Anthony Foy is Assistant Professor of English Literature at Swarthmore College and 2008-2009 Scholar-in-Residence at the Schomburg Center for the Study of Black Culture.
Professor Foy specializes in black literary and cultural history, in particular, the black American novel, black American autobiography, and post- Civil Rights black culture. In his current work, Professor Foy analyzes African American autobiography from 1877-1965, focusing on issues of class and visual culture. His lecture, titled “Dust Wheel in the Ruins: Katherine Dunham’s Touch of Innocence” noted that “although renowned as a dancer, choreographer, anthropologist, and activist, the late Katherine Dunham is less well- known as an autobiographer.”
His presentation sought to correct this issue by situating “Dunham’s under examined narrative, A Touch of Innocence (1959), in critical relation to the racial uplift conventions that dominated the production of black autobiography for much of the twentieth century.” He contended that Dunham’s narrative departs from the normative constraints of black autobiography in the twentieth century by refusing “to offer a teleology of Dunham’s successes.”