Hollis Robbins


Dean Robbins is a noted scholar of nineteenth-century American and African American literature, film, and poetry. Her newest book, Forms of Contention: Influence and the African American Sonnet Tradition (University of Georgia Press, 2020), explores the interrelationship of influence, double consciousness, canon-formation, and poetic form. Dean Robbins has previously edited or co-edited five books, including the Penguin Portable Nineteenth Century African American Women Writers, co-edited with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., which was named one of NPR’s Best Books of 2017. She  is currently working on two books: a new edition of The Trials of Phillis Wheatley, also with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and a study of the poetry of Robert Hayden for Penguin.

Dr. Hollis Robbins has been since 2004 the Co-Director/Managing Editor of the Black Periodical Literature Project at Harvard University and has won or been involved with numerous Mellon and NEH Digital Humanities grants in support of Black Press research.

Dr. Robbins served as Dean of the School of Arts & Humanities at Sonoma State University, where she established a new major in Native American Studies and secured over $4 million in funding for programs supporting undergraduate academic success. Prior to her position at Sonoma State, Dean Robbins was chair of the Department of Humanities at the Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins University and from 2014-2017 Director of Hopkins’s Center for Africana Studies. She has been a fellow at the National Humanities Center (2017-2018) was the 2014 winner of the Johns Hopkins University Alumni Association Excellence in Teaching Award.

Dean Robbins holds a Ph.D. in English from Princeton University (2003); an M.A. in English from the University of Colorado, Boulder (1998); an M.P.P. from Harvard University (1990); and a B.A. from Johns Hopkins University (1983).