Michelle Commander

Faculty Advisor: Ruth Wilson Gilmore Status: Alumnus

Contact Information

E-mail: mcommand@utk.edu

Biographical Sketch

Michelle D. Commander is a doctoral candidate in ASE and a Ford Foundation Dissertation fellow. She received a B.A. in English from Charleston Southern University and graduated Phi Kappa Phi with a M.S. in English Education from Florida State University (FSU), where she also completed doctoral work in the Humanities program. Michelle has served as a teaching assistant at USC; managing editor of American Quarterly (2005-2007); visiting assistant professor of English at Florida A & M University; lecturer in the Humanities at FSU; a university publications writer at FSU; and as a high school English teacher. She has published reviews and articles during her matriculation at USC, and has presented her work at several conferences. Michelle's dissertation is an interdisciplinary analysis that examines the post-1965 travel and expatriation of Black Americans to Bahia, Brazil, and Ghana. She is working with Ruth Wilson Gilmore (ASE & Geography), Michelle Gordon (English), Fred Moten (formerly ASE & English), and John Carlos Rowe (ASE & English).


  • B.A. Charleston Southern University, 05/2000
  • M.S. Florida State University, 04/2002
  • M.A. University of Southern California, 08/2007


  • Book Review
    Commander, M. D. (2005). Review of Martha Jane Nadell’s Enter the New Negroes: Images of Race in American Culture. Journal of Popular Culture. pp. 1104-1105.
    Encyclopedia Article
    Commander, M. D. (2008). Mamie Elizabeth Garvin Fields. (Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Evelyn Higginbotham, Ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.
    Cheng, W., Commander, M. D. (2005). Language Matters: Hurricane Katrina and Media Responsibility. (John Brown Childs, Ed.). pp. 92-94. Hurricane Katrina: Response and Responsibilities (New Pacific Press).
    Journal Article
    Commander, M. D. (2007). Ghana at Fifty: Moving Toward Kwame Nkrumah’s Pan-African Dream. American Quarterly. Vol. 59 (2), pp. 421-441.



  • Department of American Studies & Ethnicity
  • University of Southern California
  • 3620 South Vermont Avenue
  • Kaprielian Hall 462
  • Los Angeles, California 90089-2534