Skip to Content

College of Arts and Sciences


Qiana J Whitted

Title: Interim Associate Dean for College Initiatives and Interdisciplinary Programs
College of Arts and Sciences
Phone: 803-576-5981
Office: Petigru
Qiana Whitted


Ph.D., Yale University, 2003
M.A., Yale University, 1999
B.A., Hampton University, 1996

Areas of Specialization

20th-Century African-American Literature and Culture
American Comics and Graphic Novels
Southern Literature

Recently Taught Courses

ENGL 287 – American Literature
ENGL 428 – African-American Literature
ENGL 430 – William Faulkner and Toni Morrison
ENGL 430 – Postmodern Blackness in Contemporary American Literature
ENGL 439 – Comic Books, Race, and History
ENGL 757 – 20th-Century African-American Literature

Professional Accolades

    College of Arts and Sciences Summer Research Fellowship, University of South Carolina, 2011.
    Institute for African American Research Fellowship, University of South Carolina, 2010-2011.
    Nominated for English Department Teaching Award, 2006, 2009.
    NAACP Andrew Billingsley Faculty Award, University of South Carolina, 2004.
    Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship, 2002-2003.

Praise for "A God of Justice?" The Problem of Evil in Twentieth-Century Black Literature:

"What most distinguishes A God of Justice? is that it firmly ushers the study of religion in African American literature into the modern age by focusing on what most frames religious reflection in the twentieth century: the renewed focus on evil and suffering in a ghastly century and the religious doubt it has helped engender. This is the first study that explores modern black literature and religion, and the author handles crucial texts and authors with creativity, insight, and aplomb."

— Clarence Hardy, Dartmouth University, author of James Baldwin's God: Sex, Hope, and Crisis in Black Holiness Culture
"Brilliantly conceived. A God of Justice? is original and will become a model in the field of African American literary studies and beyond."

— Katherine Clay Bassard, Virginia Commonwealth University, author of Spiritual Interrogations: Culture, Gender, and Community in Early African American Women's Writing

Current Research Projects 

My current book project explores the debates over the representation of race and racism in American comic books from the late 1940s and 1950s. This study aims to situate the assertions made by Dr. Frederic Wertham and other anti-comics critics within the context of the larger struggle over social and political equality for African Americans during the early Civil Rights era. My primary goal is to reveal a more racially complex comics narrative landscape of the late 1940s and 1950s, to chart a terrain populated not only by caricatures, but shaped by the conflicting codes, tensions, and ambiguities that reflect broad critical negotiations of race and difference in popular media. In addition to exploring Wertham's critique of "race hatred" in comics, my research targets responsive efforts made by mainstream and independent publishers to condemn bigotry and social inequality, particularly in horror and science fiction genres, and in early comics produced by African Americans.

Selected Publications 

    Comics and the U.S. South, edited with Brannon Costello (University Press of Mississippi, 2012).
    "A God of Justice?" The Problem of Evil in Twentieth-Century Black Literature (University of Virginia Press, May 2009).

    "In My Flesh Shall I See God: Ritual Violence, Racial Redemption, and Countee Cullen's 'The Black Christ,'" African American Review, 38.3 (2004): 379-393.
    "Using My Grandmother's Life as a Model: Richard Wright and the Gendered Politics of Religious Representation," Southern Literary Journal, 36.2 (2004): 13-30.

    "Middle Passages: Charles Johnson and the Raft of Dhamma," Charles Johnson: Embracing the World. (Authorspress, 2011): 264-268.
    "King: A Comics Biography", "Nat Turner", "Birth of a Nation", "Stagger Lee" and "EC Comics," Encyclopedia of Comics and Graphic Novels. (Greenwood Press, 2010).
    "Christianity," Writing African American Women: An Encyclopedia of Literature by and about Women of Color, Volume 1, ed. Elizabeth Ann Beaulieu (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2006): 173-178.
    "Alice Walker" and "The Color Purple," New Georgia Encyclopedia. Athens: Georgia Humanities Council and the University of Georgia Press, 2003.

    "Book Review of Transforming Scriptures: African American Women Writers and the Bible by Katherine Clay Bassard," Religion & Literature. (43.1) Spring 2011: 207-209.
    "Religious Idiom and the African American Novel, 1952-1998 by Tuire Valkeakari," Callaloo: A Journal of African Diaspora Arts & Letters (31:3) 961-966.

Recent Presentations 

    Panelist, "Outside the Lines: Refiguring Race in Comics and Graphic Novels," Loyola Marymount University, February 2012.
    Panelist, "Black Panels, White Gutters: Race, Resistance, and Representation in American Comics and Sequential Art," American Studies Association Annual Conference, October 21, 2011.
    Paper, "Toni Morrison's Visual Aesthetic: Reading Jazz and Marguerite Abouet's Aya," Toni Morrison Society Biennial Conference, Université de Paris 9 – Saint Denis, November 2010.
    Paper, "Of Slaves and Other Swamp Things: Black Southern History as Comic Book Horror," International Comic Arts Forum, October 2009.
    Lecture, "Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis and the Graphic Novel" First Year Reading Experience, University of South Carolina, August 2009.
    "Still The One: New Critical Considerations of The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman," Modern Language Association Annual Conference, December 2008.
    "Blues Tragicomics(s): Constructing the Black Folk Subject in McCulloch and Hendrix's Stagger Lee," Society for the Study of Southern Literature, April 2007.
    "Skeptics, Backsliders, and Blasphemers: God and the African-American Writer," African-American Scholarship: New Directions for the 21st Century, Claflin University, April 2007.
    "To Tell the Story through Art Alone: Reading Tom Feelings' The Middle Passage as Graphic Novel," Modern Language Association Annual Conference, December 2005.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.