Dr. Roberta Wolfson

Assistant Professor

English Major Advisor

Office: Bldg. 47-35B
Phone: 756-2491
E-mail: wolfson@calpoly.edu
Website: robertawolfson.com

faculty office hours






Ph.D. English, University of California, Santa Barbara, 2017
Certificate in College and University Teaching, University of California, Santa Barbara, 2017
M.A. English, University of California, Santa Barbara, 2012
B.A. English, University of California, Los Angeles, 2009, summa cum laude

Teaching and Research Interests

20th- and 21st-Century US Literature
Multi-ethnic US Literatures (Asian American, African American, and Chicanx/Latinx)
Comparative Race Studies
Critical Mixed Race Studies
Popular Culture
Speculative Fiction

Courses Taught

ENGL 346: Ethnic American Literature
ENGL/HNRS 347: African American Literature 
ENGL 348: Asian American Literature
ENGL 381: Muslim American Literature
ENGL 511: Refiguring Islam After 9/11
ENGL 513: African American Literature

Selected Publications

“Race Leaders, Race Traitors, and the Necropolitics of Black Exceptionalism in Paul Beatty’s Fiction.” The Plantation, the Postplantation, and the Afterlives of Slavery, special issue of American Literature, vol. 91, no. 3, 2019, pp. 619-647. 

“Chicano Gang Members at Risk: Containment, Flight, and an Alternative Vision of Sociality in Luis J. Rodriguez’s Always Running.MELUS: Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States, vol. 43, no. 1, 2018, pp. 21-45. 

Selected Conference Presentations

“(Mis)Reading the Arab Body as (Non)Human in Laila Halaby’s Once in a Promised Land.” Modern Language Association 2020 Convention. Seattle, WA. 11 Jan. 2020.

“Speculative Reimaginings of the Global Refugee Crisis in Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West. Modern Language Association 2020 Convention. Seattle, WA. 9 Jan. 2020. 

“Imagining the Dystopian Future of U.S. Immigration in Sabrina Vourvoulias’ Ink.” American Studies Association 2019 Convention. Honolulu, HI. 9 Nov. 2019. 

“Passing Away and Racial Passing in Celeste Ng’s Everything I Never Told You.” Association for Asian American Studies 2019 Convention. Madison, WI. 26 Apr. 2019. 

"Antiracist Absurdities: Reanimating Necropolitics and Reaffirming that Black Lives Matter in Paul Beatty's The Sellout." Modern Language Association 2019 Convention. Hyatt Regency, Chicago, IL. 5 Jan. 2019.

"Environmental Precarity in the Refugee Narrative." American Studies Association 2018 Convention. Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA. 10 Nov. 2018.

"Rewriting the History of the Vietnam War and Its Aftermath in Viet Thanh Nguyen's The Sympathizer." American Literature Association 2018 Convention. Hyatt Regency, San Francisco, CA. 26 May 2018.

"'We Lacked Allies': Searching for Cross-Cultural Solidarity in May-Lee Chai's Hapa Girl." Association for American Studies 2018 Convention. Westin St. Francis, San Francisco, CA. 31 Mar. 2018.

“Graphic Memoir as Visual Testimony: Documenting the Injustice of Japanese Internment in Miné Okubo’s Citizen 13660.” Modern Language Association 2018 Convention. Sheraton Times Square, New York, NY. 6 Jan. 2018.

“The Antiracist Lens of Latinx Speculative Fiction: Imagining Resistance to Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric and Policy in Sabrina Vourvoulias’ Ink.” Pacific Ancient Modern Language Association 2017 Convention. Chaminade University, Honolulu, HI. 10 Nov. 2017.

“Community in Contagion: Refiguring Infection through Medical Memoir.” Popular/American Culture Association 2017 Convention. Marriott Marquis and Marina, San Diego, CA. 12 Apr. 2017.

“Land-Labor Ecology: Contesting Anti-Immigration Environmental Risk Discourse in Viramontes’ Under the Feet of Jesus.” American Studies Association 2016 Convention. Denver Convention Center, Denver, CO. 17 Nov. 2016.

“The Temporal Horizontality of Speculative Fiction: Capturing Slavery’s Reality through Fantasy in Octavia Butler’s Kindred.” American Literature Association 2016 Convention. Hyatt Regency, San Francisco, CA. 27 May 2016.

“The Token Success Story: Exploring Racism Disguised as Civility in Paul Beatty’s The White Boy Shuffle.” Modern Language Association 2016 Convention. Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX. 8 Jan. 2016.

“Playing with Humor in the Risk-Saturated Era of Islamophobia: Comedic Commentary in Zarqa Nawaz’s Little Mosque on the Prairie.” Modern Language Association 2015 Convention. Vancouver Convention Center, Vancouver, Canada. 10 January 2015.

“Redefining the Immigrant Threat: How Luis Rodriguez’s Always Running Challenges U.S. Risk Discourses.” Northeast Modern Language Association 2014 Convention. Hilton, Harrisburg, PA. 5 April 2014.

“Visions of Apocalypse as Therapy: Facing Fears through Imaginings of the Worst-Case Scenario.” Southwest Popular/American Culture Association Annual Convention. Hyatt Regency, Albuquerque, NM. 15 Feb. 2013.

Fellowships, Awards, and Honors

College of Liberal Arts Summer Research Grant, Cal Poly SLO (2019)
Community Service Award for Faculty Commitment to Service Learning Nomination, Cal Poly SLO (2019) 
BEACoN Research and Mentoring Network Grant, Cal Poly SLO (2018-19)
Research, Scholarly, and Creative Activities Grant, Cal Poly SLO (2018-19)
President's Diversity Award for Faculty, Finalist, Cal Poly SLO (2018)
Service Learning Faculty Fellowship, Cal Poly SLO (2017-18)
American Cultures and Global Contexts Center Graduate Fellowship,UCSB (2014-2015)
Graduate Division Humanities and Social Sciences Research Grant, UCSB (2014)
Chicano Studies Institute Dissertation Research Grant, UCSB (2014)
William and Marjorie Frost Award for Scholarly Writing in English, UCSB (2013)
Eugene Cota-Robles Diversity Enhancement Fellowship, UCSB (2010-2012)

Professional Memberships and Affiliations

American Studies Association
Association for Asian American Studies
Circle for Asian American Literary Studies
Critical Mixed Race Studies Association
Modern Language Association
Popular Culture/American Culture Association
The Society for the Study of the Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States


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