Berkeley English Lecturers and Postdocs

Alvin Henry

Alvin Henry

Ph.D. candidate,

Literature & Social Thought

Professional Statement

I study African American literature with a particular interest in genre, character, literary history, and ethnography. I have taught courses on black, world, and American literatures, psychoanalysis, race and sexuality, and the novel.

My dissertation argues for the importance of what I term the minority Bildungsroman, a genre that twentieth-century writers adopted to represent racial anxiety as well as its critical alternative. By looking at the minority Bildungsroman as a literary form that exposes the process of Bildung not as self-formation but as self-dissolution, I offer an important new perspective on the relationship between genre, race, and literary history.

Selected Publications and Papers Delivered

 “Toward a Second Mirror Stage: A General Theory of Disability in Invisible Man,” under review at American Literary History.

Editor and Introduction. Psychoanalysis in Context. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Press. Forthcoming 2013. Print.

“Nurturing Decay: Towards a Theory of the Asian American Novel,” presented May 2011, Asian American Studies Association conference, New Orleans, LA.

“The Ugly Laws: Disability and Race in Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man,” presented January 2011, Modern Language Association conference, Los Angeles, CA.

“The Broken Call-and-Response: Invisibility and Relationality in Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man,presented October 2010, Communicating Forms conference, U. Chicago.


Current Research

“Oral Histories from the Descendants of Former Slaves: Race and Memory”

This study collects oral histories from the descendants of former slaves. This is the first study that directly engages with the children and grandchildren of African Americans who suffered from enslavement. The oral histories qualitatively capture how both the experience and the memory of slavery have permeated into the lives of African Americans. This study is supported by the Center for Race & Gender and the Graduate Division at UC Berkeley.

English Department Classes

No recent courses taught.