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Elizabeth Brown-Guillory

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Professor Professor Elizabeth Brown-Guillory

Elizabeth Brown-Guillory is playwright, performing artist, and Professor of English at the University of Houston (UH) where she has won the Cooper Teaching Excellence Award, the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences Teaching Excellence Award, and (two-time winner of) the English Honor Society's Sigma Tau Delta Distinguished Professor Award. After contacting over 150,000 alums, the UH Alumni Organization recently selected her as one of four "Phenomenal Professors" at UH. Dr. Brown-Guillory teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in African/Diaspora literatures, women writers, American ethnic literatures, playwriting, and American dramatic literature. She has faculty affiliate status in the UH African American Studies Program, the UH Honors College, and the UH Women's Studies Program.

Her books include Their Place on the Stage: Black Women Playwrights in America, Wines in the Wilderness: Plays by African-American Women from the Harlem Renaissance to the Present, Women of Color: Mother Daughter Relationships in Twentieth Century Literature, and Middle Passages and the Healing Place of History: Migration and Identity in Black Women's Literature. She frequently publishes essays, book chapters, reviews, and interviews in major journals and critical anthologies. Her current research involves a study of plays by Alice Childress.

She has had twelve plays produced in Washington D.C., New York City, Los Angeles, Denver, New Orleans, Houston, Cleveland, and Chicago. Her plays include Bayou Relics, Snapshots of Broken Dolls, Mam Phyllis, La Bakair, When the Ancestors Call, and The Break of Day. Ten of her plays have been published in Black Drama: 1850 to Present, an on-line collection of 1,200 plays by Blacks. Her plays have won for her a series of honors and awards, including residencies in Illinois, Wisconsin, and New York. Her work was showcased recently in Houston at the Ensemble Theater's "Heart of the Theater" series.

She has given 125 lectures/performances since joining the UH faculty. She lectures primarily on race, class, and gender issues in Black women's literature. Trained as a Chautauqua scholar/artist, she performs the lives of renowned Black historical figures, such as Madam C. J. Walker, Josephine Baker, and Sissieretta Jones. Additionally, she performs one-woman shows based upon monologues from her plays. Recently, she was featured in a television commercial as part of the University of Houston's Image Building Campaign. Click on link below.

She has served in a number of academic leadership roles, including president of the South Central Modern Language Association (SCMLA) and as member of the executive committee of the Modern Language Association (MLA). Additionally, she regularly serves as consultant to the National Endowment for the Humanities.

She is founder and faculty advisor/mentor to The Houston Suitcase Theater (THST), a faculty, staff and student troupe committed to enhancing diversity in the arts at UH. She is also founder of Erzulie, an African Dance Troupe at UH. She has won the UH Council of Ethnic Organization's Outstanding Service Award.


  • Ph.D., Florida State University
  • Study Abroad in France, China, England, Canada, Brazil, Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, Mexico, the Bahamas, Scotland, Wales, and Barbados

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Selected Publications

  • Middle Passages and the Healing Place of History: Migration and Identity in Black Women's Literature
  • "Place and Displacement in Djanet Sears's Harlem Duet and The Adventures of a Black Girl in Search of God". In Middle Passages and the Healing Place of History. Columbus, Ohio: Ohio State University Press, 2006. 155-170.  
  • "Feet Don't Fail Me Now": Place and Displacement in Black Women's Plays from the United States, South Africa, and England". College Language Association Journal 59.4 (June 2006): 383-405.

Research Interests

Literature by women writers from Africa and the African Diaspora, American Drama, American Ethnic Literatures, and Women's Literature.

Current Projects

  • Alice Childress: Performing Activism, Staging Freedom
  • "When My Lady has had Enough: Performances of Freedom in Alice Childress's Copra: A West Indian Drama" was presented at the international conference "Trajectories of Freedom: Caribbean Societies--Past and Present" at University of the West Indies, Barbados, May 2007.
  • "Doublehead,"a dramatic performance piece, was showcased recently at the Barbados Museum.
  • "Confessions of Love: Separation, Spirituality, and Healing in Alice Childress's Mojo" has been accepted for presentation at the annual Modern Language Association convention to be held in Chicago in December 2007.

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Recent Courses

  • Creation and Performance of Dramatic Literature (playwriting)
  • African American Literature
  • Women Writers from Africa and the African Diaspora
  • Black Women's Novels and Film Adaptations

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