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Department of English
University of Mississippi

Patrick Alexander


Dr. Patrick Elliot Alexander is Associate Professor of English and African American Studies and cofounder and director of the University of Mississippi Prison-to-College Pipeline Program. Dr. Alexander holds a Ph.D. in English from Duke University. A specialist in African American literature, 19th-century American literature, and critical prison studies, Dr. Alexander published his first book, From Slave Ship to Supermax: Mass Incarceration, Prisoner Abuse, and the New Neo-Slave Novel, with Temple University Press (2018). Dr. Alexander is coeditor of Teaching Literature and Writing in Prison (Modern Language Association of America, 2023), and his articles on teaching African American literature in prison are published in Humanities, the Journal of African American History, south: a scholarly journal, and Reflections: A Journal of Writing, Service-Learning, and Community Literacy. He has also published several reviews, which appear in American Literature and Obsidian. In 2020, Dr. Alexander was the recipient of the University of Mississippi Humanities Teacher of the Year Award from the Mississippi Humanities Council. In 2021, Dr. Alexander was the recipient of the University of Mississippi Elsie M. Hood Outstanding Teacher Award, and in 2023, he was inducted in the L.C. Dorsey Research Honor Society for his scholarship on higher education in prison in the South.

Before joining the faculty at the University of Mississippi, Dr. Alexander co-founded and directed Stepping Stones, an award-winning academic enrichment program for imprisoned students based in North Carolina. Through Stepping Stones, he designed and taught five college preparatory seminars in African American literature for imprisoned men at Orange Correctional Center in Hillsborough, North Carolina. As a faculty member at the University of Mississippi, Dr. Alexander is co-founder and director of the Prison-to-College Pipeline Program (PTCPP). The PTCPP is a university-community engagement initiative that promotes higher education in prison in response to the ongoing need for increased access to educational opportunities in the state of Mississippi. The PTCPP, winner of the 2018 Humanities Educator Award from the Mississippi Humanities Council, currently offers on-site, humanities-based, for-credit college courses for imprisoned men at Parchman/Mississippi State Penitentiary and for imprisoned women at Central Mississippi Correctional Facility.



Ph.D., English, Duke University (2012)

B.A., English/Creative Writing, summa cum laude, Miami University (2006)


Teaching and Research Interests

African American Literature

19th Century American literature

Critical Prison Studies


Selected Publications

Teaching Literature and Writing in Prisons. Coedited with Sheila Smith McKoy. New York: Modern Language Association of America, 2023.

“Radical Togetherness: African-American Literature and Abolition Pedagogy at Parchman and Beyond.” Humanities 9.2 (June 2020): 49, 1-14.

From Slave Ship to Supermax: Mass Incarceration, Prisoner Abuse, and the New Neo-Slave Novel. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2018.

“The Prison-to-College Pipeline Program: An Ethical, Education-Based Response to Mass Incarceration in Mississippi.” Journal of African American History 103.4 (Fall 2018): 702-716. Co-authored with Otis W. Pickett.

 “Education as Liberation: African American Literature and Abolition Pedagogy in the Sunbelt Prison Classroom.” south: a scholarly journal 50.1 (Fall 2017): 9-21.

Review of Jay Garcia, Psychology Comes to Harlem: Rethinking the Race Question in Twentieth-Century America (Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 2012) and Eve Dunbar, Black Regions of the Imagination: African American Writers Between the Nation and the World (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2013). American Literature 87 (June 2015): 398-400.


 “‘To live and remain outside of the barb[ed] wire and fence’: A Prison Classroom, African American Literature, and the Pedagogy of Freedom.” Reflections: A Journal of Public Rhetoric, Civic Writing, and Service Learning 11.1 (2011): 88-108.

Review of Caleb Smith, Prison and the American Imagination (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009) and Regina Kunzel, Criminal Intimacy: Prison and the Uneven History of Modern American Sexuality (Chicago: University of Chicago, 2008). American Literature 83 (September 2011): 673-675.

Review of Jennifer Griffiths, Traumatic Possessions: The Body and Memory in African American Women’s Writing and Performance (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2009). Obsidian 11 (Fall 2010): 153-156.


201 Longstreet Hall