Raquel BakerAssistant Professor, English
PhD English Literary Studies, The University of Iowa, 2015
I earned a PhD in English Literary Studies from the University of Iowa. I specialize in Postcolonial Studies and 20th- and 21st-century African literatures in English. I received an MFA in Creative Writing from Mills College and a BA in Psychology from San Francisco State University. During my graduate study in California, I served as a writing tutor for the Prison University Project at San Quentin State Prison. Through that work, I realized how studying creative writing and literature helps make us human – even in inhuman places.
I continue to try to introduce my students to the power of story and imagination. My teaching interests include creative writing, contemporary African literatures and film, African science and speculative fiction, and literatures of the African diaspora. I am also interested in using digital platforms to enhance the teaching of writing as a mode of social inquiry and am proud of the work my students do in thinking through African literary texts.
The focus of my research is to examine representations of liberated consciousness in Anglophone African literatures to deepen my insights on subject formation in relation to race, gender, nationalist formations, market forces, technological advances, and postcoloniality. My main areas of interest are decolonial methodologies, theories of subject formation, and whiteness studies. I am interested in studying and thinking through decolonial practices, including ways to re-imagine and remake contemporary modes of identification. I use the study of postcolonial theory and African literature to deepen my understanding of the Black experience in the United States and develop cogent strategies to deconstruct whiteness as a central inheritance of colonial modernity.
Representative Courses Taught
- ENGL 240 Literary Genres in Translation
- ENGL 349 Perspectives in Multicultural Literatures
- ENGL 160 AfroCyberPunk
- ENGL 260 Introduction to Creative Writing
- ENGL 325 Major Non-Western Authors: Tsitsi Dangarembga (Zimbabwe)
- ENGL 355 Literatures of Africa and the Diaspora
- ENGL 345 Science/Fiction (co-taught with Dr. Blake Gillespie, Chemistry)
- ENGL 110 Multicultural Literature for Non-Majors
- ENGL 499 Independent Research Capstone Seminar
- UNIV 498 LatinX Speculative Fiction: An Anthology
African literatures in English, postcolonial studies, critical race theory, theories of subjectivity