Maurice Wallace is Associate Professor of English at the University of Virginia, specializing in African American literature and cultural studies. He is also the Associate Director of UVA’s Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies. At the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture, Maurice is the co-leader of the Race, Faith, and Culture Project and is a primary contributor to the Vocation and Common Good Project.
Wallace earned his PhD from Duke University in 1995 and his A.B. at Washington University in 1989. His first book, Constructing the Black Masculine: Identity and Ideality in African American Men’s Literature and Culture, 1775-1995 (Duke University Press, 2002), was awarded the MLA William Scarborough Prize for outstanding scholarly study of black American literature. Therein, Wallace examines the ways in which black American males have sought both to realize and to deconstruct America’s ideal portrait of masculinity throughout the centuries via many forms of media (photography, modern dance, theater)—in spite of and in opposition to their simultaneous erasure and scrutiny at the hands of the impoverished American racial imagination.
Wallace also has written extensively on a wealth of subjects: 19th- and 20th-century African American literary and cultural production, 19th-century American literature, slave narratives, black manhood, Civil War photography, race and psychoanalysis, and iconic figures such as Langston Hughes and Martin Luther King, Jr., among others.