Ph.D., Literature, Duke University
B.A., English and Spanish, Spelman College
I teach courses in American literature, Black studies, and feminist theory. My primary research is in African American literature, which I approach with a deep interest in the intersection of literature, politics, social movements, and popular culture and the ways that Black feminism affords us particularly generative insights about connections among these formations.
My most recent book, The Other Side of Terror: Black Women and the Culture of U.S. Empire (New York University Press, 2021; finalist for the Association of Publishers Prose Award and for the Association for the Study of African American Life and History Book Prize), offers an account of contemporary Black women’s culture and its entanglements with US imperialism. My first book, Charisma and the Fictions of Black Leadership (University of Minnesota Press; winner of the Modern Language Association’s William Sanders Scarborough Prize), was published in 2012. I am the co-editor, along with Roderick Ferguson and Jeffrey Ogbar, of Keywords for African American Studies (NYU Press, 2018).
I have written about African American literature, politics, and gender critique in scholarly journals such as differences, Callaloo, American Quarterly, American Literary History, and Black Camera and in public-facing venues like The Los Angeles Review of Books and The Washington Post.
Before coming to Yale, I taught at Rutgers University and, before that, at the University of California, Riverside, where I founded the Lindon Barrett Scholars Mentoring Program at and co-founded, with Grace Kyungwon Hong, the University of California Consortium for Black Studies in California.