(David) Todd Lawrence  portrait

(David) Todd Lawrence

Associate Professor of English / Graduate Program Director
Ph.D., University of Missouri
M.A., Creighton University
B.A., Rockhurst University
At St. Thomas since 2003
JRC 335
(651) 962-5625
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


J-Term 2020 Courses

J-Term 2020 Courses
Course - Section Title Days Time Location

Spring 2020 Courses

Spring 2020 Courses
Course - Section Title Days Time Location
ENGL 337 - L01 Afrofuturism & Social Justice M - W - F - - 1055 - 1200 OEC 210

Days of Week:

M - W - F - -

Time of Day:

1055 - 1200


OEC 210

Course Registration Number:

21963 (View in ClassFinder)

Credit Hours:

4 Credit Hours


David T. Lawrence

To create just, equitable worlds, we must first imagine them. In this course, we will consider Afrofuturism, a cultural aesthetic that describes the interface between the African diaspora and technology, but we will also explore the powerful potential of the black visionary imagination to reclaim black histories and conjure alternative black futures. Genres closely related to Afrofuturism such as black speculative writing, African futurism, and visionary fiction all engage in a kind of radical imagining which can serve as the foundation for transformative action. Considering these in the course, students will engage the intersection of the black imagination and social change. How can imagining fictive worlds help us to transform the one we currently live in? How can speculative creativity enable possibilities for social justice? Writers, artists, and thinkers will include: Walidah Imarisha, Adriene Marie Brown, Nnedi Okorafor, N.K. Jemison, Octavia Butler, Colson Whitehead, Sun Ra, Wangechi Mutu, and Samuel Delany among others. This course satisfies both the core Literature and Writing requirement for students who started that requirement with an ENGL 201-204 class and the core Human Diversity requirement. It also satisfies an allied requirement for select business majors, a Diversity Literature distribution requirement for English majors, and the WAC Writing to Learn requirement. Prerequisites: ENGL 201, 202, 203, or 204.

Schedule Details

Location Time Day(s)

Summer 2020 Courses

Summer 2020 Courses
Course - Section Title Days Time Location