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.
Hashtag Reading: Race in Web 2.0
/ Monograph in Progress
My book project, Hashtag Reading: Race in Web 2.0 Literature, answers two questions: first, how has the Internet affected the deployment of literary form, genre, and reading publics in a post-Obama, Open-Source era? This question feels particularly urgent given that the Web 2.0 has only served to provoke deeply public national and global divisions about race. The second question is embedded within the first—how can we respond to the ongoing societal discourse surrounding the “decline of attention” and especially the literary concern of the waning of reading? To address these questions, Hashtag Reading focuses on five literary genres: the Wikipedic novel, elegiac memoir, satire, young adult fiction, and romance. I argue that each genre, its publication, and circulation through the sphere of public opinion and information has emerged from a distinctly digital apparatus of cultural and publishing capital. While it may well be impossible to understand “who” and “what” is read to exacting certitude, this study uses publicly Open-sourced information that reveals how literary form, marketplace, and cultural acclaim have evolved and adapted since the rise of Wikipedia, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok. These platforms are all paradigms of Web 2.0’s definition: an Internet that shifted from a purely informatic resource in Web 1.0 (checking sports scores, tock stickers, and news) to a discursive platform (uploading amateur highlight reels of sports, creating cryptocurrency, and crafting or one’s own alternative news sources). I mark this period as becoming its own rightful era in 2006 before amplifying in 2009 with Apple’s release of the iPhone, which exponentiated the smartphone’s global mass adoption. In turn, the literature that has been produced since 2006 offers insights and a timeline for the Open-source’s ramifications for both readers and writers. The global political landscape during the Web 2.0 era has worked hand-in-hand with social media’s development: Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street, the #NoDAPL/#imwithstandingrock Dakota Access Pipeline Protests, and the Black Lives Matter enterprise. Virtual exposure to crimes against humanity (the environment included) has provoked incisive commentary that at once traffics between vehement-yet-partially-informed-rage about violent video clips to measured-and-digestible Twitter strings and video captions from “verified” public figures. Hashtag Reading addresses the political ramifications of Web 2.0’s influence on realist fiction, which enfolds and metabolizes these voices and media.
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.