Professional and Biographical Information


PhD, University of Illinois, Chicago 


I teach twentieth- and twenty-first century African American women’s literature and culture classes that pair traditional reading assignments with a mosaic of film, art, and music. Students in my courses examine diverse novels by Toni Morrison, Gwendolyn Brooks, Alice Walker, Nella Larsen, and Ann Petry; analyze art by Lorna Simpson at the Mead Art Museum; visit Sojourner Truth’s home in Northampton; and explore the musical legacy of Billie Holiday and Aretha Franklin. This sonic, visual, and kinesthetic tapestry emboldens students to broaden their critical thinking and textual analysis skills, while providing them with a foundation for completing thoughtful writing projects and inspiring visual essays.

My “Love & Marriage: Black Women’s Narratives and Counter-narratives” class assignment was featured in the New York Times. You can find it here.


Sculpted from my broader teaching interests, my research examines gender, race, sex, and class politics vis a vis marriage, domesticity, and courtship in post-Civil Rights era African American women’s fiction and culture. Bridging the fields of feminist and cultural studies as well as African American and American literature, my current research examines how fiction writers use romance as a way to unmask the increasing politicization of African American family formation mobilized by popular discourse and government regulation of the “private sphere.”  My work constructs a new paradigm for understanding the romance genre and black political identity by reframing scholarship on the sociopolitical forces shaping African American fiction and culture during the post-Civil Rights era.

I have delivered talks at Saint Joseph’s University, the University of Hull-Yorkshire, England’s Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation (WISE), National Women’s Studies Association, the Collegium for African American Research (CAAR), American Comparative Literature Association, American Studies Association, the American Literature Association, and the Multi-ethnic Literatures of the US (MELUS) conference.


My most recent essay "Black Political & Popular Culture: The Legacy of Richard Iton" is in Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture, and Society.

“The Rebirth of Queer: Mutation, Kinship & Solitude in Dee Rees’s Pariah.” In African American Culture and Society After Rodney King. Ed. Jo Metcalf and Carina Spaulding. Ashgate. (forthcoming)

Book Reviews

"Red, Black, & Left" review of The Other Blacklist: The African American Literary and Cultural Left of the 1950s (2014), by Mary Helen Washington, Women's Studies Quarterly (forthcoming).

Review of Sojourning for Freedom: Black Women, American Communism, and the Making of Black Left Feminism  (2011) by Erik McDuffie, Women's Studies Quarterly (forthcoming).

Reference Publications

Encyclopedia of Race & Racism, 2e. "Oprah Winfrey." Gale Cengage, 2012.

Awards & Honors

Robert E. Keiter 1957 Postdoctoral Fellow and Visiting Assistant Professor, Amherst College, Sexuality, Women’s and Gender Studies Department, 2012-2014

Five College Dissertation Fellowship, Amherst College, Women’s and Gender Studies Department, 2011-2012.

Dissertation Fellowship, Middle Tennessee State University, English Department, 2010-2011.

Mellon Faculty Seminar, Mead Art Museum, Amherst College, 2012

Abraham Lincoln Graduate Fellowship, University of Illinois-Chicago, 2011

Image of Research Competition, (Finalist), University of Illinois-Chicago, 2011

Abraham Lincoln Graduate Fellowship, University of Illinois-Chicago, 2008

Grace Holt Memorial Award, University of Illinois-Chicago, 2008

School of Criticism & Theory Residency Award, Cornell University, 2006

Diversifying Faculty in Higher Education Fellowship, Illinois Board of Education, 2004