Linfield alumna to discuss African American literature

Leslie Larkin '97Lesley Larkin, associate professor of English at Northern Michigan University, will present “What’s Race Got To Do With It? African American Literature and the Ethics of Reading,” on Thursday, April 6, at 7 p.m. in the Austin Reading Room in the Nicholson Library at Linfield College.

The event will be streamed and archived on the Linfield Live Facebook page.

Larkin, a 1997 Linfield graduate, will focus on her book, “Race and the Literary Encounter,” which addresses how black literature has challenged the notion that reading is a race-neutral act by modelling interventionist strategies to create anti-racist readers.

Larkin teaches courses in American literature, African American literature, women’s literature and literary theory at Northern Michigan University. Her first book, “Race and the Literary Encounter: Black Literature from James Weldon Johnson to Percival Everett,” published in 2015, traces the strategies developed by modern and contemporary Black writers to challenge, model and theorize modes of reading race. Her essays, on topics from prenatal ultrasound imaging and gender formation to reader ethics in “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” have been published in “LIT: Literature Interpretation Theory,” “MELUS: Multiethnic Literature of the United States,” “Reader: Essays in Reader-Oriented Theory, Criticism, and Pedagogy,” and “The Canadian Review of American Studies.” Larkin is currently working on a second book, tentatively titled “Reading in the Postgenomic Age,” which explores how United States and Canadian authors engage the overlapping of contemporary literary and scientific practice.

This lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Barbara Seidman at 503-883-2210 or