Kinohi Nishikawa

Associate Professor
Department of African American Studies & Department of English
Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS)
Office Phone
B54 McCosh Hall
Office Hours
Thursday: 10:30 am-12:30 pm

A.B. summa cum laude with High Honors in English, Dartmouth College
M.A. in Literature, Duke University
Ph.D. in Literature, Duke University


Kinohi Nishikawa specializes in twentieth- and twenty-first-century African American literature, book history, and popular culture. At Princeton he teaches undergraduate courses on African American humor and African American literary history and graduate seminars on Black archive studies and Black aesthetic theory.

Nishikawa’s first book, Street Players: Black Pulp Fiction and the Making of a Literary Underground, was published by the University of Chicago Press in 2018. His major work in progress is Black Paratext, a study of how book design has influenced the production and reception of African American literature from the rise of the modern paperback in the 1940s to the contemporary book arts scene. Nishikawa has published widely on modern African American print culture, with a particular emphasis on newspapers, magazines, and independent presses.

Nishikawa is curator of the Black Independent Film series for the Princeton Garden Theatre and Renew Theaters’ Deep Focus seminars. He is also advisor to the Sites of Memory exhibition of the Toni Morrison Papers at the Princeton University Library, which is lead curated by Professor Autumn Womack. Nishikawa is collaborating with Professor Womack on a book that considers how Morrison’s archiving practices played a key role in her development as a writer, critic, and multimedia artist.

Recent publications include an essay on Percival Everett’s novel Telephone, which was issued in three versions simultaneously, in Novel: A Forum on Fiction (2022) and an article on the design and redesigns of editions of Ishmael Reed’s novel Mumbo Jumbo in Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America (2022). Nishikawa has also contributed chapters to the edited collections Are You Entertained? New Essays on Black Popular Culture in the Twenty-First Century (Duke, 2020); Ralph Ellison in Context (Cambridge, 2021); and Race in American Literature and Culture (Cambridge, 2022).

Selected Publications
  • “Reading Invisible Man by Design.” Ralph Ellison in Context. Ed. Paul Devlin. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2021. 327-41.
  • “Black Pagecraft.” PMLA 136.3 (2021): 447-54.
  • “Driven by the Market: African American Literature after Urban Fiction.” Special issue “Publishing American Literature, 1945-2000,” ed. Lee Konstantinou and Dan Sinykin. American Literary History 33.2 (2021): 320-49.
  • “From Poet to Publisher: Reading Gwendolyn Brooks by Design.” The Contemporary Small Press: Making Publishing Visible. Ed. Georgina Colby, Kaja Marczewska, and Leigh Wilson. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2020. 47-71.
  • “The Kindle Era: DIY Publishing and African-American Readers.” The Edinburgh History of Reading: Subversive Readers. Ed. Jonathan Rose. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2020. 313-32.
  • “Black Women Readers and the Uses of Urban Fiction.” Are You Entertained? Black Popular Culture in the Twenty-First Century. Ed. Simone C. Drake and Dwan K. Henderson. Durham: Duke University Press, 2020. 268-87.