Image of Aneeka Henderson Professor Aneeka Henderson

Aneeka Ayanna Henderson

Place of Birth
Chicago, Illinois

Current Home
Amherst, Massachusetts

University of Illinois, PhD

Why did you choose to teach at Amherst? 
I decided to come to Amherst College because of the emphasis the College places on intellectually rigorous scholarship and teaching. 

Which classes are you teaching at Amherst?
I am currently teaching Black Feminist Literary Traditions and Bad Black Women

Research Interests
I am an Assistant Professor at Amherst College in the Sexuality, Women’s and Gender Studies Department, with affiliations in the English, Black Studies, and Film and Media Studies Departments. My research interests include late twentieth- and early twenty-first century African American literature and culture.  

Awards and Prizes

  • 2017  American Association of University Women Postdoctoral Research Leave   Fellowship 
  • 2017    Mellon Woodrow Wilson National Career Enhancement Fellowship 
  • 2015    Mellon Summer Institute on Tenure & Professional Advancement  (SITPA) Fellowship, Duke University 
  • 2015    Center for Humanistic Inquiry Fellowship, Amherst College 
  • 2015    Crossroads in the Study of the Americas Fellowship, Five Colleges, Inc 
  • 2012    Mellon Faculty Seminar, Mead Art Museum, Amherst College 
  • 2011    Five College Dissertation Fellowship, Amherst College 
  • 2011    Abraham Lincoln Graduate Fellowship, University of Illinois-Chicago 
  • 2010    Walker Library Dissertation Fellowship, Middle Tennessee State University
  • 2008    Abraham Lincoln Graduate Fellowship, University of Illinois-Chicago 
  • 2008    Grace Holt Memorial Award, University of Illinois-Chicago 
  • 2004    Diversifying Faculty in Higher Education Fellowship, Illinois Board of Education 

Favorite Book
I love Toni Morrison's work. I recently held a film screening of her 2019 documentary Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am on February 18th, her birthday. Everyone should read her fiction and non-fiction. Most recently, I read An American Marriage by Tayari Jones and it is breathtaking. I also really enjoyed Stay With Me: A Novel  by Ayobami Adebayo.

Favorite Author
Toni Morrison 

Tips for aspiring writers?
My advice is to read something beautiful everyday and write a little bit everyday, even if it is for five minutes. 

Tell us a bit about your path to becoming an author
I have always been passionate about writing and reading. I wrote for my elementary and high school newspapers. My parents and grandparents had lots of books in their home and I lived close to a public library for most of my childhood, which I think made a big difference in my life.  I majored in English in undergrad and earned my PhD in English Literature, so I gradually began to feel like becoming an author was inevitable. Although it began to feel inevitable, writing a book was not easy, so I am grateful to have had the support of friends and family as well as institutional support such as the American Association of University Women Postdoctoral Fellowship, the Mellon Woodrow Wilson Career Enhancement Fellowship, and the Mellon Summer Institute on Tenure and Professional Advancement Fellowship.