Deborah G. Plant is an English literature and Africana Studies scholar and literary critic whose special interest is the life and works of Zora Neale Hurston.
Her books on Hurston include Every Tub Must Sit On Its Own Bottom: The Philosophy and Politics of Zora Neale Hurston (Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 1995), a reevaluation of Hurston’s philosophical bases for individualism and self-reliance rooted in Spinoza, Nietzsche, her mother’s practicality, and her father’s Baptist tenets; The Inside Light: New Critical Essays on Zora Neale Hurston, editor (Westport: Praeger, 2010), 20 essays on recent findings and issues in Hurston studies; and Zora Neale Hurston: A Biography of the Spirit (Westport: Praeger, 2007), an exploration of Hurston’s spirituality as reflected in her writings, folkloric research and publications, life experiences, societal concerns and struggles, her political activity, and even the nature of her final years and death. Plant's forthcoming book, Alice Walker: A Woman for Our Times (Westport: Praeger-ABC CLIO, Summer 2017 projected publication), is an exploration of the philosophical thought that informs Alice Walker’s life, work, and activism.
Plant has been the keynote speaker for National Endowment for the Arts Big Read programs on Their Eyes Were Watching God in Brunswick, Georgia; Decatur, Georgia; and Spelman College, Atlanta, Georgia. She has served as a consultant, resource, and speaker at Fort Pierce’s ZoraFest over several years.
She was instrumental in founding the USF Department of Africana Studies. She chaired the department for five years, and was Associate Professor of Africana Studies there until being appointed Associate Professor of English in 2014. In 2015, Plant became an Independent Scholar, continuing with her scholarship and writing.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from Southern University (Baton Rouge), a Master’s degree in French from Atlanta University, and Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in English from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Plant currently resides in Tampa, Florida, and continues her research and writing as an Indpendent Scholar.