Cogut Institute for the Humanities

Devon Clifton

2023–24 Graduate Fellow, Ph.D. Candidate in English
Project “Psychoanalytics: Towards a Black Object Study”
Last updated June 21, 2023


Devon Clifton is a sixth-year doctoral candidate in the Department of English. Her dissertation, titled “Psychoanalytics: Towards a Black Object Study,” makes use of psychoanalytic object relations theory to examine both African American literature and literary criticism. Using the work of Hortense Spillers and D.W. Winnicott, Clifton reads canonical African American women’s literature as theorizing the ways that blackness materializes as an object of thought in the first place. “Psychoanalytics” explains how attending to this materialization is vital to upholding the intellectual and ethical objectives of black feminist scholarship since scholars necessarily orient towards their own “objects” of study. Clifton’s first article “Rededication: Hurston, Black Object Thinking, and ‘the black feminist critical enterprise’” was published in The Journal of American Culture. Her research has received funding from the Pembroke Center and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Clifton was also chosen as a 2022 national finalist for the WW Women’s Studies Fellowship.