Assistant Professor, English and Africana Studies
In addition to teaching a variety of topics in the classroom, I am committed to working with students in expansive ways that extend beyond my courses, particularly in areas related to social justice. To that end, I am currently serving as the Director of the Africana Studies Program; the faculty advisor to the Black Students Association; and the Inaugural Fellow in Muhlenberg’s new Faculty Fellowship Program in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Additionally, I am the Co-Founder and Co-Director of the new Graduate School Preparatory Program for Students from Underrepresented Backgrounds alongside Giancarlo Cuadra, Assistant Professor of Biology. Please visit the Graduate School Preparatory Program website for more information.
Alongside my joint appointment in the Department of English Literatures and Writing and the Africana Studies Program, 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, genocide, and human rights violations through the study of twentieth-century and contemporary literature(s). In courses such as Genocide and Blackness in the Post-Holocaust World, Holocaust Literature, Global Black Literature, Literature of Genocide, and others, 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 turn their stories into art and to highlight how literature emphasizes our global humanity by reminding us that we are citizens of one world who are 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 today, 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? 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.
In Spring 2020, I created the first Africana Studies Book Club at Muhlenberg College. To honor Africana Studies' rich tradition of celebrating work by African-descended populations across the world, the Book Club focuses on global Black literature. The group is open to all members of the Muhlenberg community. If you are interested in joining, please send me an email. We would love to have you join the Africana Studies Book Club family!
Research, Scholarship or Creative/Artistic Interests
I study twentieth-century and contemporary African American and American Literatures; Global Black Literature; Holocaust Literature; Genocide Literature; Human Rights Literature; and Comparative Race and Ethnicity Studies to produce work that intertwines scholarship and activism and highlights how literature can combat genocide, its precursors, and its reverberations.
My book, The Black Blood of Genocide: Tracing Genocide in Post-Holocaust African Diasporic Literature, is a transnational literary history of how Black authors across the globe have used literature to raise awareness about anti-Black genocide in the Post-World War II Era. Black Blood is currently under contract with Columbia University Press; the manuscript was selected to be one of the inaugural titles in a new collaborative series between Columbia University Press and Howard University. More information about Black Blood and the series it will call home can be found here.
Regarding additional forthcoming and recent scholarship, I was an invited contributor to a special issue of Central European History entitled “A Reusable Past: Explaining the Prominence of the Third Reich in Current U.S. Discourse” (Forthcoming: Winter 2022). The special issue features a written forum in which professors of Genocide Studies respond to urgent questions about the relationship between Nazi Germany and the contemporary United States. Additionally, my South Atlantic Review essay, “Fatal Categorizations,” which examines “passing” in twentieth-century African American literature alongside twenty-first century writing about Japanese American incarceration during World War II, was awarded the South Atlantic Review Essay Prize in January of 2021. I also contributed a chapter, “(Re)Framing Black Women’s Liberation,” to Editing the Harlem Renaissance (2021). 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.
Overall, 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.