Aliyyah Abdur-Rahman

Associate Professor of African and Afro-American Studies and English
PhD, 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

Articles for General Readership

Current Projects

"Millennial Style: The Politics of Experiment in Contemporary African Diasporic Culture"

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. (In progress)

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 progress)


Selected Courses Taught