Delia D. Steverson

Associate Professor


  • PhD, English, University of Alabama, 2017
  • MA, English, University of Alabama, 2012
  • BA, English, Agnes Scott College, 2009

Research Areas

  • 19th and 20th century African American Literature
  • Critical Disability Studies
  • Southern Studies


Delia D. Steverson is an Associate Professor of English whose research interests include 19th and 20th century African American Literature, Critical Disability Studies, and Southern Studies. Her research explores the nuances of race, disability, and state-sanctioned violence in African American literature and culture. Her first book project, Stumbling Blocks and Other Unfinished Work (University of Georgia Press, 2023) expands and contextualizes the unpublished works of the late disabled, African American writer Delores Phillips (1950-2014). The volume corrects the misconception that The Darkest Child (2004)—the only novel published in her lifetime—was her sole work. Rather, it establishes Phillips as a prolific writer who created multi-genre literature throughout her lifetime.

Her second book project, Making Black Selves: Imagining Life Beyond Survival investigates the intricate, sometimes contradictory, and potentially liberating ways Black authors have challenged liberal humanist tradition in search of alternative forms of subjectivity that make space for and cultivate Black living.

A recipient of the Mellon-funded Career Enhancement Fellowship, Steverson’s work has appeared in The Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies, the College Language Association JournalLiterature and Medicine, the Journal of American Culture, among others. Her work on Phillips has been featured on The Disability History Association podcast. She joined the faculty in 2023.

Selected Publications



  • “Recovering a Literary Legacy: The Life of Delores Phillips.” Literature and Medicine, Vol. 41. 1 (2023): 45-49. Link.
  • “’Where’s the dummy?’: Deafness, Race, and Labor in Delores Phillips’s The Darkest Child.” The Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies, Vol. 15. 2 (2021): 187-202. Link.
  • “‘Don’t nobody wanna be locked up’: The Black Disabled Veteran in Toni Morrison’s Sula and August Wilson’s Fences.” The College Language Association Journal, Vol. 64. 1 (2021): 147-165. Link.
  • “Madness, Melancholia, and Suicide in Sue Monk Kidd’s The Secret Life of Bees.” The South Carolina Review Vol. 50. 1 (2017): 108-123. Link.
  • “Everything Gray”: Polygenism and Racial Perception in Herman Melville’s “Benito Cereno.” The Journal of American Culture Vol. 40. 2 (2017): 169-177. Link.
  • “Zora Neale Hurston’s Racial Politics in Jonah’s Gourd Vine.” The Explicator Vol. 73. 3 (2015): 226-228. Link.

Popular Writing and Co-Authored Articles

  • “Serials Spoken Here: Creative Commons Global Summit 2021.” With Helaine Blumenthal et al. Serials Review Vol. 47. 2 (2022). Link.
  • “Building my Wikipedia Confidence.” Wiki Education, Wikipedia, 16 Feb 2021. Link.
  • “Autobiography of James L. Smith” and “Unspeakable: The Story of Junius Wilson” for Disability Experiences: Memoirs, Autobiographies, and Other Personal Narratives edited by Tom Couser and Susannah Mintz. Gale, 2019. Link and Link.
  • “Performance.” Encyclopedia of Race and Racism. Ed. Patrick L. Mason. 2nd ed. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2013. Link.