Skip to main content
Skip to main menu Skip to spotlight region Skip to secondary region Skip to UGA region Skip to Tertiary region Skip to Quaternary region Skip to unit footer


New Faculty Profile: David Diamond

By Jessica Schumaker

Diamond HeadshotDr. Diamond is a professor in the UGA English department, where he teaches courses that reflect his research interests: the 18th century and Black literature. He earned an A.B. in English and Government & Legal Studies from Bowdoin College and his A.M. and Ph.D. in English Language and Literature from the University of Chicago. He previously taught at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs and Haverford College.

In Spring 2022, Dr. Diamond will teach ENGL 4470: 18th Century Literature and the Black Atlantic. Through this course, Dr. Diamond said he hopes “to unify the  main current of 18th century students with the political and aesthetic parameters of global Black studies” with the Black Atlantic as a space for this analysis.

Dr. Diamond’s passion for 18th century literature began with Guilliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift in his sophomore year of high school. “So I knew enough - that it could be weird, it could be funny, that it could be cruel in ways that as an adolescent I found appealing - and no longer do!” He laughs. After this initial encounter, he delved deeper and found he could connect “the weirdness, the hybridity, the fluidity” of the 18th century to other issues that had been relegated to separate fields.

“What drew me to the 18th century is that it felt like modernity, undercooked…there’s a lot of vehement argument of what it means to be a person, what sovereignty means, what are our natural rights, what is migration across geographical space.” It was these subtle transformations - the lack of ‘settling’ - that led Dr. Diamond into the 18th century.

Despite this interest, he does not shy away from the violence and oppression produced by colonial powers during that period. “I didn’t want my interest in the weirdness of 18th century literature to take me to become a celebration that doesn’t acknowledge a discussion of power and empire and violence,” he says.

To avoid such a celebration, he cites the works of Black abolitionist writers, such as Olaudah Equiano, Quobna Cugoano, Phillis Wheatly Peters, Charles Ignatius Sancho, and Mary Prince. These writers, he says, “have more radical imaginations and can speak from firsthand experience to the violence that was necessary for transformative historical change…and the ways writers in the tradition of Black anti-slavery intellectualism can point the way forward.”

Dr. Diamond makes it clear that he is not alone in this mission to unite the 18th century with the larger field of Black studies. He enjoys the collaborative nature of his field; the discussions he enlivens have been happening for years in fields of English and African American studies. By participating in these disciplines, he hopes to add to the conversation and introduce the interdisciplinary nature of the subjects to his students. Then, they too can see these conversations as “a vision of futurity that we may try to capture and consider as a way of being in the world.”


Jessica Schumaker is an English major at UGA and the social media intern for the English department.

Support English at UGA

We greatly appreciate your generosity. Your gift enables us to offer our students and faculty opportunities for research, travel, and any number of educational events that augment the classroom experience. Support the efforts of the Department of English by visiting our giving section. 

Give Now