Rafael Walker


Location: VC 7-253

Phone: (646) 312-3992


Rafael Walker, assistant professor of English at Baruch College, specializes in American and African American literature, theory of the novel, and gender and sexuality studies. A wide-ranging scholar, he is working on two book-length projects at present—one on the American realist novel and the other on biraciality in American culture. The first project, “Realism after Individualism: Women, Desire, and the Modern American Novel,” traces the remarkable ways in which early-twentieth-century American writers adapted the realist novel to the peculiar conditions of their age, a task that required a decisive break from their European predecessors. The second project, “Black Lives? Biraciality in American Literature and Culture,” focuses on a long line of writings about—and often by—mixed black-and-white people in the U.S.  Maintaining that scholars have mostly erred in classifying these texts as works of African American literature, Walker argues that these writers’ fervent attempts to carve out space in the American imagination for biracial existence constitute a distinct tradition.

Essays related to both of these longer projects have appeared or will appear soon in a variety of venues—J19, Twentieth-Century Literature, Studies in the Novel, and Genre among them. His essay “Nella Larsen Reconsidered: The Trouble with Desire in Quicksand and Passing,” published in MELUS, won the Modern Language Association’s 2016 Crompton-Noll Award for Best Essay in LGBTQ Studies. He also occasionally writes about issues in higher education; some of his work in this vein has appeared in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Before coming to Baruch, he taught at several colleges and universities along the East Coast. Here, he teaches courses in his various areas of specialization—primarily American and African American fiction—as well as courses in Baruch’s scintillating Great Works Program.

He earned a Ph.D. in English Literature at the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. at Washington University in St. Louis.

The City University of New York