Sonnet Retman

Associate Professor, American Ethnic Studies and Comparative History of Ideas
headshot of Sonnet Retman

Contact Information

PDL A514
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By appt


Sonnet Retman is a literary scholar who works on African American literature and culture.  Her work explores how narrative produces race as it intersects with constructions of gender, sexuality and class.  She is particularly interested in analyzing the meanings of racial representations as they bear on social relations of power.  Her research and teaching examines a variety of cultural texts—including literary, cinematic and musical works—drawing upon an interdisciplinary methodology that culls from critical race studies, legal studies, feminist theory, cultural history, anthropology and literary criticism and theory.  In her first book, Real Folks: Race and Genre in the Great Depression (Duke 2011), she investigates the racialized manufacture and contestation of the folk in the conjoined genres of documentary and satire in the 1930s.  She is presently working on a book about the literary ethnographies of the 1940s that registered the social effects of racial segregation to produce a counter history of the nation and its claims of democracy at the start of WWII.