Orange Alert

Jennifer O’Reilly

Jennifer O’Reilly

Jennifer O’Reilly

Visiting Assistant Teaching Professor


African American Studies
206 Sims Hall


  • Ph.D., Department of English, Liverpool John Moores University, 2019 Dissertation: “‘Belief in magic is older than writing’: An Examination of Ethnographic and Literary Representations of African-based Belief Systems in the United States, 1928- 1988.”
  • M.A., Department of History (Cultural History), University of Liverpool, 2014
  • B.A., Departments of English and History, Manchester Metropolitan University, 2012
Research Interests
  • Representations of Africana religions in the cultural imagination
  • Ethnographies and literatures of African diasporic belief systems
  • African American folklore and folk cultures
  • Cultural histories of Black spirituality, conjure, and folk medicine
  • Black women’s ethnographic and fictional writing, especially writing that experiments with formal and generic boundaries
Previous Positions
  • Southern Connecticut State University
  • Sacred Heart University
  • Liverpool John Moores University

‘“We’re more than just pins and dolls and seeing the future in chicken parts’: Race, Magic, and Religion in American Horror Story: Coven.’’ European Journal of American Culture, vol. 38, no. 1, 2019, pp. 29-41. 

Selected Conference Papers

“Conjuring Ethnography: Reading Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon and Ntozake Shange’s Sassafrass, Cypress & Indigo as Ethnographic Fiction.” Contemporary Women’s Writing Association, Women Writing Race: Textual Interventions and Intersections Symposium. Virtual, September 2021.

“Representing Race and Voodoo in the Louisiana Federal Writers’ Project.” Invited Speaker at English Research Seminar Series. Southern Connecticut State University. New Haven, Connecticut. October 2017.

“‘The West’s Afro-American aesthetic is multicultural – it’s not black”: Ishmael Reed, Neo-Hoodoo, and the Challenge for Cultural Sovereignty.” British Association for American Studies Panel on ‘Writing Shared Futures: African American Literature and Racialisation’ at English: Shared Futures. Newcastle, England. July 2017.

“Revisiting Florida Folklore in the Work of Zora Neale Hurston and Harry Hyatt.” Joint Annual Meeting of the American Folklore Society and the International Society for Folk Narrative Research. Miami, Florida. October 2016.