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Syracuse University, College of Arts and Sciences

Casarae Lavada Abdul-Ghani

Casarae Lavada Abdul-Ghani smiling at the camera.

Assistant Professor

African American Studies

210 Sims Hall


Research and Teaching Interests

Casarae Lavada Abdul-Ghani is assistant-professor of African American Literature and Studies.

She specializes in Black protest literature, popular culture, hip hop studies, critical race theory, the Black Arts Movement, and the Digital Humanities. Her book project titled: “I’m Gonna Start A Riot!” Racial Unrest in Black Arts Movement Drama, Fiction, and Poetry examines the representations of racial unrest in the fictive works of Gwendolyn Brooks, Amiri Baraka, Sonia Sanchez, Ben Caldwell, and Henry Dumas. She argues that each writer’s works represents and contemplates racial unrest as a viable mode of protest, especially in answer to the assassinations of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr., the police shootings of unarmed Black youths, and other forms of state-sanctioned violence being committed against Black urban communities.

Beyond the manuscript, Abdul-Ghani serves as the 2019-2021 inaugural Lender Center for Social Justice Faculty Fellow. Along with four undergraduate and graduate co-fellows, their project titled: “The Social Justice #Hashtag Project: A Digital Humanities Study” examines social media as a methodology to uncover social justice trends that challenge global citizens to tackle explicit and implicit racial and gendered biases.

  • African American Literature and Culture: 20th and 21st Centuries
  • Protest Movements, Civil Unrest, and Resistance in Pre and Post Civil Rights Literature and Discourse
  • Black Arts Movement Literature and Methodology
  • Black Feminist Thought
  • Critical Race Theory
  • The Black Digital Humanities
  • African and African American Popular Culture
  • Afrofuturism
  • Hip Hop Studies and Performance

Current Courses

  • Introduction to African American Studies
  • African American Literature 20th and 21st Centuries
  • Protest Movements in African American Art and Literature
  • African American Popular Culture
  • Harlem Renaissance: Literature and Ideology
  • Arts, Cultures, and Literatures of the Pan-African World

Selected Publications

  • Abdul-Ghani, Casarae Lavada, “The Politics of Revolt in Ann Petry’s In Darkness and Confusion.” “Language of the Unheard”: Riot in American Literature and Culture, edited by Susan Gilmore, Lexington Books (Forthcoming).
  • Gibson, Casarae L. “Black Lives Matter in Henry Dumas’ “Riot or Revolt?” Modern Language Studies, vol. 48, no. 2, 2019, pp.38-54. Special Issue: “Riot on the American Cultural Stage.”
  • Gibson, Casarae L. “Social Media in Teaching Contemporary African American Protest Literature.” The Midwest Quarterly: A Journal of Contemporary Thought, vol. 59, no.4, 2018, pp.386-409.
  • Gibson, Casarae L. “Fight the Power:” Hip Hop and Civil Unrest in Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing.” Black Camera: An International Film Journal, vol. 8, no. 2, 2017, pp. 183-207. Close-Up: “Hip Hop Cinema.”
  • Gibson, Casarae and Venetria K. Patton. “Teaching Anna Deavere Smith’s Twilight through a Critical Race Theory Lens.” The National Journal of Urban Education and Practice 6.1 (2012): 69-83. Print.
  • “John Edgar Wideman,” “Henry Dumas,” “Dorothy Height,” “Russell Simmons,” "Anna Deavere Smith,” and “Aaliyah” for Great Lives from History: African Americans, edited by Carl L. Bankston III for Salem Press, 2011.

Fellowships and Grants

  • Syracuse University, Lender Center for Social Justice, Faculty Fellow, 2019-2021
  • Collaboration for Unprecedented Success and Excellence (CUSE) Grant Program, 2019
  • National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend, 2011


Inaugural Digital Humanities Research Symposium set for April 24

(April 19, 2018)

Student research within the digital space will be the focus of this campuswide event.