Lena Hill Dean of the College; Professor of English

Lena Hill

Simpson House


Ph.D., Yale University, 2005

B. A. in English, summa cum laude, Howard University, 1997


Nineteenth and twentieth century African American literature; visual culture; U.S. literature and drama

Selected Publications


African American Literature In Transition, 1750-2015 series, 1940s Volume, co-edited with Michael D. Hill, with introduction (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, forthcoming)

Invisible Hawkeyes: African Americans at the University of Iowa during the Long Civil Rights Era, co-edited with Michael D. Hill, with introduction and essay (University of Iowa Press, 2016). 230 pp. *** [2017 Benjamin F. Shambaugh Award Honorable Mention]

Visualizing Blackness and the Creation of the African American Literary Tradition (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014). 275 pp. ***

Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man: A Reference Guide, co-authored with Michael D. Hill (Westport: Greenwood Press, 2008). 191 pp. ***



“Ralph Ellison: Invisible Man,” A Companion to World Literature. Ed. Ken Seigneurie (West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell): 18 pages, forthcoming 2018.

“Laughing in the Gallery: Melvin Tolson’s Refusal to Hush,” Humor in Modern American Poetry. Ed. Rachel Trousdale (New York: Bloomsbury, 2018): 77-96.

“The Politics of Fatherhood in Three Days Before the Shooting….,” The New Territory: Ralph Ellison and the 21st Century. Eds. Marc Connor and Lucas Morel (Jackson: University of Mississippi Press, 2016): 142-166.

“A New Stage of Laughter for Zora Neale Hurston and Theodore Browne: Lysistrata and the Negro Units of the Federal Theater Project.” The Oxford Handbook of Greek Drama in the Americas (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015): 286-300.

“Performing Political Responsibility: Ralph and Fanny Ellison’s Appeal to Visual Arts,” American Studies 54:3 (2015): 83-100.

“Novels.” African American Studies Center, Ed. Oxford African American Studies Center, http://www.oxfordaasc.com/article/opr/t356/e0005 (2012)

“The Visual Art of Invisible Man: Ellison’s Portrait of Blackness,” American Literature 81:4 (2009): 775-803.



Review of Cherene Sherrard-Johnson, Dorothy West’s Paradise (2013) in American Literary History, Series II (April 2015).

Review of Kwame Anthony Appiah, Lines of Descent: W. E. B. Du Bois and Emergence of Identity in Books & Culture (September/October 2014): 30-31.

Review of Adam Bradley, Ralph Ellison in Progress (Yale 2010) in African American Review 44:3 (2012): 532-534.


Awards and Honors

Benjamin F. Shambaugh Award, Honorable Mention (2017) [State Historical Society of Iowa Prize Recognizing Most Significant Book Published on Iowa History]

BTAA Academic Leadership Program Fellow (2016-2017)

Obermann Fellow-in-Residence (Spring 2015)

Cmiel Research Semester Participant, Obermann Center (2012)

James N. Murray Faculty Award (2011) [Teaching Award Given to One Untenured Faculty Member at UI]

Geneva Lecture Committee Faith & Learning Award (2010) [Service Award]

Women of Color in Popular Culture Junior Faculty Publication Workshop, UI CESA (2008)

Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship, Mellon Foundation (2004-2006)

Graduate Prize Fellowship, Yale University (1998-2002)

Phi Beta Kappa, Howard University (1996)