Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
Department of English, Clemson University
Website URL
American Literary History, North American Slave Narratives, Freedom Narratives, Dialect, South Carolina History, Charleston, John Andrew Jackson, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Underground Railroad, Maroons, Abolitionism, Samuel Williams, James Matthews, 19th century black autobiographies, Fugitives from Slavery in New Brunswick Canada, Reconstruction, Memoirs, 19th Century Life writing, American Literary Realism, Authorship, African American Intellectual History, Charles W. Chesnutt, William Grimes, Samuel Aleckson (Williams), Slavery Studies, Representations of Slavery in Literature, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Dred, History of copyright, Antebellum United States, Black Experiences during the Civil War, Charleston SC, Fugitive Slaves in 19th century New England
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Personal Info

About Me

I am a Professor of English and the Chair of the Department of English at Clemson University. I am an authority on North American slave narratives or freedom narratives and the life writings of formerly enslaved people. My expertise is particularly focussed on the authorship of such narratives and the ways in which writers represent and imagine their experiences in bondage. Uncovering the hidden identities and stories behind 19th century texts is my specialty. I’m currently working on a biography of John Andrew Jackson, an agitator and abolitionist who escaped from a plantation labor camp in South Carolina and hid with Harriet Beecher Stowe.

I teach 19th century American literature and culture and while I work in historical periods and with historical analysis, I am a proud scholar of literary forms and expression.

Recent Publications

Selected Professional Works

Books (Published)

Susanna Ashton & William Hardwig, eds. Approaches to Teaching Charles W. Chesnutt. (New York, NY: Modern Language Association, 2017)
  – Winner of the Sylvia Lyons Award from the Charles W. Chesnutt Association (2018)

Rhondda R. Thomas & Susanna Ashton, eds. The South Carolina Roots of African American Thought. A Reader. (Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 2014).

“I Belong to South Carolina.” South Carolina Slave Narratives. University of South Carolina Press, 2010.

-A Choice magazine Outstanding Academic Title by the American Library Association for 2010

Collaborators in Literary America 1870-1920. Palgrave MacMillan Press, 2003.

An edited and annotated edition of Moondyne, by John Boyle O’Reilly. University College Cork – electronic press (CELT Project).

These “Colored” United States: African American Essays from the 1920s, Co-Edited with Tom Lutz – (Rutgers UP, 1996).

Books (In Production or Under Contract)

’A Plausible Man’: The life of John Andrew Jackson – in progress

Selected Journal Articles & Book Chapters (Published)

“The Fugitive Slave Act and the United States of Slavery” Book chapter in press for African American Literature in Transition, Volume 3 1830-1850. Series General Editor: Joycelyn Moody (forthcoming–Cambridge UP, 2018).

“Serendipitous Juxtapositions” American Periodicals 25.1 (April 2015)

“Re-Collecting Jim. Discovering a coda, a name, and a slave narrative’s continuing truth.” The Interactive Journal of Early American Life. 15.1 (December 2014)

“’The Weight of that Crush.’ Jacob Stroyer and the Battle for Fort Sumter” The South Carolina Review. 46.2 (Spring 2014). 135-139.

2013 With Jonathan Hepworth, “Jackson Unchained: Reclaiming A Fugitive Landscape.” The Appendix. A New Journal of Narrative and Experimental History. October 2013

2013, “The Genuine Article” John Andrew Jackson and Harriet Beecher Stowe – Common-place. The Interactive Journal of Early American Life. Vol 13. Issue 4 (Summer 2013) See

“Slavery Imprinted- The Life and Narrative of William Grimes” an essay in the peer-reviewed collection on early African American print culture edited by Lara Cohen and Jordan Stein. (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012) This collection is the winner of an “Outstanding Academic Title” from the American Library Association’s Choice Magazine for 2012.

2012, “Recreating a Tour, Recreating a Sense of Scholarly engagement. –  MMLA Journal 45.1 (Spring 2012), 17-25.

2010, “Why Should a Library Invest in You? Short-Term Library Grants, an analysis.” ADE Bulletin 115 (Association of Departments of English) (Spring/Summer 2011). (SAR 3.5:1)

2007, “Entitles: Booker T. Washington and the Signs of Play” – The Southern Literary Journal 39, 2 (Spring 2007.): 1-23.  (SAR 10:1)

2006, “Don’t You Mean ‘Slaves’ Not ‘Servants’?”  – Literary and Institutional Texts for an Interdisciplinary Classroom” College English, 69, 2 (November 2006): 156-172.  (SAR 26:1)

2006, “‘In a Bibleistic Way’ Approaches to Teaching Nineteenth-Century American Poetry through Book and Periodical History” in Teaching Bibliography, Textual Criticism, and Book History Edited by Ann R. Hawkins. London: Pickering and Chatto, 2006.

2003, “A Medium of Corruption: Stephen Burroughs and the founding of the Bridgehampton Library (1791)” Libraries and Culture38, 2 (Spring): 93-120. (SAR 2.5:1).

2002, “O’Reilly and the Irish-American Novel,” History Ireland 10.1 (Spring): 38-42.

2002, “W. E. B. Du Bois’ Horizon: Documenting Movements of the Color Line,” MELUS (Multi-Ethnic Literatures of the United States), 26.4 (Winter): 3-23. (SAR 8:1).

2001, “Veribly a Purple Cow: The Whole Family and a Collaborative Search for Coherence,” Studies in the Novel, 33.1 (Spring): 51-79. (SAR 16:1).

2000, “Authorial Affiliations, Brander Matthews in Partnership,” Symploke: A Journal of Comparative Theory and Literature, 7.1-2: 165-18. (SAR 6:1)

1997, “Compound Walls: Transcultural Discourse in Eva Jane Price’s Letters from a Chinese Mission, 1880-1900, ” Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies, 17.3: 80-94. (SAR 8:1).

1996, “Who Brings Home the Bacon? Shakespeare and Turn-of-the-Century American Authorship” American Periodicals 6:1-28. (SAR 2:1).

1995, “‘Fetching the Jingle Along’ – Mark Twain’s Slovenly Peter,” The Children’s Literature Association Quarterly, 20.1 (Spring): 36-41. Co-authored with Amy Jean Petersen. (SAR 3:1).

1993, “‘Beginning Again, Regularly’: Victorian Serials,” The 19th Century: The Journal of the Victorian Society in America, 12.2.

Media Coverage
Country Focus
United States
Expertise by Geography
United States
Expertise by Chronology
18th century, 19th century, 20th century
Expertise by Topic
American Civil War, Book History, Emancipation, Libraries & Archives, Literary History, Local & Regional, Pedagogy, Public History, Race, Slavery