Kinohi Nishikawa

Assistant Professor & John E. Annan Bicentennial Preceptor
Department of English & Department of African American Studies
Ph.D, Literature
Duke University
B54 McCosh Hall
office phone:
(609) 258-6494
Kinohi Nishikawa

Kinohi Nishikawa specializes in African American literature and modern print culture. He earned his A.B. in English summa cum laude from Dartmouth College and his Ph.D. in Literature from Duke University. From 2010-2012 he was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of African American Studies at Northwestern University. His work has been supported by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

His first book is a study of black pulp fiction’s uncanny origins in girlie magazines and sleaze paperbacks of the 1960s. His major work in progress considers the important yet overlooked role book design (e.g., typography, paper quality, cover art) has played in shaping modern African American literature. His essays and articles elaborate on these long-term interests with specific case studies of black book and periodical history.

Recent publications includes a chapter on Donald Goines’s graphic novel Daddy Cool in the edited comics collection The Blacker the Ink (Rutgers, 2015), an essay on the politics of reading urban fiction in PMLA (2015), and an article on Black Arts Movement editor Hoyt W. Fuller in Chicago Review (2016). His “The Archive on Its Own: Black Politics, Independent Publishing, and The Negotiations” won the 2015 Katherine Newman Best Essay Award from MELUS.

Forthcoming publications include essays on action-adventure novelist Joseph Nazel, Paris expatriate Melvin Van Peebles, and urban fiction author and Trenton, New Jersey, native Wahida Clark.


AAS 212/ENG 212
What’s So Funny? Forms of African American Humor

What’s so funny? is a question that could be turned around to ask: Who’s laughing? Comedian Dave Chappelle might say it’s a question about who gets the joke, and who doesn’t. This survey of African American humor is an introduction to getting the joke. We study the technical artistry of black humorists and comedians and reflect on the audiences for whom they write and perform. We examine a range of cultural expression, from the dozens to stand-up comedy. In our critical and creative work, we assess how past forms and strategies can be adapted to the project of African American humor today

AMS 360 / ENG 387 / AAS 360
Afro-Asian Masculinities

This course undertakes a comparative, cross-cultural analysis of African American and Asian American social formations. In doing so, it aims to highlight when and how seemingly distinct racial and ethnic experiences have come together on matters of labor, citizenship, international politics, and especially gender and sexual ideology. It attends to cross-cultural dialogue as well: for example, in the martial arts (Bruce Lee) and hip hop (Wu-Tang Clan). The course offers a unique opportunity to bring ethnic studies, black studies, and gender studies into dynamic conversation.

ENG 556 / AAS 556
African-American Literature: The Archival Turn

If the institutionalization of African American literary history entailed constructing a usable past, what does the field’s recent archival turn recommend for future study? The seminar takes up this question as a matter of critical inquiry and research practice. We survey foundational and contemporary black archive theory, paying special attention to problems of history and memory, loss and recovery. At the same time, we grapple with the politics and procedures of actually doing archival research, weighing our desire to tell new stories against the realization that sometimes we cannot.