Dana Horton

  • Assistant Professor, English
Dr. Horton

Dr. Horton is an Assistant Professor of English at Mercy College. She received her Ph.D. in English at Northeastern University and her B.A. in English and African American Studies at Temple University. Her areas of specialization include Black Feminist Theory, African American Literature, Hip Hop Studies, Black Atlantic Studies, Postcolonial Literature, Multiethnic Literature, Contemporary American Literature, Slave Narratives, and Visual Rhetoric. 

Dr. Horton recently published Gender, Genre, and Race in Post-Neo-Slave Narratives (Rowman & Littlefield - Lexington Books 2022), which provides an innovative conceptual framework for describing representations of slavery in twenty-first century American cultural productions. It examines representations of black women slave-owners in post-neo-slave narratives to argue that they are portrayed as commodities who commodify enslaved people, a fluid and complex characterization that is a foundational aspect of postmodern identity and emphasizes how postmodern identity restructures the conception of slave-owners. She recently published a peer-reviewed journal article, ""You Will Sell the Negress!": Using the Post-Neo-Slave Narrative to Revise Representations of Women in Django Unchained and 12 Years a Slave," in Americana: The Journal of American Popular Culture (1900-Present)

Dr. Horton's current book project “Don't You Fuck with My Energy”: The Occult, Intersectional Spirituality, and Religious Appropriation in Hip Hop Culture analyzes how rappers utilize a diverse array of spiritual and religious symbols to construct their rap personas. She argues that rappers engage in sampling, a common hip hop practice, as a way to construct an inclusive identity that challenges patriarchal structures; ironically, by participating in religious appropriation, they reinforce the hierarchical structures that they attempted to thwart. A chapter from this book project is forthcoming in Global Hip Hop Studies (April 2023). 

At Mercy, Dr. Horton teaches undergraduate and graduate courses as well as advises Master's Theses. She teaches African American Literature, The Harlem Renaissance, Hip Hop Literature and Culture, Literature by Women, LGBTQ+: Experiences and Literature, The Black Atlantic: Literature and History, Contemporary Slave Narratives, Survey of American Literature II: 1865-Present, Working Women: 1865-Present, Introduction to English Studies, The Short Story, and Composition Courses. As a professor, Dr. Horton strongly advocates for using popular culture as a pedagogical tool that can help students understand the course material, recognize the connection between the course content and cultural events, and dismantle the boundaries between the classroom and the community. Dr. Horton believes in the power of effective written communication. Her goal is to teach her students how to become strong, perceptive writers and to help them realize that writing is fun. 

In her free time, Dr. Horton enjoys riding her bike, playing volleyball, watching documentaries, and collecting purple items.

Ph.D. in English, Northeastern University, 2017

B.A. in English and African American Studies, Temple University, 2011


Gender, Genre, and Race in Post-Neo-Slave Narratives (Rowman & Littlefield - Lexington Books 2022)


Peer Reviewed Journal Articles

““You Will Sell the Negress!”: Using the Post-Neo-Slave Narrative to Revise Representations of Women in Django Unchained and 12 Years a Slave.” Americana: The Journal of American Popular Culture. 17.2: 2018, http://www.americanpopularculture.com/journal/articles/fall_2018/horton.htm.


Book Reviews

“Review of In the Wake: On Blackness and Being by Christina Sharpe (Duke University Press).” Lateral: Journal of the Cultural Studies Association. 7.1: 2018,


The Dr. Fay T. and Dennis Greenwald Faculty Development Award (2019), $2,500

Institutional Resilience and Expanded Postsecondary Opportunity (IREPO) Grant Writing Fellow (2022-2023) $2.14 million (PI: Dean Peter West)

Faculty Senate Micro-Grant Recipient (4 times, various amounts) (2018-2022)

Faculty Travel Grant Recipient (6 times, various amounts) (2017-2022)