Amadi Ozier

Position title: Assistant Professor

Degrees and Institutions

  • Ph.D., Literatures in English, Rutgers University, 2022
  • M.A., Literatures in English, Rutgers University, 2018
  • B.A., English and Creative Writing, University of West Georgia, 2013

Research Interests

Amadi Ozier is a scholar specializing in African American and African diasporic literature, with a particular interest in race in humor and psychoanalysis, performance studies, racial performance in theater culture and lynching culture, capitalism, and cultural history.

Ozier is currently working on a book entitled Senses of Humor: Joking Etiquette in African American Literature at the Turn of the Twentieth Century. The book recovers irony as a crucial artifact of black gentile self-definition by reclaiming subtlety, wit, and other mannered rhetorical gestures as overlooked features of black bourgeois art and performance that aim to discipline public representations of blackness. Ultimately, the book argues that black humorists used irony to index cultural anxieties about black representation for both intraracial and interracial readerships amid the development of an emerging black American middle class.

Their research has been generously supported by the Ford Foundation; the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; the Rutgers Center for Historical Analysis; the Beinecke Library at Yale University; and Sigma Tau Delta, the international English honors fraternity. Their work has been published or is forthcoming in Modernism/modernity, Social Text, Oxford Bibliographies in African American Studies, Early American Literature, and Oxford Handbook of African American Humor.

As a community builder with the Crown Heights Tenant Union and the Crown Heights C.A.R.E. Collective in Brooklyn, NY, Ozier’s work in housing advocacy and crisis response, mutual aid, and abolitionist popular education has been funded by the NYC Narrative Power Network for Health Equity and Racial Justice Project Grant from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. They have co-authored zines on various subjects including: police accountability, tenant organization, squatting, and direct action.



Forthcoming. “Lynching Modernism: Ulysses, America, and the Negro Minstrel Abroad.” Modernism/modernity.

Book chapters.

February 2020. “Theatre in the 19th Century.” Oxford Bibliographies in African American Studies.

Book reviews.

2017. “This Body Still Has Time: Jermaine Singleton’s Cultural Melancholy: Readings of Race, Impossible Mourning, and African American Ritual.” Social Text.

Courses Taught

Race Science and Science Fiction (ENG 182, Honors; ENG 173; ENG 141)
Harlem Renaissance and Afro-Modernism (ENG 461)
Mother + Land + Literature (ENG 375)
Property + Possession (ENG 829)