Meet the New Faculty

Before coming to UW, Professor Laila Amine most recently taught at the University of North Texas. She specializes in Twentieth and Twenty-First Century African American and African Diaspora Studies with a focus on race, migration, and colonial legacies. Her book, Postcolonial Paris: Fictions of Intimacy in the City of Light was recently published by the University of Wisconsin Press. Professor Amine received her Ph.D. from Indiana University, Bloomington.

Q: Is there a “dream course” that you’d like to teach one day but haven’t gotten the chance to yet?

A: Right now, I’m dreaming up a course on Black Life Narratives that would bring African American and African Diaspora memoirs in conversation. What I hope students would get out of the course are new insights about race and subjectivity through the juxtaposition of American, African, and European contexts.

Q: What’s your favorite text to teach and why?

A: I don’t have a favorite text; there are too many good ones to choose. I love teaching Toni Morrison’s Beloved, because students find it so generative to discuss both in terms of thematic content and style. Other excellent ones I would recommend are Zadie Smith’s White Teeth which covers three generations of immigrants from Jamaica and Bangladesh in London and Michelle Cliff’s Caribbean classic No Telephone to Heaven.

Q: What do you consider your best non-academic skills?

I’ve been honing my Zumba skills for the past four years and it’s kept me happy and healthy.


Professor Ainehi Edoro joins us after teaching at Marquette University. She earned her Ph.D. from Duke University. Professor Edoro specializes in African literature, political theory, and literature in social media; her current book project is titled Forest Imaginaries: How African Novels Think. Professor Edoro is also the founder and editor of the website Brittle Paper: An African Literary Experience.

Q: What are you enjoying about Madison so far?

I love how family friendly Madison is. I have a 3-year-old daughter. It has been fun discovering the many parks and recreational sites in the city. I remember being amazed, after a few days of moving here in August, when I discovered that within a 5-mile radius of my home, there were tons of things children could do. My husband and I are foodies, so we began scouting for the best coffee places, cocktail hangouts, and exciting restaurants pretty much the day after we arrived. And I have to say we’ve discovered a few gems.

Q: What’s your favorite text to teach and why?

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. It is one of the most read but also misread texts, which makes it fun to teach. I particularly enjoy teaching it to American students, in part, because I know it is the one African novel they most likely have read. But I also know that they are coming into the text with all kind of questionable assumptions about what African fiction is and how to make sense of it. They have most likely had teachers who taught the book with a focus on conventional themes. They’ve talked about how the book explores colonialism, hyper-masculinity, etc., emphasizing the text’s anthropological value. I love bursting this anthropological bubble by showing students all the amazing stuff Achebe is doing at the level of form and world building.

Q: You are the founder of Brittle Paper, a website covering African writing and literary culture. Who is a writer you’ve encountered there that everyone will be reading soon/should be reading now?

Romeo Oriogun comes easily to mind. We published his poem titled “Metamorphosis” on Brittle Paper a couple of years ago at a time when certain African literary sites refused to publish writings exploring LGBTQ experiences. He is currently a fellow at Harvard where he is working on a poetry collection. He is one to watch out for.  There is also Safia Elhillo, who we have also published. She is a Sudanese-American poet. Her book The January Children is a fantastic read. She does really interesting things with English-Arabic linguistic hybrids and explores displacement through very clever use of spatial imagery. Seriously, I can’t recommend her book enough.


Professor Yanie Fecu comes to Madison after completing her Ph.D. at Princeton University. Professor Fecu specializes in 20th and 21st century Anglophone and Francophone Caribbean literature, with particular interests in auditory culture, postcolonial theory, and history of science.

Q: What courses will you be teaching here at UW-Madison?

A: This fall I’m teaching “Noise and American Literature,” which traces the history of audio technologies from the phonograph to the iPod alongside short stories and novels preoccupied with sound/music. I’m also teaching a course entitled “Words, Music, Diaspora,” an introductory survey of Caribbean-American and African American literature with a focus on how different musical genres shape our understanding of racial discrimination and social belonging.

Q: What’s your favorite text to teach and why?

 A: My first instinct was to go with a work of Caribbean literature, since that’s my primary field, but I’ll actually say an article by Jonathan Sterne entitled “The MP3 as Cultural Artifact.” I’m a big fan of scholarship that helps us think through our conscious and unconscious habits around interacting with sound technologies. Discussing the mp3 also means discussing the impact of digitization on composing, formatting, buying, and listening to music today.

Q: Imagine you are talking with someone who is new to neo-soul music but is eager to learn more about the genre. What five neo-soul albums would you recommend this hypothetical person pick up to start their collection?

A: D’Angelo, Brown Sugar (1995); Lauryn Hill, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (1998); Erykah Badu, Baduizm (1997); Janelle Monae, The ArchAndroid (2010); Frank Ocean, Channel Orange (2012); Solange, A Seat at the Table (2016)


Professor Kristina Huang’s research focuses on the transmission of texts in the Black Atlantic world as avenues for relocating forms of political solidarity and community among diasporic subjects in the Caribbean and the Americas. She received her Ph.D. from the Graduate Center of CUNY, where she was awarded the 2018 Melvin Dixon Prize for Best Dissertation in African American Studies. Professor Huang recently completed a postdoc at Reed College.

Q: What are you enjoying about Madison so far?

A: I visited the Chazen Museum recently, and saw Mandy at the Cinematheque – I enjoyed both those experiences very much. I look forward to getting to know Madison through the people who live here.

Q: What’s your favorite text to teach and why?

A: Saidiya Hartman’s “Venus in Two Acts” and Michel-Rolph Trouillot’s Silencing the Past are important texts that everyone should read and return to. They appear often on my syllabi, usually at the beginning of the semester because they point to how racial violence is structured and reproduced through institutions and habits of thought. Both Hartman’s essay and Trouillot’s book are written beautifully and clearly, and they are accessible works that ask difficult questions, including: how do we confront the ways in which anti-Blackness circulates between past and present?

Q: What do you consider your best non-academic skills?

 A: I’m a trained violinist! But I’ve been out of practice…