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SUNY Potsdam English Professor Derek Maus Receives Grant & Fellowship To Support New Book Project

June 11, 2018

SUNY Potsdam Professor of English and Communication Dr. Derek C. Maus recently received a competitive grant and a prestigious fellowship to support an in-progress book project analyzing African Canadian identity in fiction.

Maus is the recipient of a $5,000 American Council of Learned Societies project development grant to support his new book, which will be titled “The True (Black) North: Surveying the Contours of African Canadian Identity through Contemporary Fiction.”

He is one of only 15 scholars in the humanities and social sciences to receive one of the grants for the coming 2018-19 academic year. The ACLS grants are designed to support faculty at teaching-intensive colleges who have promising research agendas.

In addition, Maus has also been selected for an Eakin Visiting Fellowship in Canadian Studies, at the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada, at McGill University in Montreal. He will complete the Eakin Fellowship in the Spring 2019 semester, and will continue research for his project, while also teaching courses and delivering the Eakin Lecture during his stay.

“The primary intention of this research is to develop and to articulate a clearer understanding of the ways in which African American and African Canadian identities are represented in contemporary fiction, emphasizing not only the instances of overlap between the two, but also analyzing the areas in which the existing models of communal solidarity have fallen short of explaining the significant divergences between these two literary-cultural traditions,” Maus said.

Maus intends to examine in his book whether or not there is a comparable generational shift in both the aesthetic and philosophical concerns of recent African Canadian writers to that of African American writers.

Maus received his bachelor’s degree in history and English from the University of Arkansas, and went on to earn his master’s and Ph.D. in English from the University of North Carolina. Since joining SUNY Potsdam in 2001, Maus has taught more than 32 different courses, ranging from introductory-level composition and literature to graduate-level seminars. He has also furthered his scholarly work, with a number of publications, as well as conference presentations. Maus is also the recipient of a number of honors and awards, including the Fulbright Lecturing Award. He is the author of “Unvarnishing Reality: Subversive Russian and American Cold War Satire” and “Understanding Colson Whitehead,” and co-edited “Post-Soul Satire: Black Identity After Civil Rights,” along with his SUNY Potsdam colleague, Dr. James J. Donahue.

SUNY Potsdam’s Department of English and Communication challenges its students to complete a core of courses that explore the varied ways people speak, write and read. The department offers Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Arts programs in literature, writing, professional writing, creative writing, speech communication and English and communication. For more information, visit

Founded in 1816, The State University of New York at Potsdam is one of America’s first 50 colleges—and the oldest institution within SUNY. Now in its third century, SUNY Potsdam is distinguished by a legacy of pioneering programs and educational excellence. The College currently enrolls approximately 3,600 undergraduate and graduate students. Home to the world-renowned Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam is known for its challenging liberal arts and sciences core, distinction in teacher training and culture of creativity. To learn more, visit

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Alexandra Jacobs Wilke, College Communications (315) 267-2114

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