UW English Professor Publishes Autoethnography

head photo of a woman
Tracey Owens Patton

University of Wyoming English Professor Tracey Owens Patton has published a new book titled “A Nation’s Undesirables: Mixed-Race Children and Whiteness in the Post-Nazi Era” with The Ohio State University Press.

Her book is currently on presale and will be on shelves Monday, April 15.

While blending family history and scholarship, Owens Patton’s new book synthesizes work in rhetorical postmemory studies, critical adoption studies, Afrofuturism and more to tell the story of her mother and aunt, Lore and Lilli.

Two of thousands of children born to white German women and Black American men after World War II, the twins moved to the U.S. at age 7. At age 10, their mother renounced her parental rights and put them into the adoption system. They were adopted at nearly 12 years old and did not see her again for 52 years.

Combining family interviews, historical artifacts and autoethnographic reflection, Owens Patton composes a new narrative of women and Black German children in the postwar era.

Owens Patton is a professor of rhetoric, and critical cultural and media studies in the Department of English and a faculty member in the UW School of Culture, Gender and Social Justice.

She joined the Department of English in 2022 after being in the Department of Communication and Journalism from 2003-2022. She also served as director of UW’s African American and Diaspora Studies Program from 2009-2017.

Owens Patton’s area of specialization is critical cultural communication, rhetorical studies and transnational studies.

She is the co-author of “Gender, Whiteness, and Power in Rodeo: Breaking Away from the Ties of Sexism and Racism.”

She has presented her research at nearly 80 different academic conferences, and her work has appeared in numerous books, journals and in the media. Owens Patton teaches courses involving critical theory, critical media, cultural studies, womanist theory and rhetorical theory.

To learn more about her book, email Owens Patton at topatton@uwyo.edu.

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