Kara Keeling, Associate Professor in Cinema and Media Studies, is a scholar of African American film whose research explores race, gender, and sexuality in cinema and media, with a particular interest in black and queer cultural politics, digital technologies, and theoretical inquiry. She is the author of The Witch’s Flight: The Cinematic, the Black Femme and the Image of Common Sense (Duke, 2007) and the coeditor of Sound Clash: Listening to American Studies (Johns Hopkins, 2012) and Racist Traces and Other Writings: European Pedigrees / African Contagions (Palgrave Macmillan, 2003), a collection of work by James A. Snead. She most recently served on the faculty at the University of Southern California, and her PhD in critical and cultural studies is from the University of Pittsburgh.

Keeling has held visiting professorships or fellowships at several institutions, including Brown University, Williams College, the Academy of Advanced African Studies at the University of Bayreuth in Germany, the Social Justice Research Action Fellowship Program and Center for Feminist Research at USC, and the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill. She has also participated in the National Endowment for the Humanities summer institutes “Broadening the Digital Humanities” (in Los Angeles) and “African Cinema” (in Dakar, Senegal). In addition to her several journal articles, she has contributed chapters to the anthologies Strange Affinities: The Gender and Sexual Politics of Comparative Racialization (Duke, 2011), Black Queer Studies (Duke, 2005), and Sexual Rhetoric: Media Perspectives on Sexuality, Gender and Identity (Greenwood, 1999). Her next book, Queer Times, Black Futures, will be published with New York University Press in spring 2019, and she is coediting “From Third Cinema to Media Justice,” a multimedia digital humanities project.

Danielle Marion Roper is a Neubauer Family Assistant Professor in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures and affiliate faculty of the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture. She received the Provost Career Enhancement Postdoctoral Scholarship at the University of Chicago after completing a Core Curriculum Postdoctoral Teaching Fellowship at New York University, where she graduated with a PhD from the Department of Spanish and Portuguese and an MA in Performance Studies. She received a BA in Hispanic Studies (cum laude) from Hamilton College. Roper is currently completing the manuscript for her first book, “Hemispheric Blackface: Impersonation and Multiculturalism in the Americas.”

In this multisited study linking the Andes, Atlantic, Anglophone Caribbean, and the United States, Roper develops the concept of hemispheric blackface to name a network of impersonation in the Americas (the images and tropes that circulate in the transnational web of exchange between these regions) and to uncover the function of blackface performance in societies organized around discourses of mestizaje, or interracial mixing. Roper, who is from Kingston, Jamaica, combines visual and textual analysis with ethnographic methodologies—examining a blackface performance at an Andean fiesta in Peru, a blackface visual art exhibit by an Afro-Colombian woman, skin-bleaching in a Jamaican cartoon, and blackface characters on television in Miami—to argue that blackface is a racial signifier that floats across borders, moves through time and space, and is transmitted across traditions of embodied practice. In excavating the collision of hemispheric traditions of performance, the manuscript uncovers how tropes of blackness in the Americas are shared and how one tradition of impersonation may be read through the valence of another. She will explore an example of this phenomenon in “Blackface at the Andean Fiesta: Performing Blackness in the ‘Danza de Caporales,’” an article forthcoming in the journal Latin American Research Review.

Sophie Salvo, Assistant Professor in Germanic Studies, researches the history of “women's language” as a concept in ethnography, criticism, literature, and feminist theory. She completed her PhD in Germanic languages at Columbia University, where she received an MA and MPhil, with a concentration in comparative literature and society. Her dissertation is titled “The Articulation of Difference: Imagining ‘Women's Language’ between 1650 and the Present.” Her BA, in comparative literature, is from Harvard University. Before joining UChicago, she was a lecturer at Colgate University.

Salvo’s scholarship begins with seventeenth-century ethnographic writing, which first documented the idea of “women’s language” (or Weibersprache). She then traces the concept of a distinctively female language from nineteenth-century linguistics and anthropology to its use by twentieth-century Modernists and its reappropriation by the feminist movements of the 1970s.

Associate Professor in Music Anna Schultz, AM’95, is an ethnomusicologist whose first book, Singing a Hindu Nation: Marathi Devotional Performance and Nationalism (Oxford, 2013), is a groundbreaking study of music’s role in creating India’s Hindu national identity. Her second book, Songs of Translation: Bene Israel Performance from India to Israel (Oxford, forthcoming), explores gender and migration in one of India’s Jewish communities. She received her PhD in ethnomusicology from the University of Illinois and holds a master’s degree in social science from UChicago. Before returning to Chicago, she was on the Stanford faculty.

Schultz has been involved in several creative and scholarly projects that complement her book research. She is a documentary filmmaker, codirecting Bhajans and Belonging in Indo-Guyanese Minneapolis (2007) and Standing on Narad’s Mat: Encounters with Marathi Kirtan (forthcoming). In addition to her ethnographic fieldwork in Israel and in Maharashtra, India, she has researched Indo-Caribbean music and bluegrass/country. She is also a musician who performs on various instruments, including piano, accordion, harmonium, and banjo ukulele, and has received specialized training in Hindustani and Marathi kirtan vocal music.

C. Riley Snorton, Professor in English Language and Literature, is a cultural theorist who analyzes representations of race, gender, and sexuality throughout history. He is the author of Nobody Is Supposed to Know: Black Sexuality on the Down Low (University of Minnesota Press, 2014) and Black on Both Sides: A Racial History of Trans Identity (University of Minnesota Press, 2017), winner of the Lambda Literary Award for Transgender Nonfiction and an American Library Association Stonewall Honor Book in Nonfiction in 2018. He was previously on the faculty at Cornell University and received his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania Annenberg School for Communication with graduate certificates in Africana studies and women, gender, and sexuality studies.

Snorton is currently coediting an anthology, tentatively titled “Saturation: Racial Matter, Institutional Limits and the Excesses of Representation” (New Museum / MIT, forthcoming in 2019) and “The Flesh of the Matter: A Hortense Spillers Reader” (forthcoming). He has also coedited several special issues of journals: “Blackness” for Transgender Studies Quarterly (2017), “The Queerness of Hip Hop / the Hip Hop of Queerness” for Palimpsest: A Journal on Women, Gender, and the Black International (2013), and “Media Reform” for the International Journal of Communication. Snorton has contributed chapters to numerous anthologies, including No Tea, No Shade: New Writings in Black Queer Studies (Duke, 2016), Transgender Studies Reader, 2nd Edition (Routledge, 2009), Black Genders and Sexualities (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), and The Comedy of Dave Chappelle: Critical Essays (McFarland and Co., 2009). His scholarship has been recognized through several high-profile awards, such as a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship at the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, an Andrew W. Mellon postdoctoral fellowship at Pomona College, and two fellowships at Harvard’s W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research.

Assistant Professor Anna Elena Torres joined Comparative Literature as a Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellow in 2016. She specializes in Jewish studies, gender studies, and labor history, with a particular focus on the subjects of statelessness, anti-statism, and borderlands literature. Since arriving at UChicago, she has organized a series of lectures and performances on Yiddish culture. Her forthcoming book is titled Any Minute Now the World Streams Over Its Border!: Anarchism and Yiddish Literature (Yale University Press). This project examines the literary production, aesthetics, and thought of Jewish anarchist movements, from the Proletarian poets of the 1890s to the transnational Yiddish press, which spanned from Moscow and Tel Aviv to Buenos Aires and New York City. Torres holds degrees from UC–Berkeley, Harvard Divinity School, and Swarthmore College. Her work has appeared in Jewish Quarterly Review (JQR), Nashim, In geveb, and make/shift: a journal of feminisms in motion.

Torres’s next project studies the avant-garde Polish writer Dvoyre Fogel, whose poetry and literary theory anticipated the postwar emergence of experimental representations of domestic temporality and labor. As a Yiddish Book Center fellow, Torres translated Fogel’s poetry collection Manekinen (Mannequins, 1934), and she is currently organizing a symposium on Fogel and her artistic circle at UChicago in April 2019. Her other ongoing projects include a study of racialization, indigeneity, and colonial education in Puerto Rico. She has also worked as a muralist, community organizer, and set designer.


This year the Division welcomes nine Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellows through an initiative designed to recruit exceptionally promising junior scholars from historically underrepresented groups. (An earlier incarnation was called the Career Enhancement Postdoctoral Scholar program.) These fellows serve as tenure-track instructors for up to two years—developing their research profiles through mentorship and funding support—before being promoted to assistant professor.

Sophia Azeb (English Language and Literature) comes to the University of Chicago after a Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellowship at New York University. She has a PhD in American Studies and Ethnicity from the University of Southern California.

Azeb’s research on translational blackness and Afro-Arab cultural currents bridges her areas of focus and expertise, which include black studies, cultural studies, and contemporary Middle East studies. Her current book project is titled “Another Country: Constellations of Blackness in Afro-Arab Cultural Expression.” She has an MA in American studies and a BA in African and African American studies from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Natalia Bermúdez (Linguistics) received her PhD and MA in linguistics from the University of Texas at Austin.

Bermúdez’s dissertation is titled “A description of Naso verbal art.” Her BA, in linguistics and psychology, is from the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill.

Sarah Johnson (English Language and Literature) holds a PhD in English from the University of California–Berkeley.

Johnson’s current project is provisionally titled “Outlyers: Maroons and Marronage in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Literature.” She has also published “Bras-Coupé,” a translation of francophone literature from Louisiana. Her fields of research include slavery, marronage, and early American and Caribbean literature.  Her work on marronage includes anglophone and francophone texts concerning resistance and revolution, archives of slavery, transatlantic flight and fugitivity, and historical objects. She received a BA from Harvard University in history and literature with a minor in French language and literature and also studied at SciencesPo and Université Paris 8 in Paris, France.

Sharese King (Linguistics) received her PhD and MA in linguistics from Stanford University.

King’s dissertation is titled “Exploring Social and Linguistic Diversity Across African Americans from Rochester, New York” and her BA—in linguistics with a minor in American Sign Language—is from the University of Rochester.

Khalid Lyamlahy (Romance Languages and Literatures) is currently completing a DPhil in French and Francophone literature from the University of Oxford (St Anne’s College).

Lyamlahy’s thesis is titled “From Revolt to Nostalgia: Rethinking the Moroccan postcolonial malaise with Mohamed Khaïr-Eddine, Abdelkebir Khatibi and Abdellatif Laâbi.” He received a master’s degree in comparative literature from the New Sorbonne University (University of Paris III), where he completed his undergraduate degree in modern languages. He also holds a master’s degree in engineering from the École des Mines d’Alès engineering school in southern France and has previously worked as a consultant and project manager in Paris and London. His research interests include contemporary fiction and poetry in French, literary theory, and translation, especially in North Africa. Besides his academic work, he has published a novel, Un Roman Etranger (Paris: Présence Africaine Editions, 2017).

Kaneesha Parsard (English Language and Literature) comes to UChicago after an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship at Northwestern University. She received a PhD, MA, and MPhil in American studies and African American studies and a doctoral certificate in women’s, gender, and sexuality studies, all at Yale University.

Parsard’s research examines the aftermath of slavery and Indian indentureship in the literature and visual culture of the English-speaking Caribbean. She received a fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies to complete her dissertation, “Improper Dwelling: Space, Sexuality, and Colonial Modernity in the British West Indies, 1838–1962.” Her BA, in English and Africana Studies, is from the University of Pennsylvania.

Julia Phillips (Visual Arts) received her MFA from Columbia University and completed the Whitney Museum’s independent study program for studio art.

Phillips holds a diploma from the Academy of Fine Arts in Hamburg, Germany, where she was born and raised. Alongside a semester at Complutense University in Madrid, she has attended international residency programs, such as Vila Sul in Salvador, Brazil. As a visual artist, she primarily works with ceramics and metal, creating pieces reminiscent of functional objects. Her sculptures often incorporate body casts alongside mechanical accoutrements, interrogating physical relations as metaphors for social dynamics. More recently, her work has been inspired by historical personages such as Josephine Baker and Escrava Anastacia. Her exhibitions include Failure Detection—her first institutional solo exhibition—at MoMA PS1, and she also participated in the 10th Berlin Biennale, “We don’t need another hero,” and the New Museum Triennial, “Songs for Sabotage.”

Tina Post (English Language and Literature) holds a PhD, MA, and MPhil from Yale University in American studies and African American studies.

Post’s dissertation is titled “Deadpan Aesthetics in Black Expressive Culture.” She also received an MFA in creative writing and literary arts (nonfiction) from the University of Alaska–Anchorage, and her BA—from Wells College—is in English literature.

Erik Zyman (Linguistics) received his PhD in linguistics from the University of California–Santa Cruz.

Zyman’s dissertation is titled “On the Driving Force for Syntactic Movement.” His undergraduate degree, also in linguistics, is from Princeton University. Zyman is a theoretical syntactician: he seeks to determine the rules and principles governing how words (and smaller linguistic units) can and cannot be combined to form larger units, how these rules and principles do and do not vary across languages, and what their cognitive (and other) underpinnings are. A major priority of Zyman’s research is identifying, as precisely as possible, the elementary operations that build the syntactic structures of human language and determining why they have the properties they do.