Valerie Babb was Franklin Professor of English and Director of the Institute for African American Studies at the University of Georgia before retiring and taking a position at Emory University as Andrew Mellon Professor of Humanities in the Departments of English and African American Studies.
Her fields of expertise include African American literature and culture, transatlantic studies, and constructions of race and gender. Among her publications are Whiteness Visible: The Meaning of Whiteness in American Literature and Culture, Black Georgetown Remembered,a book and a video described as "the history behind the Oprah Book Club selection River, Cross My Heart," and Ernest Gaines. She edited The Langston Hughes Review from 2000-2010. She has been a Scholar-in-Residence at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and is the recipient of a W. M. Keck Foundation Fellowship in American Studies. She has lectured extensively in the United States and abroad and presented a Distinguished W. E. B. Du Bois Lecture at Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany. Her most recent publication is A History of the African American Novel published by Cambridge University Press.