Rabb Graduate Center, 135
Departments/ProgramsAfrican and Afro-American Studies
Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies
DegreesNew York University, Ph.D.
New York University, M.A.
SUNY at Stony Brook, B.A.
ExpertiseAmerican and African American Literature and Culture; Critical Race Theory; Gender and Sexuality Studies; Multiethnic Feminisms
ProfileAliyyah I. Abdur-Rahman is an Associate Professor of English, African and Afro-American Studies, and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Brandeis University. She publishes and lectures widely on topics ranging from the relation of sexuality and social order in New World slavery to the impacts of Civil Rights retrenchment on black familial formation and function in the current, putatively “post-racial,” moment.
A two-time winner of the Darwin T. Turner Award for Best Essay of the Year in _African American Review_, Abdur-Rahman has been awarded fellowships from the Ford Foundation, the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, the American Association of University Women, the Mellon Foundation, the W.E.B Du Bois Institute at Harvard University, and the JFK Institute at the Freie Universität Berlin. Her first book _Against the Closet: Black Political Longing and the Erotics of Race_, was published by Duke University Press in 2012. Considering genres from the slave narrative to science fiction, this book analyzes African American literary depictions of transgressive sexualities in order to illuminate the ways in which race, politics, and sexuality intersect in the social/racial ordering of United States culture and in the making of African American literature.
Abdur-Rahman is currently at work on her second book, provisionally titled, _Millennial Style: The Politics of Experiment in Contemporary African Diasporic Culture." This book examines the ideological and political implications of generic experimentation in recent black fiction and visual art. It engages the work of such cultural producers as Sapphire, Marci Blackman, Kara Walker, Octavia Butler, and Wangechi Mutu to investigate the ways in which desire both shapes and resists representation. Theorizing an “aesthetics of intimacy” that upends the predominance of sentimentality and formal realism, _Millennial Style_ illuminates the centrality of aesthetic innovation to political modes of storytelling and visual representation and to the undercurrent of racial politics in contemporary black cultural production of high experiment.
|AAAS||79b||Afro-American Literature of the Twentieth Century|
|AAAS||136a||Black Feminist Thought|
|AAAS/ENG||141b||Critical Race Theory|
|ENG||1a||Introduction to Literary Studies|
|ENG||16a||Slavery and Self-Making in African American Literature|
|ENG||57b||Writing the Nation: James Baldwin, Philip Roth, Toni Morrison|
|ENG||87a||Sex and Race in the American Novel|
|ENG||167b||20th-century Black Fiction|
|ENG||197b||Within the Veil: African-American and Muslim Women's Writing|
|ENG||207a||Race, Desire, and the Literary Imagination|
|ENG||227b||American Encounters: Faulkner, Baldwin, Roth, Morrison|
|SQS||6b||Sexuality and Queer Studies|
Awards and Honors
Darwin T. Turner Award for Best Essay in African American Review, 2008, 2006 (2008)
Ford Foundation Diversity Postdoctoral Fellowship (2008 - 2009)
Darwin T Turner Award, MLA Division on Black American Literature and Culture (2006)
Alice Richardson Outstanding Dissertation Award, New York University (2005)
Shortell-Holzer (Dean's) Dissertation Fellowship, New York University (2004 - 2005)
Ford Foundation Fellowship (2003 - 2004)
Abdur-Rahman, Aliyyah. "’If You Can’t Be Free, Be a Mystery’: James Baldwin and the (Open) Secret." James Baldwin Review (2015). (forthcoming)
Abdur-Rahman, Aliyyah. ""What Moves at the Margin": William Faulkner and Race." Cambridge Companion to William Faulkner. Ed. John T. Matthews., 2015
Abdur-Rahman, Aliyyah. "’As though a Metaphor Were Tangible’: James Baldwin's Identities." Cambridge Companion to James Baldwin. Ed. Michele Elam., 2015
Abdur-Rahman, Aliyyah. ""This Horrible Exhibition": Sexuality in Slave Narratives." The Oxford Handbook of the African American Slave Narrative. Ed. John Ernest., 2014
Abdur-Rahman, Aliyyah. Against the Closet: Black Political Longing and the Erotics of Race. Durham: Duke University Press, 2012.
Abdur-Rahman, Aliyyah. "White Disavowal, Black Enfranchisement, and the Homoerotic in William Faulkner’s Light in August." The Faulkner Journal. Ed. Jay Watson. Mississippi: University of Mississippi Press, 2011.
Abdur-Rahman, Aliyyah. ""Simply a Menaced Boy:" Analogizing Color, Undoing Dominance in James Baldwin's Giovanni's Room." African American Review 41.3. (2008): 477-486.
Abdur-Rahman, Aliyyah. "Harriet Ann Jacobs." The Encyclopedia of Women in World History. 2007.
Abdur-Rahman, Aliyyah. "White Disavowal, Black Enfranchisement, and the Homoerotic in William Faulkner's Light in August." The Faulkner Journal Volume 22.1 & 2. Fall/Spring (2007).
Abdur-Rahman, Aliyyah. ""The Strangest Freaks of Despotism": Queer Sexuality in Antebellum African Slave Narratives." African American Review 40.2. Summer (2006): 223-237.