Marisa Parham

Associate Professor of English
Director, Five College Digital Humanities
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Education ⇢ PhD, M.Phil., M.A. – Columbia University : English and Comparative Literature | B.A. – Washington University : English, Political Science (IPE)

Research ⇢ Right now I am continuing an ongoing archival project on Octavia Butler and working on a “sooner” book on African Americans and the posthuman, and a “later” book on abstract equivalence in American culture. I am also completing a review of Mari Ruti for The Journal of French and Francophone Philosophy. Click here to visit my profile on

Publications ⇢ I am the author of Haunting and Displacement in African American Literature and Culture. Previous to that I wrote a college guide, published by The Princeton Review.

Over the last year I have co-edited a volume of The CLR James Journal with John Drabinski, published an article on Édouard Glissant reading William Faulkner (in that same volume), and was also commissioned for a short thought-piece, inspired by the sculptor Roland Persson’s Dreamrooms (2013).

Talks and Papers ⇢ Most recently I have made presentations on my work on passing and the posthuman, MIA and heterotopic cosmopolitanisms, and on Janelle Monae and Afrofuturist aesthetics.

Teaching ⇢ Currently I teach classes focusing on African-American literary and cultural studies, modern American popular culture, and technologies and representation. I generally teach in one of two modes, either working to train students to use the insights of intersectionality, media theory, and postcolonial thinking to reconcile social and historical concerns with the techniques of literary hermeneutics, or helping them to critique but also to produce across different kinds of media, with an emphasis on the range of techniques now often referred to as “digital humanities.” In both kinds of classes I emphasize close attention to textual nuance and the development of clear, concise argumentation. This is as true for “paper” classes as it is for work with new media and digital humanities.

Classes I have taught in recent years include a lecture and production class on Spike Lee (co-taught w/ John Drabinski), Girlpower!, a digital humanities class focused on gender, feminism, and popular culture, Ghosts in Shells, which is a seminar on passing and the posthuman, and a seminar on space and time in Toomer, Faulkner, and Morrison. Next year I will be teaching a revamped introduction to African American literary and cultural study, and a course on Afrofuturism.

I have taught at Amherst College since 2001. Before that I taught for several years at Hunter College, and also taught high school students through Upward Bound (at Columbia’s Double Discovery Center).

Some Awards and Honors ⇢ Mellon Foundation teaching innovation grants; Senior Sabbatical Fellowship, Amherst College; Sheila Biddle Ford Foundation Fellow, W. E. B. DuBois Institute for African and African American Research (The Hutchins Center), Harvard University; Miner Crary Sabbatical Research Fellowship, Amherst College; Mellon-Mays Predoctoral and Doctoral Grants; Woodrow Wilson Travel & Research Grant; Marjorie Hope Nicholson Fellowship, Columbia University; magna cum laude, Washington University

Amherst College : Department of English
P.O. Box 5000 : Amherst, MA 01002
mparham [at] amherst [dot] edu
[Click here to contact me]