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Humanities 2020 Mellon Foundation Grant

R.L. Watson

RL Watson is an Assistant Professor of English and African American Studies at Lake Forest College. A writer, teacher, and proud native of New Jersey, is an alumna of Yale University (BA 2003), Yale Divinity School (MAR 2010, summa cum laude), and The University of Chicago (PhD 2018). Her current book manuscript in progress, tentatively titled The Dark Mask: An Exploration of the Moral Effects of Metaphors of Darkness on the Representational Lives of Black Americans, has as its focus the doubled problem of darkness: i.e., as the darkness of sin and the darkness of the skin. Beyond her academic research, Watson is at work on a novel titled Anatomy of a Judas, which explores the personal trouble that can result from a racialized faith. Watson is also the author of the “poemcast” website agoodboat.com, which gets its name from the “mercy” to which Philis Wheatley (in)famously refers in “On Being Brought From Africa to America” (1773). Finally, Watson’s mixed media visual art series, “Blakonography” and “The Invisible Woman,” were recently showcased at The Beans Gallery in Logan Square.