Willie Tolliver

Willie Tolliver Jr.

Professor of English

Phone: 404.471.5181
Office Location: Buttrick 310

Academic Degrees

  • B.A., Williams College
  • M.A., University of Chicago
  • Ph.D., University of Chicago

Teaching and Scholarly Interests

Professor Tolliver's interests include African-American literature, nineteenth-century American literature, Henry James, and film.

Professional Activities

Current Research:

Deconstructing Will Smith: Theorizing Race, Celebrity, and Masculinity
This study proposes to read actor/rapper Will Smith, perhaps the most successful black male entertainer in a generation, as a cultural icon. The central issues of this study are as follows: What are the larger meanings of Smith’s celebrity? What does it say about the state of Hollywood and about the racial climate of society in general? How does Smith’s racial profile intersect with issues of class, gender and sexuality that inform recent discourses concerning the black male? The twelve chapters that comprise this examination will draw upon works concerning the history of blacks in the movies and upon works that theorize fame and celebrity as well as race and masculinity.

Racial Bodies and Exotic Subjects: Images of Other Masculinities in Film
Continuing series of conference papers and articles focusing on the construction of black and Asian male images in contemporary film.

Benefits of the Doubt: African American Writers and Henry James
A study of how Henry James has influenced four African American novelists from different periods of literary history: James Weldon  Johnson, Nella Larsen, James Baldwin, and Andrea Lee. The primary thematic focus is on the issues of race, identity, expatriation, and the experience of Europe.

Web Links

Department of English Website

Africana Studies Undergraduate Program

Film and Media Studies Program

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