Intersectionality in the American South

Funded through Support by the Mellon Foundation


Principal Investigators

Principal Investigator 

Dr. Elizabeth West, Professor and Amos Distinguished Chair in English Letters, English Department

Dr West

Professor of English and Amos Distinguished Chair in English Letters, Elizabeth J. West also serves as Interim Co-Director of The Center for Studies on Africa and Its Diaspora at Georgia State University. Her work focuses on interdisciplinary approaches to studies of early African American and African Diaspora Literatures of the Americas. She places particular emphasis on connections of spirituality and gender from early to contemporary African Diasporic Literatures of the Americas.

She is the author of Francis: One Family’s Journey from Slavery to Freedom (2022), African Spirituality in Black Women’s Fiction (2011), and the coedited anthology, Literary Expressions of African Spirituality (2013). Her essays and shorter works have been published across a range of critical anthologies and journals such as boundary 2, JTASAmerikastudienCLAJ, PALARA, MELUSReligionsSouth Atlantic Review, South Central Review, Womanist, and Black Magnolias. Among her edited projects is the co-edited section, “Religion and Spirituality,” in the Routledge Reader of African American Rhetoric (2018).

She is a member on the Advisory Board of The Obama Institute for Transnational American Studies (Johannes Gutenberg University), and a member of The University of Mississippi Medical Center’s Asylum Hill Research Consortium. She is a former AAUW Fellow, DAAD (Johannes Gütenberg University Mainz, Germany) Fellow, and scholar in residence at Dartmouth College in the Department of AAAS. 

Co-Principal Investigator

Dr. Lakeyta M. Bonnette-Bailey, Associate Professor, Africana Studies

Dr. Lakeyta Bonnette-Bailey is a Professor of Africana Studies at Georgia State University and the Co-Director for the Center for the Advancement of Students and Alumni (CASA). Her research interests include Hip Hop culture, popular culture, political behavior, political attitudes, African-American politics, Black women and Politics, political psychology and public opinion. 

Her current research examines the relationship between political rap music and racial attitudes in a book (with Adolphus Belk, Jr) tentatively titled, Check the Rhyme:  Political Rap Music and Racial Attitudes (New York University Press).

She recently published a co-edited volume with Jonathan Gayles entitled Black Popular Culture and Social Justice:  Beyond the Culture (Routledge Press 2023).  Dr. Bonnette-Bailey has also published a co-edited volume with Adolphus Belk Jr entitled For the Culture:  Hip-Hop and Social Justice (University of Michigan Press, 2022) examining the relationships between Hip-Hop culture and social justice.  Additionally, Dr. Bonnette-Bailey published (2015) a book with the University of Pennsylvania Press entitled, Pulse of the People:  Rap Music and Black Political Attitudes.   

Currently, she serves as the Co-Principal Investigator on two Mellon Foundation grants “Intersectionality in the American South,” and the “Humanities Inclusivity Program,” totaling over 2 million dollars and as the project director of a Fulbright-Hays Study Abroad grant to experience Afro-Brazilian culture in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil of $143,000.

In 2018, she was a Nasir Jones/ W. E. B. Du Bois Hip-Hop Fellow with the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University.  Later that year she received her certificate in psychoanalysis from Emory University’s Psychoanalytic Institute.  In 2021, Dr. Bonnette-Bailey founded the podcast The Intersection: Where Black Popular Culture Meets Social Justice, which can be found on all of your podcasts servers. 

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