Dr. Heather Hathaway

Heather Hathaway
Dr. Heather HathawayMarquette University

Marquette Hall, 238

MilwaukeeWI53201United States of America
(414) 288-3478

Professor of English and Africana Studies

I am broadly trained in American Studies and I focus on African American, Japanese American and Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies. I have long been interested in historical definitions of “American” identity, both popular and scholarly, and in who is empowered to define the self and others. My research focuses on causes, patterns, and consequences of discrimination and marginalization in American history, literature and culture.

My early work focused on Black immigrants to the United States. In my first book, Caribbean Waves: Relocating Claude McKay and Paule Marshall (1999), I challenged the historical notion of "race" as a Black/white binary that collapsed national, ethnic, and regional differences within Black America roughly between 1900 and 1980. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, I examined this issue through the lives and writings of Jamaican immigrant and poet, Claude McKay (1889-1948) and second-generation Barbadian immigrant, Paule Marshall (1929-2019).

My most recent book, That Damned Fence: The Literature of the Japanese American Prison Camps (Oxford, April 2022), is an act of literary recovery that examines how incarcerated Japanese Americans used creative writing, published in camp literary magazines, as a tool of resilience and resistance. I rely on the words of the incarcerated themselves, set within the histories of each camp, to illuminate the distinctiveness of each camp culture and to work toward dismantling a falsely monolithic concept of “the camps” as a uniform experience. By studying the literature produced by writers during the incarceration, I also fill a gap in Japanese American literary history prior to and following World War II.

My current book project extends the ideas developed in That Damned Fence as it studies
contemporary Sansei and Yonsei (3rd and 4th generation Japanese Americans) authors’ fictional recreations of the incarceration. For a number of reasons, Japanese Americans were reluctant to discuss the incarceration after it ended. In addition, the actual prison sites were wiped from the landscape and the experience was effectively erased, until the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, from histories of the nation and from educational curricula in the United States. By considering 21st century literary works depicting the incarceration by writers such as Julie Otsuka, David Mura, Perry Miyake and Rahna Reiko Rizzuto, among others, this books explores the legacy of the incarceration for current and future descendants of those who were incarcerated.

Abbreviated CV (experience, scholarship and awards only)

Additional Information

Office Hours

Spring 2024

  • Fri 1:00-4:00 (virtual)

Teaching Schedule

Spring 2024

  • 4631/101 MW 2:00-3:15 Lalumiere Hall 192
    • Toni Morrison
  • 4631/102 MW 3:30-4:45 Lalumiere Hall 192
    • Toni Morrison

Faculty & Staff Directory


Department of English
Marquette Hall, 115
1217 W. Wisconsin Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53233
(414) 288-7179

Contact Us


Facebook Twitter Instagram


Report an accessibility problem

To report another problem, please contact wendy.walsh@marquette.edu.