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Katy Chiles UTK English

Katy Chiles

Katy Chiles

Associate Professor of English

210A McClung Tower
Fax: (865) 974-6926


Katy Chiles teaches and writes about African American and Native American literature, early American literature and culture, critical race theory, and print cultures. Affiliated with the Africana Studies program, Professor Chiles teaches courses such as Major Black Writers, the Antebellum Black Atlantic, Black American Literature and Aesthetics, and Critical Race Theory. She has been awarded the University of Tennessee Research and Creative Achievement—Professional Promise Award from the UT Chancellor ’s Office; she has also received an Outstanding Teacher Award from the University of Tennessee Alumni Association. Her work has appeared in journals such as PMLA, American Literature, and Early American Literature and has been supported by the Mellon Foundation, the American Philosophical Society, the American Antiquarian Society, the Newberry Library, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Her book, Transformable Race: Surprising Metamorphoses in the Literatures of Early America, was published by Oxford University Press. She is currently working on another book project that examines race, collaboration, and print history in early American literature. She serves as the Co-Editor for Reviews for Early American Literature.


  • Ph.D.  Northwestern University
  • M.A.  Northwestern University
  • B.A.  University of Kentucky



Representative Articles

  • “The Competing Demands of Early African American Literature” in African American Literature in Transition, Volume 1, 1750-1800, ed. Rhondda Robinson Thomas. Cambridge University Press, 2022. 281-305.
  • “Synchronic and Diachronic: Race in Early American Literature” in Race in American Literature and Culture, ed. John Ernest. Cambridge University Press, 2022. 26-40.
  • “Tribal Sovereignty, Native American Literature, and the Complex Legacy of Hendrick Aupaumut.” In Stories of Nation: Fiction, Politics, and the American Experience, eds. Martin Griffin and Christopher Hebert. University of Tennessee Press, 2017. 199-223.
  • “From Writing the Slave Self to Querying the Human: The First 25 Years of The Signifying Monkey,” solicited for symposium on Henry L. Gates’s The Signifying Monkey for Early American Literature. 50.3 (2015): 873-890.
  • “Becoming Colored in Occom and Wheatley’s Early America.” PMLA 123.5 (2008):
  • “Within and without Raced Nations: Intratextuality, Martin Delany, and Blake; or the Huts of America.” American Literature 80.2 (2008): 323-52.

Awards, Honors & Grants

  • College of Arts and Sciences’ Faculty Academic Outreach Teaching Award, 2020
  • Carroll Distinguished Teaching Professorship, University of Tennessee English Department, 2019-2021
  • American Literature Society Advisory Council, 2018-2020. Chair of Advisory Council, 2020
  • National Endowment for the Humanities, Fellowship, 2018-2019
  • University of Tennessee Humanities Center Faculty Fellow, 2016-17
  • National Endowment for the Humanities, Summer Stipend, 2016
  • Faculty Teaching Award, University of Tennessee English Department Graduate Students in English, 2015-16
  • University of Tennessee Research and Creative Achievement—Professional Promise Award. UT Chancellor’s Office, 2014-15
  • University of Tennessee Alumni Association Outstanding Teacher Award, 2014-15
  • Newberry Library Short Term Fellowship for Individual Research, Newberry Library, 2014-15
  • Stephen Botein Short-term Visiting Academic Research fellowship, American Antiquarian Society, 2014-15
  • Faculty Teaching Award, University of Tennessee English Department Graduate Students in English, 2012-2013
  • National Endowment for the Humanities, Summer Stipend, “We the People” designation, 2010
  • Hodges Excellence in Teaching Award for Assistant Professors, University of Tennessee English Department, 2009-10
  • Edward C. Carter Library Resident Research Fellowship, American Philosophical Society, 2009-10