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Cynthia Young

core faculty, african & african diaspora studies


Ph.D., American Studies, Yale University, 1999
M.A., American Studies, Yale University, 1994
B.A., English, Columbia University, 1991


Cynthia Young joined the faculty of Boston College in the fall of 2005 and served as Associate Professor of English and Director of African & African Diaspora Studies until 2009. Previous to her appointment at Boston College, she was Assistant Professor of English and American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California.

Dr. Young has received numerous awards for her research, including four Rockefeller Foundation postdoctoral fellowships and research grants and a Ford Foundation dissertation fellowship. Her research interests include the literature and culture of the African diaspora, U.S. popular culture, race and cultural theory, and African America and U.S. ethnic literatures. Dr. Young's most recent project center on black British and black American cultural politics and popular culture in the post-September 11th world.

Dr. Young has served as a faculty advisor and on the dissertation committees for numerous students in both the English and American Studies and Ethnicity programs at USC and continues to do so for students in English and African and African Diaspora Studies at Boston College. While at USC, she also served at the faculty advisor to Rock Flower, a feminist arts and artists' network.

A sought-after speaker, presenter, and collaborator, Dr. Young's experience with a wide range of organizations and publications is outlined fully below. For an example of her work, please see "Havana Up In Harlem: LeRoi Jones, Harold Cruse and The Making of a Cultural Revolution," featured in Science and Society's Winter 2001 issue. (The above link is a PDF document.)

Selected Publications

  • Soul Power: Culture, Radicalism and the Making of a U.S. Third World Left (Durham: Duke University Press, forthcoming July 2006)
  • "Havana Up In Harlem: LeRoi Jones, Harold Cruse and The Making of a Cultural Revolution," Science and Society, Winter 2001: 12-38
  • "Same Side of a Badass Coin: Postmodern Racism in Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction," Dispositio/n, XX. 47 (1995): 59-77
  • "On Strike at Yale," Minnesota Review, Numbers 45-6, May 1996: 179-195
  Book Chapters
  • "The Vexing Modes of Transnational Cultural Exchange," Immigration and Migration, Social Change, Cultural Transformations. Emory Elliot ed. University of California Press, forthcoming 2006.
  • "Third World Newsreel: Third Cinema in the U.S.," Ethnic Media in America. Book 2: Taking Control. Guy Meiss & Alice A. Tait, eds. Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt Publishing, 2005: 31-59
  • "Angela Davis and the U.S. Third World Left," Revolutions of the Mind: Cultural Studies in the African Diaspora Project, 1996-2002. Dionne Bennett, Candace Moore, Ulli K. Ryder and Jakobi Williams, eds. Los Angeles: CAAS Publications, 2003: 3-10
  Other Writings, Reviews, and Interviews
  • Review of Trudier Harris Saints, Saviors and Sinners: Strong Black Women in African-American Literature. (New York: Palgrave) and Maurice Wallace, Constructing the Black Masculine: Identity and Ideality in African American Men's Literature and Culture, 1775-1995. (Durham: Duke University Press) in Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 30:3 (Spring 2005): 1963-1967
  • Review of Matthew Pratt Guterl, The Color of Race in America, 1900-1940. (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press) in African American Review, 37: 2-3 (Summer/Fall 2003): 438-440.
  • "An Interview with Alina Troyano (aka Carmelita Tropicana)" in USC Center for Feminist Research Newsletter 15:1 (Fall 2002): 6-7, 20
  • "'Cultural Work Ain't All Arts and Leisure': A Critical Look at Social Decay and Transformation" in Against the Current, XVII: 1 (March-April 2002): 36-40
  • "Punishing Labor: Why Labor Should Oppose the Prison Industrial Complex" in New Labor Forum. Number 7, Fall/Winter 2000: 41-55
  • Guest Editor, Special Section: "Higher Education Inc.," New Labor Forum, Number 6, Spring/Summer 2000: 71-117
  • "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner," The Sixties in America, Salem Press, Inc., 1998: 329-331
  • "Black Indepen(ce)ts in the 1990s," Black Independents in the 90's, Third World Newsreel Catalog, February 1997, 1-2
  • "The White Negro and Superfly: Interracial Partnership and Race War in Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction," Screening Noir, 1: 2/3, March 1996, 1-3
  • "The Making of a Black Feminist Culture Critic: An Interview with Hazel Carby," Dispositio/n XXI. 48 (1996): 69-86
  • With Lori Brooks, "The History of African American Music," American Journey: Hands On History The African-American Experience a CD ROM collection (Thomson Gale Media, 1995)
  Works in Progress
  • Black British/Black American: Race, Cultural Studies and International Forms of Belonging
    This book project examines the articulation between questions of cultural production and national belonging in the U.S. and Britain. One of Soul Power's central preoccupations is political alienation, what I call "uneasy citizenship," and its ability to foster new forms of social belonging, cultural expression and international solidarity. I take up these questions by looking at Black British and Black American literature and culture to consider how they work to produce new group and individual relationships to the nation-state and represent and imagine forms of international solidarity and affiliation.
  • Afterburn: Culture After 9/11
    This collection of essays considers the contours of popular culture and contemporary literature in the wake of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Of particular interest are questions of black citizenship and immigrant exclusion. I consider a range of texts in order to decipher how African Americans and Latinos are being reinscribed as ideal citizens in contrast to new Asian and Arab immigrants who are inherently suspicious and inassimilable.


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