Mary Helen Washington

Professor

Contact:
3206 Tawes Hall
301-405-7634
mhwash@umd.edu

Biography

Mary Helen Washington was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio.  From 1975, when she was appointed Director of Black Studies at the University of Detroit, she has studied, taught, and written about African American literature.  In addition to the University of Detroit, she has taught at St. John College of Cleveland, Harvard Divinity School, Wellesley College, Mills College, the University of Massachusetts-Boston, and is currently Professor of English at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Education

Ph.D., University of Detroit, 1976

Area Groups

African American/African Diaspora; American; Film Studies and Cultural Studies

Recent Publications

The Other Blacklist: The African American Literary and Cultural Left of the 1950s  (Columbia University Press, 2014).  

The Other Blacklist explores the impact of the Left, the Communist Party, and the U.S. government spying operations on African American literature and culture during the Cold War.  Focused on six major African American writers and artists of the 1950s, this study shows how their Left affiliations enabled them to shape an aesthetic that maintained traditions of race radicalism and literary experimentation.

Books

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Honors and Awards

The Mary Helen Washington Writing Award, funded by the Lillian and Don Bauder Fund, was inaugurated in April 2011 to support the writing of Detroit college and high school students. The award is conferred every year at the Marygrove College Literary Weekend in Detroit, Michigan.

UCLA, Institute for American Culture, Fellowship, July 2000-July 2001.

University of Maryland, Graduate Research Board, Distinguished Faculty Research Fellowship, 1998-99.

American Studies Association, President, 1996-1997

Lyndhurst Prize, 1994-1996

Doctor of Humane Letters, Bridgewater State College, May 1994

Doctor of Humane Letters, Emmanuel College, Boston, May 1992

Doctor of Humane Letters, Notre Dame College, May 1991

Doctor of Humane Letters, Regis College, May 1989

Doctor of Humane Letters, Marygrove College, May 1981

The Candace Award, for one of the 100 outstanding black women of 1988, presented by the Coalition of 100 Black Women, 1988.

Chancellor's Distinguished Scholarship Award, University of Massachusetts- Boston, September 1988

Research Associate and Visiting Lecturer, Harvard Divinity School, 1987-1988

Zora Neale Hurston Creative Scholarship Award, October 1986

Research Fellow, Wellesley Center for Research on Women, 1982

Mary Ingraham Bunting Fellowship, Harvard University, 1979-1980

The Richard Wright Award for Literary Criticism, Black World, January 1974

Service

Fall 2014

ENGL379C Special Topics in Literature: Literature and Film of the Civil Rights Movement
ENGL472 African-American Literature:1945 to Present

Spring 2014

ENGL472 African-American Literature:1945 to Present
ENGL628A Readings in African American Literature; Modernism and Postmodernism

Spring 2013

ENGL234 African-American Literature and Culture
ENGL479L Selected Topics in English and American Literature after 1800: 21st-Century African American Literature

Fall 2012

ENGL317 African American Literature
ENGL472 African-American Literature: 1945 to Present

Spring 2012

ENGL379C Literature and Film of the Civil Rights Movement
ENGL479A Selected Topics in English and American Literature after 1800: African American Traditions: Poetry as History

Fall 2011

ENGL234 Introduction to African-American Literature
ENGL472 African-American Literature: 1945 to Present

Spring 2011

ENGL234 Introduction to African-American Literature
ENGL628A Readings in African American Literature

Fall 2010

ENGL234 Introduction to African-American Literature
ENGL472 African-American Literature: 1945-Present

Spring 2010

ENGL234 Introduction to African-American Literature
ENGL479C Literature of the Civil Rights Movement