Dr. Nghana Lewis

Nghana2Dr. Nghana Lewis is is a proud native of Louisiana, having grown up in Lafayette, where she attended and graduated from St. Thomas More High School.  She earned a BA in English from Tulane University; a PhD in English from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; and a JD in Civil Law from Loyola University.  She currently holds two endowed professorships at Tulane: the Louise and Leonard Riggio Professorship in Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship and the Suzanne and Stephen Weiss Presidential Fellowship.  She also holds a jointly appointed associate professorship in English and African & African Diaspora Studies at Tulane.  In addition to this appointment
Dr. Lewis serves as the Interim Director of Tulane’s Program for Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship; teaches educational policy in the Department of Psychology; and holds an affiliate appointment with Tulane’s School of Law.

About the Work

Dr. Lewis’s research and teaching engage questions of power in four main areas: American literary & cultural studies, gender relations, HIV/AIDS, and K12 educational policy.  She has authored a book and numerous journal articles on southern literature and southern culture. And in her scholarship in the area of southern culture, a particular interest has been the work of Louisiana literary master Ernest Gaines, author of A Lesson Before Dying, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, and six other critically acclaimed novels. One of two current book projects that Dr. Lewis is completing, Before & After Katrina: Black Education in New Orleans, examines frameworks that have historically given rise to inequities in K12 educational opportunities and attainment for black children and how those frameworks operate in current political debates about school reform and student achievement in New Orleans.  Like A Lesson Before Dying, the monograph sheds light on the important, yet under-examined, nexus among Southern and Louisiana social and cultural mores, educational opportunities, criminal justice, and racial oppression. Dr. Lewis will appear with Ernest Gaines during Words & Music, 2012 on Sunday, December 2 to discuss: Great Literature as a Force for Social and Personal Soul Searching, Spiritual Reckoning. The discussion is a part of the Faulkner Society’s
2012 A Lesson Before Dying BIG READ. For more information on BIG READ, Click Here!

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