Charles S. Holmes Memorial Lecture

In 1976, Edwin Sill Fussell '43 and Paul Fussell, Jr. '45 initiated a fund in honor of their teacher, Charles S. Holmes, who taught at Pomona College between 1941 and 1975.  The Fussell brothers gave only the broadest of instructions for the use of this fund, leaving it up to the Department of English at Pomona College to decide how best “to further the encouragement of excellence and inspiration in undergraduate teaching.”  Each year, since 1993, a member of the English Department has invited a scholar who has in some particular way inspired him or her as a teacher and scholar to come to campus and share their work with us.

Fall 2021 Charles S. Holmes Speaker

Invited by Prof. Valorie Diane Thomas, Phebe Estelle Spalding Professor of English and Africana Studies

Dr. Deborah McDowell, University of Virginia

"Just Us: Claudia Rankine and the Recipients of Intimate Address"

Deborah E. McDowell, a scholar of African American/American literature, is the Alice Griffin Professor of Literary Studies and Director of the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African American and African Studies at the University of Virginia, where she has been a member of the faculty since 1987. Her publications include ‘The Changing Same’: Studies in Fiction by African-American Women, Leaving Pipe Shop: Memories of Kin, as well as numerous articles, book chapters, and scholarly editions. She is co-editor (with Claudrena Harold and Juan Battle) of The Punitive Turn: Race, Inequality, and Mass Incarceration. Extensively involved in editorial projects pertaining to the subject of African-American literature, she founded the African-American Women Writers Series for Beacon Press and served as its editor from 1985-1993. This project oversaw the reissue of fourteen novels by African American women writers from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. She also served as a period editor for the Norton Anthology of African-American Literature, now in its third edition;  contributing editor to the D. C. Heath Anthology of American Literature, and co-editor with Arnold Rampersad of Slavery and the Literary Imagination.  Her service on various editorial boards has included Publications of the Modern Language Association, American Literature, Genders, and African-American Review, Modern Fiction Studies, and Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature.

Professor McDowell has been the recipient of various grants, including the Mary Ingraham Bunting Fellowship (Radcliffe), the National Research Council Fellowship of the Ford Foundation, and the Woodrow Wilson International Center Fellowship. She was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters by Purdue University in 2006.

Event will be held virtually at 4 p.m. PST on Thursday, November 4, 2021. Register for the “Just Us: Claudia Rankine and the Recipients of Intimate Address” event using your college email address.

Past Holmes Lecturers

Year Lecturer
1993 Harry Berger, UC Santa Cruz
1994 John Alford, Michigan State University
1995 Sara Suleri Goodyear, Yale University
1996 Christopher Ricks, Boston University
1997 Stephen Greenblatt, University of California Berkeley
1998 Wayne C. Booth, University of Chicago
1999 Marjorie Perloff, Stanford University
2000 Louis Menand, City University of New York
2001 Joyce Ann Joyce, Temple University
2002 Juliet McMaster, University of Alberta at Edmonton
2003 D.A. Miller, University of California, Berkeley
2004 David Bevington, University of Chicago
2005 Susan Stewart, Princeton University
2006 Alan Liu, University of California, Santa Barbara
2007 Marjorie Levinson, University of Michigan
2008 Mark Hansen, University of Chicago
2009 Rita Copeland, University of Pennsylvania
2010 Lawrence Buell, Harvard University
2011 Deidre Shauna Lynch, University of Toronto
2012 Sianne Ngai, Stanford University
2013 Lauren Berlant, University of Chicago
2014 (Spring) Anne Anlin Cheng, Princeton University
2015 Enda Duffy, Professor of English, University of California, Santa Barbara
2016 Charles Baxter, Professor of English, University of Minnesota
2017 *Spring

Jacqueline T. Miller, Rutgers University

2017 *Fall

William E. Jones, Artist and Writer

2021 *Spring Deborah McDowell, University of Virginia