My research is broadly concerned with the relationship between the poetics and the politics of both racist and antiracist discourses. My teaching and research areas, in no particular order, include twentieth and twenty-first century African American, Afro-Latin American, Chicana/o, Latina/o, Inter-American, and South African literatures; Black radical thought, critical race theory, postcolonial theory, and sociology of race and ethnic relations. I received my Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and my M.A. in English and Spanish from the University of Freiburg, Germany.
My manuscript in-progress, Colorblind Tools: Narrating Racial Power in the Americas and South Africa, shows that the differential value attributed to the lives of people of color and white people is endemic to former European settler colonies and Europe. Yet despite the visible effects of white supremacy, the dominant discourse of colorblindness portrays racism as exceptional rather than structural, minimizes its effects, or denies its existence altogether. Through the comparative analysis of Panamanian, U.S., and South African literatures and scholarship, I examine colorblindness as an ideology, a legal doctrine, and a metaphor for the global attempt to render invisible “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,” which W.E.B. Du Bois in The Souls of Black Folk (1903) defined as the “problem of the twentieth century.” As the colorline persists, colorblind rhetorics represent a key tool for the reproduction of white dominance in the twenty-first century. Challenging theories of racial formation that posit a fundamental shift in racial dynamics and hegemonic discourse since the formal demise of racial dictatorships, Colorblind Tools reveals overlaps and continuities between colonial, overt white supremacist, and colorblindness discourses as well as affinities between colonial and decolonial imaginaries. In the process, it shows that colorblindness has far-reaching implications across disciplinary, historical, linguistic, literary, and national boundaries.
- Anglophone African Literature ("Post-1994 South African Literature.")
- Colonial and Postcolonial Literature ("Writing, Colonialism, and Decolonization.")
- Ethnic American Literature ("American Landscapes: Race, Place, and Representation.")
- Foundations of Literary Study ("Stories and Thoughts of Freedom and Confinement.")
- Introduction to Latina and Latino Studies ("Crossing Borders.")
- Introduction to Literary and Cultural Analysis ("Bodies, Borders, and Power" and "Movement, Migration, and Displacement.")
- World Literature - Modern ("Black Radical Thought: Quests for a True Humanity in the Americas and South Africa.")