Contact Information

Mandel 218
office hours: Tue 10:30-12:30

See Professor Abdur-Rahman's Faculty Guide page for more information.

Aliyyah Abdur-Rahman

Associate Professor
Ph.D., New York University

Research Interests

19th to 21st-century American and African American literature and culture. Gender studies and multiethnic feminisms. Theories of race and racial formation. Visual and media culture.

Selected Publications

"'As Though a Metaphor Were Tangible': Baldwin's Identities." The Cambridge Companion to James Baldwin. Ed. Michele Elam, 2015.  

“'What Moves at the Margin': William Faulkner and Race." The Cambridge Companion to William Faulkner. Ed. John T. Mathews, 2015.

Against the Closet: Black Political Longing and the Erotics of Race

Duke University Press, 2012

"Tracings: Black Female Figuration in Inner and Outer Space(s)." Callaloo, forthcoming.

"'This Horrible Exhibition': Sexuality in Slave Narratives." The Oxford Handbook of the African American Slave Narrative. Ed. John Ernest. Oxford UP, 2014

"Simply a Menaced Boy: Analogizing Color, Undoing Dominance in James Baldwin's Giovanni's Room." African American Review, Vol. 41.3 (Spring 2007). 477-486.
*Darwin T. Turner Award for best essay in African American Review in 2008

"'The Strangest Freaks of Despotism': Queer Sexuality in Antebellum African American Slave Narratives." African American Review, Vol. 40.2 (Summer 2006). 223-237.
*Darwin T. Turner Award for best essay in African American Review in 2006

"White Disavowal, Black Enfranchisement, and the Homoerotic in William Faulkner's Light in August." The Faulkner Journal, Vol 22.1 (Fall 2006/Spring 2007). 176-192.

Articles for General Readership

"Where Are the Radicals?: Islam(ophobia) and Black Urban Politics." The Feminist Wire, March 2011

"Prescription for Relief."
 The Feminist Wire, April 2011

Current Projects

Millennial Style:  The Politics of Experiment in Contemporary African Diasporic Culture
In Progress
This book examines the ideological and political implications of generic experimentation in recent African Diasporic fiction and visual art. I centralize black (women’s) subjectivity and erotic entanglements, engaging the work of such authors as Sapphire, Octavia Butler, and Marci Blackman and visual artists Wangechi Mutu and Kara Walker, to investigate the ways in which desire both shapes and resists representation.  Theorizing  an “aesthetics of intimacy” that replaces 19th and early 20th-century sentimentality and formal realism, Millennial Style illuminates the centrality of “style” to black queer aesthetics, to political modes of storytelling and visual representation, and to the undercurrent of racial politics in contemporary black cultural production of high experiment.

Within the Veil: Black Feminism and Literary Islam
This project investigates the growing popularity of Islam among African American women and its representation in their contemporary literary and cultural products. Reading such authors as Florence Ladd, Saleemah Abdul-Ghafur, Sapphire, and Marita Golden, I examine black American women’s deployment of the politics and the ethics of Islamic piety to normalize familial and communal relations in African American communities under duress, to interrogate dominant racial and sexual ideologies, and to provide new frameworks for globalizing the urban in contemporary black American literature and culture.
In process.


Ford Foundation Diversity Postdoctoral Fellowship for 2008-2009
Shortell-Holzer Fellowship, New York University, 2004-2005
Alice Richardson Award, New York University, 2005
Ford Foundation Fellowship, 2003-2004

Selected Courses Taught

The Postmodern African American Novel (ENG 167b)
American Encounters: Faulkner, Baldwin, Roth, Morrison (ENG 227b)
Sex and Race in the American Novel (ENG 87a)
U.S. Slavery and the Popular Imagination (USEM 59a)