Prudence Layne

Associate Professor of English
Alamance Building 302A
2338 Campus Box
Elon, NC 27244 (336) 278-5618

Professional Expertise

Black Studies, Diversity, Postcolonialism, Women's and Gender Studies and the Prison Industrial Complex

Brief Biography

Dr. Prudence Layne is associate professor of English at Elon University, where she has worked for the past ten years. Currently on sabbatical from her duties as Coordinator of African & African-American Studies, Dr. Layne is a proud two-time graduate of Howard University in Washington, DC, where she earned two Bachelor of Arts degrees in English and Political Science, with a minor in Spanish and a Masters degree in English. She earned her doctorate in English from the University of Miami in Florida, with a dissertation focused on Caribbean literature.

Dr. Layne is an engaging, award-winning and skilled instructor. She has developed twenty new classes in the past ten years, including some of the most popular courses in African, African-American, Caribbean and Postcolonial literatures,  and an interdisciplinary seminar called “Prison Nation: Deconstructing the Prison Industrial Complex.” She is a highly sought after mentor of student research, faculty professional development and workshop facilitator in diversity, international education, women’s and gender studies and race. In addition to Elon, she has taught in Africa, the Caribbean and the United Kingdom.



University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida - Ph.D. in English (December 2004); 
Howard University, Washington, DC - MA in English (December 1999);
Howard University, Washington, DC - BAs in English & Political Science (May 1996);

Employment History

Elon University, Elon, NC, 27244
Associate Professor, Department of English, 2005 – Present

Queen’s University, Bader International Studies Center, Herstmonceux Castle, East Sussex
Visiting Fellow, Summer 2010

Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, FL, 33314-7796
Associate Lecturer, Humanities Department, 2004 - 2005

Kaplan University, Boca Raton, FL, 33487
Assistant Professor, Composition Studies, 2005

University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL, 33124
Instructor and Teaching Assistant, Department of English, 1999 - 2004

Miami-Dade College, Miami, FL 33135
Instructor, School of Continuing Education, Summer 2003

Florida National College, Hialeah, FL 33012
Adjunct Professor, Humanities Division, Summer 2000

Howard University, Washington, DC, 20059
Teaching Assistant, Department of English, 1997 - 1999
English Instructor, Upward Bound Program, 1998 - 1999

Courses Taught

World Literature (“Nobel Ventures”);  (“The Empire Writes Back”);
The Faces & Phases of Postcolonial Shakespeare;
Introduction to Women’s Studies in the Humanities (“Ain’t I a Woman”);
English Senior Seminar: ("Literary Weapons of Activist Construction");
African-American Literature Since 1945 (“Booked!
Sentenced! Barred! African-American Narratives of Confinement”);
African-American Musical and Literary Traditions (Online Course);
frican-American Drama;
Caribbean Literature;
The African Experience in Literature;
“The Call of South Africa: Models and Movements of Protest, Images and Texts of Healing”(?Study Abroad to South Africa ;
Preparatory Seminars for Study Abroad in South Africa;
Prison Nation:  Deconstructing The Prison Industrial Complex (an advanced interdisciplinary seminar); 
Student Protest Movements (an advanced interdisciplinary seminar)
Transition Strategies: Preparing for Global Work and Service with Multicultural Communities (1 sh); Writing and Inquiry (a Composition Studies course)

Leadership Positions

Coordinator, African & African-American Studies at Elon (AAASE) (2007-Present);
Chair, Elon University Black History Month Steering Committee, 2011- Present
Chair, Study Abroad Committee (2010-2011)
Co-Chair, University-wide Committee on the Expanded Role of the Multicultural Center (2008 - 2009)



Major research interests include:
Black Studies: Black female resistance; protests models;
Criminal Justice Studies: The Prison Industrial Complex, Race and Gender in the PIC, Police militarization
Literary Studies:Confinement narratives,  Hybridity, Postcolnialism, Queer theory
International Education: The short-term study abroad experience, diversity in study abroad; reintegration strategies; effective marketing strategies in study abroadSoTL: The role of course format and duration on teaching and learning; Black entrepreneurship as resistance; global innovations in teaching and learning; diversity in teaching and learning.
Regional Interests: The Caribbean, Black America, South Africa
Women's and Gender Studies: Black Female resistance; Queer theory & sexualities

About my research: Like my teaching, the direction and scope of my research emerges from a deeply personal space, rooted in a sense of who I am as an African-Caribbean-American woman. My research looks directly at the productions of difference in the literatures of the African diaspora to devise new frameworks of analysis for liminality within the experiences of travel, displacement, and exile. I focus my research efforts along several threads: resistance strategies marginalized groups deploy to counter heterosexist, masculinist, and racist hegemonic discourses, and the ways in which race, class, gender, and sex are used to control the subjectivity and agency of “the Other” and to delineate those bodies as transgressive.  In this type of research, I develop or propose new ways of thinking about women’s writings, feminist pedagogy, and intersections of race, class, and gender. These are the research contributions that I believe have the greatest potential for impact in the field of English and the study of identity politics. 

My vision of research in an undergraduate department is one that ties my students directly with my research interests and allows them to develop the skills and patience necessary to become contributing members of academia and society. Research and writing, especially in the humanities, must be directed at solving real problems encountered by real people in real-world contexts. The following principles govern my research:

  1. Educating students is the foremost value to society provided by any institution of higher education and should be its primary mission. Therefore, teaching must always be the top priority. All other activities should complement and support this mission.
  2. Ideally, there should be correspondence between teaching, research, service, and other faculty activities such that they are all interrelated and integrated into one whole. In other words, the more directly research relates to the classroom, the more valuable it is, and vice versa.
  3. Research is of little value unless it somehow adds to the knowledge of society. Research must be disseminated to be useful. Therefore, an article in a widely-read practitioner journal may have as much benefit to society as an article in a "top-tier" academic journal that will be read and understood by only a handful of other professors in the world and no practitioners anywhere.
  4. The more rigorous the methodology used, the more narrow the research questions that can be addressed by a single study. Many important issues in literary studies emerge for which no long stream of incremental research exists in the literature. Many of these issues raise important research questions that can be best addressed, at least initially, through applied research methodologies.

Current Projects

Dr. Layne has three major book projects in progress, including Steel Ovaries: Caribbean Female Bodies as Sites of Material Production & Resistance.  Her other two book projects, Travel Short, Learn Long: Maximizing the Impact of the Short-Term Study Abroad Experience and Protest Art and Political Struggle: Profiles in Anti-Apartheid Courage and Entrepreneurship, are engendered by her work in South Africa. Each January, she leads thirty university students in a comparative exploration of the role of the journalist and the artist in the fight for civil rights and democracy in the United States and South Africa.  She is the co-editor of the recently published Global Innovation of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education: Transgressing Boundaries (Springer Press, 2015).

Grants Awarded

-. “Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle” NEH Grant, 2014.
- Faculty Mentor Grant Award– Elon’s Office of Undergraduate Research,
Grant-in-Aid, Elon’s Office of Leadership & Professional Development,  The Black Oaks Curriculum Diversity Expansion Workshop.” Phi Beta Kappa Fund for Excellence Grant, 2010-2011;
- Sustainable Collaborations & Partnerships to the Struggling Reader Dilemma.- ” Phi Beta Kappa Fund for Excellence Grant, 2010-2011;
- “The Global Links Literacy Initiative.” The Frueauff Foundation Community Partnership Initiative Grant (Elon University), 2007-2008


In Synopsis
Layne, Prudence and Peter Lake (eds.), Global Innovation of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education:
Transgressing Boundaries
. Switzerland Springer International Publishing, 2014.

Book Chapters, Journal Articles, Book Reviews and Essays
Layne, Prudence. “Transforming Higher Education Institutions” in Global Innovation of Teaching and
Learning in Higher Education: Transgressing Boundaries
. Prudence Layne and Peter Lake (eds.). Switzerland Springer International Publishing, 2014

Layne, Prudence. “Wye Diversity Matters.” 30th Anniversary Essay Collection. The Aspen Institute
Seminars. February 2014.

Book Review. Paule Marhsall’s Triangular Road. Caribbean Studies Journal 38:1 (January-June 2010), p. 188-190.

Layne, Prudence. “Reincarnating Legba: Caribbean Writers at the Crossroads.” Postcolonial Ghosts,
Mélanie Joseph-Vilain and Judith Misrahi-Barak, eds., in Les Carnets du Cerpac, n° 8. Montpellier: Presses universitaires de la Méditerranée, 2009. p. 345-369.

Layne, Prudence and Lester Goran. "Haiti: History, Voice, Empowerment: An Interview with Edwidge
Danticat.” Sargasso (Four Writers: Women Writing the Caribbean) 2004-05, II: University of Puerto Rico. p. 3-18. (

Newspaper Articles
-----. Eric Holder: Unpopular for all the right reasons
The following column appeared recently in the Roanoke (Va.) Times, the Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer, the Burlington (N.C.) Times-News and the Henderson Dispatch

-----. Does nudity upset you? Cover your eyes and don’t subscribe
The following column appeared recently in the (Burlington, N.C.) Times-News and the (Barbados) Nation Newspaper.

-----. “#ASingleHashtagNeverCreatedLastingChange.” July 24, 2014,
The following column appeared recently in the Charlotte Observer, the Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch, the Baltimore Sun, the (Annapolis, Md.) Capital, the (Greensboro, N.C.) News & Record, the (Burlington, N.C.) Times-News, the Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer, the Savannah (Ga.) Morning News and the Athens (Ga.) Banner-Herald via the Elon University Writers Syndicate. The column in the Charlotte Observer led to an interview about hashtag activism with station WCCB-TV in Charlotte

-----. As One Angel Ascends, Millions More Remain Caged” published in the (Burlington, N.C.) Times- News, the Macon (Ga.) Telegraph and the Roanoke (Va.) Times July 2014.

-----. “Dreaming of Rainbows, but Cashing Bad Checks” published in the (Norfolk, Va.) Virginian-Pilot, the


Workshop Leader:” Whose Teaching? Whose Learning? Exploring the Praxis of Teacher-Learner
Collaborations in Research.” Teaching Learning Technologies Conference, Elon University, August 14th, 2014.

Workshop Leader: “Whose Teaching? Whose Learning? An Exploration of Student-Teacher
Collaborative Research Partnerships.” The Mico University College, Kingston, Jamaica. April 9th, 2014.

Workshop Leader. “Whose Intercultural Learning? Turning Study Abroad into Research and Scholarship
Opportunities for Faculty, Staff & Students.” Workshop on Intercultural Skills Enhancement (WISE), Sixth Annual Workshop, Second Annual Conference. Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, February 7, 2014.

Workshop Leader. “One Market, Different Demographics, Competing Interests: Innovative Recruitment
Strategies for Short-Term Study Abroad Programs.” BUTEX Symposium, the University of York, July 4th, 2013.

Workshop Leader. “How to Enter Culture to Gain Intercultural Competence.” Workshop on
Intercultural Skills Enhancement (WISE), Fifth Annual Workshop, First Annual Conference
Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, February 1-2, 2013.

Workshop Leader. “Travelling with Excess Baggage: Shedding the Burdens of Privilege in
International Service-Learning Partnerships.” Pedagogy of Privilege: Transformational Learning, Education, Practice. & Research Conference, University of Denver, CO, August 15th- 16th, 2011.

Workshop Convener & Leader. “Travelling with Excess Baggage: Shedding the Burdens of Privilege in
International Service-Learning Partnerships.” PACE (Pathways to Civic Engagement) Conference, Elon, NC, February 9th, 2011.

Participant: Administrative Workshop sponsored by the National Council for Black Studies and the Ford
Foundation. Georgia State University, Atlanta Hilton, July 14th-17th, 2010. (One of ten directors selected in a highly competitive peer-review process.)

Roundtable Presenter. “The Beat of a New Drum: Networking, Collaborating, & Building
Sustainable Partnerships through Black Studies Programs.” National Council for Black Studies (NCBS) Conference, Cincinnati, OH, March 16th-19th, 2011.

Invited Panelist: “South Africa: Thirteen Years After Apartheid.” Event sponsored by the Office of
International Affairs and the Africana Studies Program, North Carolina State University. September, 25th, 2007.

Panelist: “The New ‘F’ Word: Celebrating Women, Feminism and Equality.” Elon University, NC, April
10th, 2007.

Panelist: “How Far Have We Come: Race Relations & Integration at Elon University.” Zeta Phi Beta
Sorority Incorporated, November 15th, 2006.

Guest Lecturer: “The Lessons the Empire Never Told: Mary Jane Grant Seacole (1805-1881), an Unlikely
Crimean War Hero,” Elon University, November 1st, 2006.

Moderator: “Disciplinary Perspectives of Gendered Violence.” Women’s and Gender Studies Panel, Elon
University, April 11th, 2006.

Invited Panelist, "A Discussion of Oprah Winfrey's Their Eyes Were Watching God." University of Miami,

Invited Panelist, Miami International Film Festival, "A Celebration of Haitian Art & Culture," 2004

Panel Chair, "Using Technology as a Research Tool." XXII Annual West Indian Literature Conference,
March 20th, 2003

Presenter: “Transforming Higher Education: Restructuring Space and Minds.” The Mico University
College Annual Research Day, Kingston, Jamaica. April 8th, 2014.

Presenter: “Neither Rich nor Free, but We Are Brave: Female Social Entrepreneurship in Post-Apartheid
South Africa” National Council for Black Studies Conference. University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL March 5th – 7th, 2014.

Presenter: “From Immersive and Service Learning to SoTL: A Look at the 2010 Lilly Greensboro Poster
Awards” FridayLive! Teaching Learning and Technology Group Webinar June 10th, 2010

Presenter: “Immersion Africa: Student Innovations & Approaches to Complex Global Problems.” Lilly
South Conference on Evidence-Based Learning and Teaching, University of North Carolina-
Greensboro, February 5th-7th, 2010. (Winners of the Best Poster Presentation 2010)

Presenter: “Focusing A-Broad Experience: Short-Term Study Abroad Programs and the General
Education Curriculum.” INTER 2009 Conference on International Undergraduate Education.
Queens University (Canada) Herstmonceux Castle, United Kingdom. July 27th-29th, 2009.

Presenter: “International Service-Learning: Ethics in Cross-Cultural Partnerships.” North Carolina
Campus Compact Conference, Elon University, February 13th, 2008.

Presenter: “The Global Links Library and Literacy Initiative: Using Technology and International
Service-Learning to Improve Cross-Cultural Knowledge and Understanding among South African and American Students.” Lilly South Conference on College and University Teaching-Learning by Design, University of North Carolina-Greensboro, February 8th-10th, 2008. (Winner of Best Poster Presentation)

Presenter: “Reincarnations of Legba in Contemporary Caribbean Fiction.” “Postcolonial Ghosts”
Conference sponsored by CERPAC (Centre for Commonwealth Studies or Centre d'Études et
de Recherches sur les Pays du Commonwealth). Université Paul Valéry (Montpellier III), France. November 8th – 10th, 2007.

Presenter: “From Martin’s ‘Mountaintop’ to Mandela’s ‘Tabletop’, Will We Ever Realize the Dream?”
America’s 400th Anniversary: Voices from Within the Veil, Norfolk State University, Norfolk, VA, February 22-23rd, 2007.

Presenter: “A People in Drag, A Nation Unsexed: The Sexual Politics of Dress in Contemporary
Caribbean Fiction.” An International Transdisciplinary Conference, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia, May 26- 277th, 2007.

Presenter: "A Nation's Encounter of the Close/Clothes Design: Michelle Cliff's No Telephone to Heaven
and Patricia Powell's The Pagoda.” 9th International Conference of the ACWWS, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, April 26-30, 2004.

Presenter: "Performances of Desire in Michelle Cliff's No Telephone to Heaven and Patricia Powell's The
Pagoda." XXI Annual West Indian Literature Conference, The University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, Barbados. March 25-27, 2002.

Presenter: "Dismembered Breasts, (Re)membered History." Swinging Her Breasts at History. Caribbean
Women Writers Alliance and Goldsmith College, University of London, England, April 6-7, 2001.

Presenter: "Creating Magic with Many Languages: Speaking the Language of Diversity. Create the
Magic." NCTE Conference, Birmingham Alabama, March 29-31, 2001

Presenter: "Towards an Erotics of Hybridity: Sexual/Racial Bodies on the Verge of a Nation."
XX Annual West Indian Literature Conference, The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus, Trinidad. March 1-3, 2001.

Presenter: "The Psychological Reformulation of the Female Subject in Edwidge Danticat's The Farming of
Bones." XIX Annual West Indian Literature Conference, The University of Guyana, Georgetown, Guyana. March 8-11, 2000.

Invited Speaker: "Hashtag Activism: IIts Limitations and Evolving Roles in a Democracy. University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa. March 18, 2015.

Invited Speaker - "So I'm a Computer Scientist, Now What? " Sheffield Hallam University, United Kingdom. February 18, 2015.

Guest Lecturer: Global Pod Lecture on Colonialism and Imperialism. Elon University, April 14th, 2008

Keynote Speaker: “Diversity in Action at Elon.” The Organizational Awards and Inaugural Ceremony,
Elon University, NC, March 29th, 2007.

Commencement Speaker, University of Miami Convocation Center, 2004

Professional Activities

National Council of Black Studies, 2010 " Present; Caribbean American Medical and Scientific Association, 2006 - Present; Sigma Tau Delta, 2005-Present; Association of Caribbean Women Writers and Scholars, 2003 - Present;  CaribbeanStudies Association, 2003 - Present;  Modern Language Association, 1999 - Present; Phi Beta Kappa, 1996 - Present;

Professional Affiliations
Association of Caribbean Women Writers and Scholars
Caribbean American Medical and Scientific Association
Caribbean Studies Association
International Reading Association

Modern Language Association
National Council of Black Studies
Phi Beta Kappa
Sigma Tau Delta, 

Service Activities

Charter Member, Presidential Diversity Council, 2010-201
Charter Member, Arts and Humanities Division Curriculum Committee, 2010-2011
Member, Diversity Faculty Fellow Search Committee, 2010
Faculty Advisor, G.E.M.S. Multicultural Sorority, 2009-10
International Studies Representative. Curriculum Committee, Spring 2009
Member, Provost Search Committee, Fall 2008
Member, Study Abroad Committee, 2008-2011(Chair, 2010-2011)
Co-Chair, University-wide Committee on the Expanded Role of the Multicultural Center, 2008 - 2009
Chair, Search Committee, Lecturer in Literature & Composition, Department of English, 2007-2008
Chair, English Department’s Library Task Force, 2007
Coordinator, Sigma Tau Delta Induction Ceremony and Lecture, 2006
Coordinator, African & African-American Studies, 2006-201
Chair, African & African-American Studies Advisory Committee, 2006 - 2014
Member, Disabilities Committee, 2006-2008
Member, International Studies Advisory Committee, 2005-2014
Member, Phi Beta Kappa Advisory Committee, Elon University, 2005-Present
Member, Phi Beta Kappa Academic Climate Subcommittee, Elon University, 2005-2006
Member, Phi Beta Kappa Events Planning Subcommittee, Elon University, 2006-Present
Member, The Fund for Excellence in the Arts & Sciences Committee, 2005-Present
Member, Phillips-Perry Black Excellence Awards Planning Committee, 2005-2006.
Member, Women’s & Gender Studies Film Series Subcommittee, 2005 - 2008
Member, Women & Gender Studies Committee, 2005 - 2012
Member, The Perito Award Selection Committee, 2005 - 2012

Personal Information

Dr. Layne was born in Barbados and grew up between her island home in the Caribbean and New York. She has also lived in the Faroe Islands and Denmark. An avid traveler and tennis fan, she is the only child of Mrs. Mavis Layne.


Technical Proficiencies: Mircrosoft office, social media, blogs
Language Skills: Spanish and Faroese


K. Wilhelmina Boyd Outstanding Service to Students Award, 2013.
Center for Teaching and Learning Scholar, 2013-14.
Elon University Outstanding Service Leadership Award, 2008
Best Overall Poster Presentation, Lilly South Conference, 2008 & 2010.
Elon University Academic Service Learning Faculty Scholar, 2006-2007
Edward T. Foote II Graduate Award for Excellence in Student Leadership, 2004
Who's Who Among Outstanding Students in American Colleges and Universities, 2003 &1996
Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award, University of Miami, 2001-2002
Elected Member, Graduate Student English Council 1999-2001
Ivan Earle Taylor Scholar, 1998
Phi Beta Kappa, Gamma Chapter, 1996
President, Howard University International Students Association, 1995-1996
President, Howard University Caribbean Students Association, 1994 - 1995
Protégé, Dwight D. Eisenhower LEAD Program, 1994