Robert Patterson headshot
Robert Patterson, Ph.D.

Dr. Robert J. Patterson is a professor of African American Studies and served as the inaugural chair of the Department of African American Studies at Georgetown University (2016-2019). He is the author of Destructive Desires: Rhythm and Blues Culture and the Politics of Racial Equality as well as Exodus Politics: Civil Rights and Leadership in African American Literature and Culture, the co-editor of The Psychic Hold of Slavery: Legacies in American Expressive Culture and editor of the award-winning Black Cultural Production After Civil Rights (University of Illinois Press, 2019). Currently, he is working on two books.  One is titled Black Equity, Black Equality: Reparation and Black Communities and the other one is African American Slave Narratives: A Very Short Introduction.

Dr. Patterson also has published articles that have appeared in South Atlantic Quarterly, Black Camera: An International Film Journal, Religion and Literature, The Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, The Cambridge Companion to African American Women’s Writing, The Cambridge Companion to Civil Rights Literature, and the Journal of Popular Music Studies. 

Dr. Patterson has worked with governmental agencies, school systems, and other organizations to develop solutions that increase diversity, cultivate inclusion, and provide equity of access and outcomes.  He currently serves as the Co-Chair of the College Board’s Development Committee for its pilot course in African American Studies. He has also appeared on MSNBC, Fox Soul, CNN, and the British Broadcasting Channel, as well as additional media platforms, to discuss his expertise in slavery’s legacies, reparations, and racial equity more broadly.

Dr. Patterson has collaborated with the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving to endow the Robert J. Patterson Scholarship Fund, which supports residents of Hartford, CT, who intend to pursue an undergraduate degree in African American Studies, social justice, the arts, or the humanities.