder)

Credit Hours:

3 Credit Hours

Instructor:

David T. Lawrence

Ta-Nehisi Coates writes, in Between the World and Me, that “In America, it is traditional to destroy the black body—it is heritage.” To some this may be a shocking claim, but to the black subject, this is a most unavoidable truth. From Frederick Douglass, who enters the “blood-stained gate, the entrance to the hell of slavery,” by witnessing the brutal beating of his aunt; to the young girl Frado, of Harriet Wilson’s Our Nig, whose body is slowly broken and destroyed by the vicious cruelty of her owners, the Bellmont family; to the thousands of black men whose bodies were destroyed in various awful ways in perverse lynching scenes; to the bloodied head of John Lewis; to Michael Brown’s lifeless body lying in a Ferguson street – the vulnerability of the black body has been a consistent reality of American History. In fact, the black body has been more than a symbol or site of oppression; it is a vital fetish, without which whiteness and American culture could not exist. This course will examine the black body as a manifestation of blackness, as a site of abjection, as a source of magic and power, and as a mystical technology. Primary authors may include Harriet Wilson, Toni Morrison, Gayl Jones, Octavia Butler, and Walter Mosely. Theorists may include Sadiya Hartman, Christina Sharpe, Alexander Weheliye, Franz Fanon, and others. This course satisfies the Multicultural Literature distribution requirement. Prerequisite: GENG 513 or permission of the instructor

Schedule Details

Location Time Day(s)
GENG 699 - 05 Master's Essay - - - - - - - -

Days of Week:

- - - - - - -

Time of Day:

-

Location:

Course Registration Number:

22975 (View in ClassFinder)

Credit Hours:

3 Credit Hours

Instructor:

David T. Lawrence

Schedule Details

Location Time Day(s)

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 - W05 Reading Black Resistance M - W - F - - 0935 - 1040

Days of Week:

M - W - F - -

Time of Day:

0935 - 1040

Location:

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

Days of Week:

M - W - F - -

Time of Day:

1215 - 1320

Location:

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

Days of Week:

- - W - - - -

Time of Day:

1800 - 2100

Location:

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 Resistanance M - W - F - - 0935 - 1040

Days of Week:

M - W - F - -

Time of Day:

0935 - 1040

Location:

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)