Assistant Professor / Graduate Faculty
Ph.D. in African and African-American Studies, 2009, Harvard University
Office: English/Counseling Services Bldg. 118
Phone: (785) 532-3854
Field of interest:
Contemporary African American Literature, The African American Literary Tradition, Postmodern Literature, African American Popular Culture, 20th Century American Literature, Popular Fiction.
My research focuses on the politics of identity in twenty-first century African American cultural production. I am currently working on a manuscript entitled Black and More Than Black: Rearticulating Race in Twenty-first Century African American Literature. The book analyzes the meaning of race in African American literature of the twenty-first century through concepts such as post-racialism, post-blackness, and post-soul aesthetics. Considering the work of Colson Whitehead, Alice Randall, Toni Morrison, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Jesmyn Ward, I examine the push and pull within that literature between optimism over the gains of the Civil Rights and post-Civil Rights era and pessimism over the persistence of structural racism and discrimination. While there has been substantial scholarship assessing both the social and economic progress that has been made by African Americans and its limitations, my book’s unique focus on the “post” moment in twenty-first century African American literature allows me to address not just the issue of how a rhetoric of progress should be understood, but also its implications for revising and rearticulating racial identities in a new century. Black and More than Black thus engages a larger interdisciplinary conversation about race within academia and popular culture, ultimately mapping the topography of blackness in the twenty-first century. The book’s research has been supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and Kansas State University. My research has appeared in the edited collection Post-Soul Satire, and the journal Contemporary Literature. I received my Ph.D. in African and African American Studies from Harvard University in 2009.