Vivian M. May

Director of the Humanities Center and Professor, Women's and Gender Studies

Research and Teaching Interests

Feminist theory and epistemology; Black feminist thought; African American literature; literature & social change; intersectionality; interdisciplinarity.


WGS 101 Introduction to Women's & Gender Studies

WGS 301 Feminist Theory

WGS 365 Negotiating Difference: Coming of Age Narratives

WGS 601 Feminist Theory

WGS 740 Feminist Theories of Knowing


  • Ph.D. Women’s Studies: Emory University, Atlanta, GA (1997)
    Dissertation:Dividing Lines and Binding Words: Border Subjectivity in Contemporary Canadian and American Literature
  • B.A. Humanistic Studies, McGill University, Montreal, Canada (1991) Graduated with Great Distinction as a University Scholar



Pursuing Intersectionality, Unsettling Dominant Imaginaries. New York: Routledge, 2015.

Anna Julia Cooper, Visionary Black Feminist: A Critical Introduction. New York: Routledge, 2007.

Recent Articles

“Under-Theorized and Under-Taught: Re-Examining Harriet Tubman’s Place in Women’s Studies.” Meridians 12.2 (2014): 28-49.

“‘Speaking into the void’? Intersectionality Critiques and Epistemic Backlash.” Hypatia 29.1 (2014): 94-112.

“Writing the Self into Being: Anna Julia Cooper’s Textual Politics.” African American Review 43.1 (2009): 17-34.

“Anna Julia Cooper's Philosophy of Resistance: ‘What is needed, perhaps, to reverse the picture of the lordly man slaying the lion, is for the lion to turn painter.’” Philosophia Africana 12.1 (2009): 41-66.

“‘By a Black Woman of the South’: Race, Place, and Gender in the Work of Anna Julia Cooper.” Southern Quarterly 45.3 (2008): 127-52.

“‘It is never a question of the slaves’: Anna Julia Cooper’s Challenge to History’s Silences in Her 1925 Sorbonne Thesis.” Callaloo 31.1(2008): 903-18.


Recent Book Chapters

“Anna Julia Cooper (1858-1964): Black Feminist Scholar, Educator, and Activist.” North Carolina Women: Their Lives and Times. Ed. Michele Gillespie, Sally McMillen. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2014. 192-212.

“Historicizing Intersectionality as Theory and Method: Returning to the Work of Anna Julia Cooper.” Interconnections: Gender and Race in American History. Ed. Carol Faulkner, Victoria Wolcott, Alison Parker. Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2012. 17-50.

“Intersectionality.” Rethinking Women’s and Gender Studies. Ed. Catherine Orr, Ann Braithwaite, Diane Lichtenstein. New York: Routledge, 2012. 155-172.

“Intellectual Genealogies, Intersectionality, and Anna Julia Cooper.” Feminist Solidarity at the Crossroads: Intersectional Women’s Studies for Transracial Alliance. Ed. Kim Marie Vaz, Gary L. Lemons. New York: Routledge, 2012. 59-71.

“Maids Mild and Dark Villains, Sweet Magnolias and Seeping Blood: Gwendolyn Brooks’ Poetic Response to the Lynching of Emmett Till.” Emmett Till in Literary Memory and Imagination. Ed. Christopher Metress, Harriet Pollack. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2008. 98-111.