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English Department

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phone: 322-2328
425 Benson Science Hall

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Marzia Milazzo

Assistant Professor

Marzia Milazzo received her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature, with a Doctoral Emphasis in Global & International Studies, from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and her M.A. in English and Spanish, along with a Secondary Education Teaching degree, from the University of Freiburg, Germany. During the doctoral program she also studied at the University of California, Los Angeles; University of California, Berkeley; and University of Cape Town, South Africa. Her research is broadly concerned with the relation between the poetics and the politics of racial disavowal and antiracism across national borders and literary traditions. Her teaching and study areas, in no particular order, include 20th and 21st century African American, Afro-Latin American, Chicana/o, Latina/o, Inter-American, and South African literatures; Black radical thought, critical race theory, postcolonial theory, sociology of race and ethnic relations, and white supremacy; antiracist, feminist, and Indigenous epistemologies.

She is currently completing a book provisionally titled Colorblind Tools: Narrating Racial Power in the Americas and South Africa, which examines the rhetorical contours of colorblindness in a comparative context and its implications for decolonial imaginaries and antiracist politics in contemporary Afro-Panamanian, Black South African, and Chicana/o literatures, as well as for the production of knowledge. The study considers colorblindness as a discourse and ideology, as well as a metaphor for the global attempt to invisibilize “the colorline,—the relation of the darker races to the lighter races of men in Asia and Africa, in America and the islands of the sea” that W.E.B. DuBois in The Souls of Black Folk (1903) identified as the “problem of the twentieth century.” While the colorline persists, colorblindness represents a crucial obstacle to its removal in the twenty-first century. Whereas much racial theory posits the novelty of the current racial order and the hegemonic discourse that sustains it, the study examines overlaps and continuities between colonial, overt white supremacist, and colorblindness discourse, as well as unforeseen affinities between particular colonial and decolonial imaginaries. Tracing colorblindness from the Americas to South Africa, it concurrently illustrates the transportability of the discourse across time and space, its contextual and geographical particularity, and its inextricability from deeply entrenched colonial epistemologies and ontologies. In the process, it demonstrates that the reproduction of colorblindness transcends historical, national, linguistic, literary, disciplinary, and racial boundaries.