Maxine Lavon Montgomery

Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor and Distinguished Research Professor
WMS 433
African American fiction, contemporary black women's novels, cultural and gender studies

MAXINE LAVON MONTGOMERY is Professor of English. She earned a doctorate in English from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her areas of academic specialization include Contemporary Black Women’s Fiction, African Diaspora Literature and Culture, Black Apocalyptic and Postapocalyptic Literature and Expressive Culture, and Critical Race Theory.

Professor Montgomery has published widely on the fiction of Gloria Naylor and Toni Morrison. Currently, her research focuses on the intersection between race, gender, sexualities and vernacular culture. Her most recent book, The Postapocalyptic Black Female Imagination, examines the kinds of catastrophe we are now witnessing – pandemics, hurricanes, floods, and moments of social unrest – against the backdrop of our current moment with a view to interrogating futuristic imaginaries in representative works of fiction and visual culture by black women across the diaspora, from Octavia E. Butler to Beyonce. A spin-off book, Un-Zombifying Blackness: Race, Gender, and Vernacular Culture, is in the proposal phase. Her work in the area of contemporary black women’s fiction has been published in South Carolina Review, College Language Association Journal, Palimpsest: A Journal on Women, Gender, and the Black International, and African-American Review, the foremost publication in the field.

A link to a National Public Radio Interview is included below:

A 2021 National Endowment for the Humanities Collaborative Research Grant will enable Professor Montgomery to carry out a series of programmatic events surrounding the digitization of Gloria Naylor’s unpublished works, located at Lehigh University. Those events will culminate with the publication of a two-volume collection of new critical essays examining the intersection between Naylor’s unpublished and published works with a view to charting new directions in Naylor scholarship, Digital Humanities, and Black Women’s Archival Studies.

The chair of Florida State University’s 2020-21 Anti-Racism, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force, Professor Montgomery is also the recipient of four University awards for excellence in Teaching.


  • The Postapocalyptic Black Female Imagination (London: Bloomsbury, July 2021).
  • Meditations on Race, Culture, and History: New Critical Essays on Toni Morrison's God Help the Child (University Press of Mississippi, 2020).
  • Conversations with Edwidge Danticat (University Press of Mississippi, 2017).
  • Contested Boundaries: New Critical Essays on the Fiction of Toni Morrison (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013).
  • The Fiction of Gloria Naylor: Houses and Spaces of Resistance, (University of Tennessee Press, 2010).
  • Conversations With Gloria Naylor (University Press of Mississippi, Spring 2004).
  • The Apocalypse in African-American Fiction (U P of Florida, 1996).


  • “From African-Caribbean Pasts to Afro-Futures: Re-imagining Resistance in Michelle Cliff’s Abeng” (Palimpsest: A Journal on Women, Gender, and the Black International, forthcoming spring 2020).
  • “’You Not the Woman I Want’: Toni Morrison’s God Help the Child and the Legend of Galatea.” Race, Culture, and History: New Critical Essays on Toni Morrison’s God Help the Child. Maxine Lavon Montgomery, et. al., eds. (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2020).
  • "Bearing Witness to Forgotten Wounds: Toni Morrison's Home and the Spectral Presence" (South Carolina Review, 2014).
  • "Got on My Traveling Shoes: Migration, Exile, and Home in Toni Morrison's A Mercy" (Journal of Black Studies, 2011).
  • "Don't Look B(l)ack: Spectatorship in Toni Morrison's Tar Baby." (Zora Neale Hurston Forum, 2010).
  • "Good Housekeeping: Domestic Rituals in the Fiction of Gloria Naylor" (Gloria Naylor's Early Novels, U P of Florida, 1999).
  • "Authority, Multivocality, and the New World Order in Gloria Naylor's Bailey's Cafe" (African-American Review, 1997).
  • "Racial Armageddon: The Image of Apocalypse in Richard Wright's Native Son" (College Language Association Journal, 1991).
  • "A Pilgrimage to the Origins: Apocalypse as Structure and Theme in Toni Morrison's Sula" (African-American Review, 1989).


  • National Endowment for the Humanities Collaborative Research Grant (with Mary Foltz at Lehigh University), 2021-22
  • University Undergraduate Teaching Award, 2017-18
  • Transformation Through Teaching Award, 2017
  • Dr. Martin Luther King Distinguished Scholarship and Service Award, 2010 (FSU).
  • COFRS Grant, 2004.
  • Sabbatical, Fall 2003.
  • University Teaching Award, 2002 - 2003.
  • W.E.B. DuBois Honor Society Distinguished Faculty Award, 2001.
  • Teaching Incentive Program Award, 1994-5.
  • University Teaching Award, 1994-5.
  • McKnight Junior Faculty Fellowship, 1989-90.
  • Gold Key Faculty Member Recognition. 1994.

Publications By This Author