I am a specialist in 20th and 21st century American Literature. My research asks questions about how (and why) we read novels and printed literature in an age of digital distraction and informatic anxiety.
I work primarily with African American literature and contemporary multiethnic literature. I have taught courses on topics ranging from slavery and humor to cosmopolitan reading practices in our smartphone moment.
As I earned my Ph.D. in English at UC Berkeley, I developed and participated in programs that support students who, like myself, are first-generation college students. I also founded a Bay Area literacy center for high schoolers and adults. Scroll down to learn more about my research, teaching, and mentorship, or download my full CV here.
Making the Web Literary: Cultural Discourse from Web 2.0 to Printed Prose
/ Monograph in Progress
It is a continuously vexing question: why do we still read literature? This book extends one historical answer—ethical criticism—into our digital present: we read to understand others. The history of Afro-American letters has long been oriented around narrative power dynamics. As Robert Stepto’s influential work has characterized, Black genres from slave narratives to political jeremiads to Afrofuturism have been predicated on “tellers” and “listeners.” As he has it, some are “novices” and some are “masters,” while these texts broadly offer elements of political didacticism or facets of Realist exposé. But how do the power dynamics of cultural exchange shift now that they can be mediated in real time on Web 2.0? As implied authorship and political discourse traffic between Twitter, literal forums of reader-response, and products in a literary marketplace, how are African American literary stylistics changing? This book explores a range of texts that offer answers, including recent prize winning African American novels about the act of writing prize winning African American novels, essay collections by major Twitter activists, and provocative satires built on media-dependent Signifyin(g).
The Wikipedic Novel: The Stake of Literature in the Open-Source Era
During the Internet's rise in the early Nineties, scholars suggested that the Internet was the representation of Roland Barthes' idyllic "writerly text"--a galaxy of signification that liberates readers from the tyranny of authorial predetermination. This dissertation argues that thirty years later, in an age of ceaseless information and the digital collapse of informatic authority, the 21st century realist novel actually recuperates and even vitalizes the previously vilified "readerly text." The novelist's predetermination of fact within fiction affords a new type of reading experience that traffics knowledge between readers, writers, and the open-source content that novels now metabolize into their form.
I have taught both writing composition and upper division literature courses in the departments of English and American Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley and the University of Washington. I prioritize culturally responsive pedagogy and authentic assessment methods so that my students can intrepidly and sensitively engage the diverse, often provocative material I like to assign.
Upper Division Course
University of Washington '12
Texts included Suzan-Lori Parks, Amiri Baraka, Trey Ellis, and Audre Lorde
Global Bookworm: Am I a Cosmopolitan Yet?
English Composition Course
Instructor of Record
UC Berkeley '19
Texts included Flannery O'Connor, Chimamanda Adichie, Clarice Lispector, and Yusanari Kawabata
Humor & the Neo-Slave Narrative
Upper Division Course
Instructor of Record
UC Berkeley '22
Texts included Harriet Jacobs, Ishmael Reed, Henry Box Brown, Paul Beatty
I believe in the power of the public university. As an alumnus of the University of Washington (B.A.) and UC Berkeley, I have benefitted from belonging to deeply heterogeneous communities—culturally, intellectually, ideologically, economically, and more. I cherish bringing people together and revealing the hidden scripts behind class mobility within and outside of academia. Below are some of my experiences.
UC Berkeley Bridge Connect
I mentored over 90 transfer students and first-generation freshmen, offering 1-on-1 counsel in adjusting to the university, navigating its resources and opportunities, managing course loads, and cultivating a sense of belonging. In 2021, I was a senior lead mentor, helping new graduate students to the position in adjusting to the role
Consortium on the Novel
For three years I co-ran UC Berkeley's Consortium on the Novel, which brings together scholars from across the world who are invested in studying the novel form. We held Berkeley faculty panels on topics like the theory of literary form and community conversations on teaching long novels. The Consortium also hosted a semesterly joint-conference with Stanford's Center for the Study of the Novel.
First Graduate, San Francisco
For five years, I volunteered with this non-profit that supports young people from the seventh grade through the end of college to earn their Bachelor's degrees. I taught three summer enrichment English courses, designed and taught a Secondary School Admissions Test studying curriculum for 7th and 8th graders, and mentored students in drafting college admissions essays.
Simpson Center Literary Project
In 2017, I designed creative writing lesson plans for instructors in Berkeley's Simpson Literary Project. Four Simpson fellows used my curriculum as a foundation for courses on poetry, micro-fiction, creative non-fiction, and college personal statements, which they taught to communities at the Contra Costa County Juvenile Hall, Girls Inc. Alameda County, and Northgate High School.