American Studies; African American Cultural Studies
nineteenth-century US literature and culture, early American literature, Native American literature, African American literature, American studies, performance studies, theatre history, sentimentalism
Narrative, Visual Culture, Visuality, Sexual Identity, Gender Studies, Arabic Literature, African American Literature, Race Studies, Urban Studies, Modernity
Television/Visual Culture, Film Studies, 20th Century Literature, Cultural Studies, Disability Studies, Youth/Teenage Culture, Subculture, Popular Culture, Urban Studies, Comic/Sequential Art, Popular Music, Feminism, Cultural Geography, Poststructuralism, Material Culture, Gender/Queer Studies, Critical Theory, African American Studies
Contemporary literatures in English, in particular Caribbean and African-American women poets and fiction writers; Feminist Theory and Race Critical Theory; Postcolonial and Cultural Studies
African language literature (especially that in Gəˁəz, Amharic, Hausa), Anglophone African literature, early African literature, African film, African women authors, history of the African book, African manuscript cultures, African female saints, and queer African studies; as well as race and gender in eighteenth-century English literature, comparative African and European studies, postcolonial literature, Chicana/o literature, African American literature, comparative hagiographies, gender and sexuality, memoir, indirection and censorship, travel literature, manuscript studies, prison literature, intellectual autobiography, and supernatural monsters.
I am the author of Diasoric Blackness: The Life and Times of Arturo Schomburg (2017) and Oshun’s Daughters: The Search for Womanhood of the Americas (2014). I am the editor of The Future Is Now: A New Look at African Diaspora Studies (2012) and Let Spirit Speak! Cultural Journeys of the African Diaspora (2012). I serve as the book review editor of sx salon, of the Small Axe Project. My research interests focus on the literatures of the African Diaspora in the Americas – U.S. Latinx and Africsn American; Hispanic Caribbean; Hispanic American and Brazilian Literatures, with an examination of constructions of race, gender, and class.
Matthew Omelsky is the postdoctoral fellow for the “Racial Disposability and Cultures of Resistance” Mellon Sawyer Seminar based in Penn State’s Department of African American Studies.
Laura E. Helton is Assistant Professor of Print and Material Culture in the Department of English at the University of Delaware. Her work on African American print culture, archival studies, and public humanities has appeared or is forthcoming in PMLA, Social Text, and Southern Quarterly. Her current book project, “Collecting and Collectivity: Black Archival Publics, 1900-1950,” examines the emergence of African American archives and libraries to show how historical recuperation shaped forms of racial imagination in the early twentieth century.
My work focuses on late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century African American literature and culture, especially poetry. In my first book, Rhetorics of Literacy: The Cultivation of American Dialect Poetry (The Ohio State University Press, 2013), I argued that dialect poetry functioned in the turn-of-the-century US in surprising ways, challenging readers’ expectations of a light and entertaining subgenre. My current book project considers African American literary and cultural views of the politics of imperial Ethiopia from the 1860s to the 1930s, particularly as expressed in newspapers and magazines, reflecting an interest in periodical studies that has informed my research throughout my career.