Fall Texts

Women’s Diasporic Literature: – No Telephone to Heaven, Michelle Cliff (1987) – The Dew Breaker, Edwidge Danticat (2004) – Sula, Toni Morrison (1973) – Citizen: An American Lyric, Claudia Rankine (2014) + Short Stories and Essays Weird Fictions – Kindred, Octavia Butler (1979) Butler’s obituary  – Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro (2005) Something about Kathy… – Pedro Páramo, Juan Rulfo (1955) […]

Imre Kertész and the Nobel Lecture

Heureka! “Whereas I, on a lovely spring day in 1955, suddenly came to the realization that there exists only one reality, and that is me, my own life, this fragile gift bestowed for an uncertain time, which had been seized, expropriated by alien forces, and circumscribed, marked up, branded – and which I had to […]

The Imperfect Longing

I gave a conference paper on (Re)Mapping the Black Atlantic at DePaul University in 2013. It was on the anniversary of Paul Gilroy’s seminal work The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double-Consciousness. I spoke on Sam Selvon’s short novel The Lonely Londoners and the idea of a desiring language – one that Frantz Fanon named as the urgency of ‘reciprocal recognitions.’ […]

The Idea of Europe

One of my favorite seminars to teach at Hampshire is a close study of the contemporary European novel. Of course, I have to be very selective and attend to the limitations on text length imposed by a 14-week semester. Each time that I have offered this seminar, I switch up the novels. It keeps me […]

Toni Morrison on Language

The language must be careful and must appear effortless. It must not sweat. It must suggest and be provocative at the same time. It is the thing that black people love so much—the saying of words, holding them on the tongue, experimenting with them, playing with them. It’s a love, a passion. Its function is […]

My Upcoming Seminars

Fall 2014 Reading Generically: Modern Short Prose Disturbing the Peace: Baldwin, Morrison, and a Black Literary Tradition Spring 2015 Representing Reality: The Literature of Kleist and Kafka The Idea of Europe: Readings in the 20th Century Novel Fall 2015 Writing from the Diaspora: Readings in Contemporary Women’s Fiction Reading Generically: Weird Fictions Spring 2016 An […]

Identity as Cultural Production in Andrea Levy’s ‘Small Island’

This is an article that was published in 2012 after a truly rigorous peer review process. Identity as Cultural Production in Andrea Levy’s Small Island Abstract: Andrea Levy’s Small Island (2004) presents a counter-history of the period before and after World War II (1939-1945) when men and women from the Caribbean volunteered for all branches of the […]

The “Unhomely”

Much of my writing and teaching gravitates toward the idea of the unhomely. I take it from Homi Bhabha and Martin Heidegger as cited in the introduction to Bhabha’s The Location of Culture: To be unhomed is not to be homeless, nor can the ‘unhomely’ be easily accommodated in that familiar division of social life into […]

Pamuk on Literature

What literature needs most to tell and investigate today are humanity’s basic fears: the fear of being left outside, and the fear of counting for nothing, and the feelings of worthlessness that come with such fears; the collective humiliations, vulnerabilities, slights, grievances, sensitivities, and imagined insults, and the nationalist boasts and inflations that are their […]

Michael Harper on Myths

“The point about myths is that they are open-ended. They are open-ended when they are true in that they suggest new arrangements of human essentials based on contingent human experience, not on historical, systematic experience. Human beings are capable of all kinds of possibility, combination, and diversity….” –Michael Harper, American Poet