Dr. Kendra R. ParkerDr. Kendra R. Parker

Dr. Kendra R. Parker of the Hope College English faculty has received the David Bottoms Distinguished Alumna Award from the University of West Georgia’s Department of English and Philosophy.

The distinguished alumna/us award is named for David Bottoms, who earned his master’s degree from the university and is a poet and novelist whose honors include having been Georgia’s poet laureate from 2000 to 2012. The award was presented on Wednesday, April 11, as part of the department’s Awards Day celebration.

While at the University of West Georgia to receive her award, Parker also delivered an invited address, “Women as Predators in Life & Lit: Or, How I Spent Grad School Writing about Black Female Vampires,” on Tuesday, April 10.  She discussed the academic inspirations for her interest in the topic and explained how the social construction of African American women as predators led African American women novelists to reimagine the black female vampire in contemporary novels.

Parker graduated from the University of West Georgia in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in English.  She joined the Hope faculty in 2013 as a Preparing Future Faculty Teaching Fellow in English while in the final year of her doctoral program at Howard University, and she was appointed an assistant professor on the tenure-track in 2014.

She specializes in African American literature, with specific interests in Octavia E. Butler and Tananarive Due, and she also pursues an interest in the study of black female vampires in African American women’s literature and American film.  In addition to African American literature, she teaches first-year composition, cultural heritage, and Women’s and Gender Studies courses.

Parker is the assistant editor for the “CLA Journal,” where she most recently guest edited and wrote the introduction for “Decolonizing the University: A Battle for the African Mind” — a special issue of “CLA Journal.” Additionally, she has published “Octavia Butler and Afrofuturism” (“Gale Researcher” 2016) and “Unchaining Selves: Contemporary Slavery and Health Care Freedom in Tananarive Due’s ‘Blood Colony’” (“CLA Journal” 2015). She has two forthcoming publications: “Intergroup Dialogue and ‘Difficult Conversations’: Teaching Octavia Butler at a Private, Christian PWI,” in “PMLA: Approaches to Teaching Octavia E. Butler” (edited by Tarshia Stanley), and “Noble Savages, Magical Negroes, and Exotic Others, Oh My!: Black Female Vampires in ‘Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2,’” in “Monster Media in their Historical Context” (edited by Frank Jacob and Verena Bernardi).

She is the co-editor of “The Bloomsbury Companion to Octavia E. Butler” (scheduled for a 2019 publication), and her first book project, “She Bites Back: Black Female Vampires in African American Women’s Novels,” is scheduled for a December 2018 release with Lexington Press.