Michael Sawyer

Associate Professor of African American Literature & Culture

Michael Sawyer is an Associate Professor of African American Literature & Culture, a faculty affiliate of Africana Studies, and the Director of Graduate Studies for the Department of English. His work endeavors to render inoperable the disciplinary boundaries between philosophy, theory, literary critique, and aesthetics. He has published two monographs, An Africana Philosophy of Temporality: Homo Liminalis (Palgrave:2018) and Black Minded: The Political Philosophy of Malcolm X (Pluto: 2020). He has begun work on two new book projects. The first, The Door of No Return: A Phenomenology of Blackness, endeavors to articulate a theory of the Black subject that reaches beyond the limitations of the notion of anti-Blackness as an irreducible and omnipresent feature of the world as we know it. The second, Ramifications of Ramifications: A Hermeneutics of Toni Morrison, is preoccupied with the oeuvre of the Nobel Laureate, presupposing that the author is engaged in a long philosophical meditation on the nature of Blackness. The Morrison project has a visual component that is supported by Michael’s artist residency at the ONX Studio in New York City. He is the co-editor of The Journal of French and Francophone Studies and a member of the editorial boards of Critical Times and Political Concepts: A Critical Lexicon. Michael holds a Bachelor of Science from the United States Naval Academy. He attended the University of Chicago where he earned a master’s degree in International Security Policy before completing an MA in Comparative Literature and a PhD in Africana Studies at Brown University.

    Education & Training

  • PhD (Africana studies), Brown University
  • MA (comparative literature), Brown University
  • Master's degree (international security policy), University of Chicago
  • BS, United States Naval Academy