Join us for a virtual study group facilitated by Dr. Sarita Nyasha Cannon.

What: Monthly live sessions + optional online discussion forums and prompts

When: Thursdays 7pm
Start date: June 25th


The worldwide protests against police brutality and institutionalized racism following the killing of George Floyd in police custody on May 25th have inspired many people from all backgrounds to learn more about Black history, culture, and literature.  As an educator, I believe that reading, discussion, and self-reflection are essential to both individual transformation and collective revolution.  In that spirit, I am honored to lead a study group that traces narratives of Black resistance and resilience in the United States over the past two centuries.  We will read five works of literature written by African Americans between 1861 and 2015, paying attention to the rhetorical strategies employed by these writers as well as focusing on how they reflect the particular historical moments in which they lived. No prior knowledge or background in literary analysis is required. I look forward to lively conversations about these amazing pieces of literature, conversations that allow us to reflect on the different ways that people of African descent in the United States have resisted white supremacy and created resilient communities. 

Book List:

  • Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs (1861)
  • Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man by James Weldon Johnson (1912)
  • A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry (1959)
  • Zami: A New Spelling of My Name – A Biomythography by Audre Lorde (1982)
  • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (2015)


Sarita Nyasha Cannon is Professor of English at San Francisco State University where she teaches 20th-century American Literature. She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University with an A.B. in Literature, earned a Ph.D. in English from University of California, Berkeley, and held a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in American Indian Studies at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Cannon’s scholarship on multiethnic literatures, critical pedagogy, and feminist theory has appeared in Interdisciplinary Humanities, Asian American Literature: Discourses and Pedagogies, MELUS, The CEA Critic, African Voices, Ethnic Studies Review, and Biography.  A global citizen committed to cross-cultural exchange, she has presented her work at conferences in Spain, France, Portugal, Japan, South Africa, Tunisia, Morocco, Ghana, and Australia. Dr. Cannon’s book manuscript, “Black-Native Autobiographical Acts: Navigating the Minefields of Authenticity,” examines Black-Native narratives across a wide range of autobiographical modes from the early twentieth century to the present in order to show how people of African and Indigenous ancestry have engaged in anti-hegemonic modes of self-inscription that challenge both racial and generic boundaries.