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TAFT Postdoctoral Fellows

Simone SavannahSimone Savannah, Ph.D. is an award-winning, Black feminist writer and performer. Her research offers a pathway within feminist literature and scholarship that builds upon and extends the quest for identity, survival, and autonomy. In her dissertation turned lecture, “Writing, Performing, and Working Out,” discussions of anger, the erotic, and the personal converge with her readings of essays by women writers such as Sylvia Plath, Adrienne Rich, and Carmen Gimenez-Smith, and black feminist texts by writers such as Audre Lorde, Ntozake Shange, Tracie Morris, Claudia Rankine, and Robin Coste Lewis.  

Her collection of poems Uses of My Body (2020) was selected by Jericho Brown as the winner of the 2019 Barrow Street Poetry Book Prize. Her chapbook, Like Kansas, was a finalist for the Atlas Review Chapbook Contest, and she was a finalist for the 2017 Rita Dove Award in Poetry. Simone’s work has been published in Apogee, The Fem, Powder Keg, GlitterMob, Shade Journal, BreakBeat Poets, and several other journals and anthologies. Her current project Homage to Hip Thrusts explores the body’s relationship to movement and describes her experience as a gym rat and group fitness instructor. Through poems and short fiction, she explores articulations of womanism through movement.

She has and continues to perform poetry for university departments, presses, and bookstores. You can find reviews of Simone’s work at the Poetry Society of America and at the Project on the History of Black Writing.

She earned her M.Ed and B.A. from Ohio University and she holds a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Kansas. As a first-generation student, she has worked for several TRIO programs, including Upward Bound and the McNair Scholars Program. Simone is currently a Charles Phelps Taft Post-Doctoral Fellow. Her areas of teaching include poetry and poetics, and Black feminist literature and criticism. In Spring 2022, she is teaching WGS 3161/AFST 3161/ENGL 3161: Black Women Writers.

She curates the Instagram page @i_beenawoman which features poems and passages by Black women writers. Outside of writing and teaching, Simone works as a group fitness instructor and personal trainer. She was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio.

For more about Dr. Savannah, please click here.

Anjuliet WoodruffeAnjuliet Woodruffe, Ph.D., researches and teaches on issues of identity, culture, and history, looking at the ways in which individuals negotiate, (re)construct, and (re)imagine racialized identities in situated contexts, using auto/ethnographic, interviewing, and narrative methodologies to help convey and explore the cultural narratives and embodied knowledge of women that belong to marginalized and underrepresented groups, allowing us to (re)imagine the epistemologies of immigrant lives. Future scholarship will serve as a means of radical (re)imagination of identity and identity negotiation.

Dr. Woodruffe’s publications include Conversations with My Son: A Poetic Autoethnography of Black Mothering Experiences in Cultural Studies--Critical Methodologies (2022), Surviving From the Margins: A Conversation about Identity with James Baldwin in International Review of Qualitative Research (2021), and the coauthored The Future of Autoethnography is Black in the Journal of Autoethnography (2020, with Durham, A., McFerguson, M., and Sanders, S.J.).