Dr. Emanuela Kucik
Assistant Professor, English and Africana Studies
I am currently serving as the interim Co-Director of the Africana Studies Program, and I am affiliated with the Jewish Studies Program and the Women's and Gender Studies Program.
I teach interdisciplinary courses that examine the intersections of race, human rights violations and genocide through the study of 20th century and contemporary literature(s). In courses such as Genocide and Blackness, Holocaust Literature, Global Black Literature and Literature of Genocide, I guide students toward expanded understandings of concepts we think we know, including genocide, blackness and literature. I use these innovative definitions to help students understand how marginalized populations have used literature to combat violence and to highlight how literature emphasizes our global humanity by reminding us that we are citizens of one world, connected to not only the people waiting for us at home, but also to those we will never meet, except within the pages of our books.
Amid the currents of violence swirling around us, I lead students to literature to illustrate how renowned authors have struggled with the same questions that haunt them, such as “Where do I fit into freedom fighting movements?” and “What can I do to fix our world?” Using these questions as guideposts on a hopeful path to transformation, I create spaces in which students can find answers in the imaginative, creative possibilities of literature, in our class discussions and ultimately, in themselves.
Research, Scholarship or Creative/Artistic Interests
I study 20th century and contemporary African American and American Literatures; Global Black Literature; Holocaust Literature; Genocide Literature; Literature of Human Rights Violations; and Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies to produce work that intertwines scholarship and activism and highlights how literature can combat genocide, its precursors, and its reverberations.
My book manuscript is a transnational literary history of how the concept of genocide has been used in relation to Black communities in Post-Holocaust Era writing. Additionally, my recently published article, “Fatal Categorizations,” examines “passing” in twentieth-century African American literature alongside twenty-first century writing about Japanese American internment. I am also contributing a chapter, “(Re-)Framing Black Women’s Liberation,” to a forthcoming volume, Editing the Harlem Renaissance. In the chapter, I examine how contemporary editorial frameworks impact our understanding of the literature of twentieth-century Black women authors, including Nella Larsen and Zora Neale Hurston. My current projects also include an article about memoir, (anti-)blackness, and Nazi Germany and an article exploring Holocaust symbolism in a Roald Dahl story. I am dedicated to using my work to emphasize the crucial role of interdisciplinary literary study in the project of dismantling our violent world and building a new, just one to stand in its stead.