Soror Spotlight

Soror Venetria Patton  


I am Head of the School of Interdisciplinary Studies and Professor of English and African American Studies at Purdue University. From 2003-2015, I served as Director of African American Studies and Research Center at Purdue.  I earned my B.A. in English from the University of La Verne and my M.A. and Ph.D. in English from the University of California-Riverside.


My teaching and research focus is on African American and Diasporic Women’s Literature. I am an award-winning teacher, having won college and university teaching awards from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Purdue University. I am the author of Women in Chains: The Legacy of Slavery in Black Women’s Fiction (SUNY, 2000), The Grasp That Reaches Beyond the Grave: the Ancestral Call in Black Women’s Texts (SUNY, 2013), the Co-editor of Double-Take: A Revisionist Harlem Renaissance Anthology (Rutgers, 2001) and editor of two editions of Teaching American Literature: Background Readings (Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2006, 2014).


My essays have appeared in Black Studies and Women’s Studies journals as well as the essay collections, Postcolonial Perspectives on Women Writers From Africa, the Caribbean, and the US (Africa World Press, 2003), White Scholars/African American Texts (Rutgers UP, 2005), and Imagining the Black Female Body: Reconciling Image in Print and Visual Culture (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010).  I am also the editor of the fall 2011 issue of Black Women, Gender, and Families and co-editor of the spring 2004 issue of The Black Scholar.  I am a former Chair of the Purdue Black Caucus of Faculty and Staff and a former board member of the Hanna Community Center and the National Council for Black Studies. 


I was drawn to Alpha Kappa Alpha because of its mission: “Service to All Mankind.”  I was raised with the value of community service and giving back to one’s community and see myself as a servant leader.  In the Greater Lafayette community, the Chi Phi Omega chapter was quite active, so I wanted to be a part of the chapter so I could extend my reach into the community.  I particularly appreciate the well-rounded platform of Alpha Kappa Alpha, which addresses education, healthcare and wellness, finances, culture, and international concerns.


I particularly enjoy the sisterhood of Alpha Kappa Alpha, which brings together diverse women with a shared passion.  The ladies in Chi Phi Omega are all different, but we come together to do important work in the community.  For example, most of us come to Greater Lafayette by way of a variety of paths.  My own path began oversees as I was born in Copenhagen, Denmark and spent my early years in Belgium before moving to the states as my father was serving in the Navy.