April Langley

April Langley
Associate Professor; Chair of Black Studies (she, her, hers)
326 Gentry
Areas of Study: 
African Diaspora Studies
American Literature to 1914
Critical Theory
Women's and Gender Studies in English
Research and Teaching: 

18th- and 19th-century Africana and American Literature and theory

April Langley began teaching at the University of Missouri in 2001, when she joined the faculty as an Assistant Professor of English in the newly developed area concentration of African Diaspora Studies. She graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in English from Mills College; she attended the University of Notre Dame and received her PhD in English in 2001. Langley specializes in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century African American and American Literature and Theory. Her courses include such topics as early black narrative forms (conversion, captivity, slave narration, travel, and spiritual autobiography), eighteenth-century Afro-British American poetics, and nineteenth-century black women writers. Her interdisciplinary research integrates African Diaspora literature, African, American and African American Studies, and Black Feminist/Womanist theory and criticism. She has published articles in The Western Journal of Black Studies, a/b: Autobiography Studies, bma/Sonia Sanchez Literary Review, as well as review essays for Legacy and Early American Literature. Her recent book, The Black Aesthetic Unbound: Theorizing the Dilemma of Self and Identity in Eighteenth-Century African American Literature (Ohio State University Press), explores the culturally specific African origins of the eighteenth-century Afro-British American literary and cultural self through a conceptualization of the dilemma posed by competing African, American, and British cultural identities. Additional book projects include Looking for Phillis, an in-depth study on the Senegambian poetics and oral traditions that influence the poetry of Phillis Wheatley. She is also a Phi Beta Kappa member, 2001 AAUW fellow, and a 2003-2005 Postdoctoral Fellow in African and Afro-American Studies at Washington University in St. Louis.


PhD 2001, University of Notre Dame

Select Publications: 
  • The Black Aesthetic Unbound: Theorizing the Dilemma of and Eighteenth-Century African-American Literature Columbus: Ohio State UP, 2008
  • "The Eighteenth-Century Black Wor(l)d and Early Writers' Biblical Literacy" Beyond Douglass: New Perspectives on Early African-American Literature Apercus: Histories, Texts Cultures a Bucknell Series Lewisburg: Buckness UP, 2008
  • Early American Slave Narratives Oxford Handbook of Early American Literaure Oxford University Press, 2008 Editor Kevin Hayes
  • "Interesting Exchanges: Cultural Expeditions and Rhetorical Acquisitions in The Interesting Narrative of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa the African." BMa: The Sonia Sanchez Literary Review Fall 2003 (Issue 9.1)
  • "Imagined Post-Coloniality and 'Natural' Coloniality: The Production of Space in Phillis Wheatley's 'Niobe in Distress for her Children Slain by Apollo'." A/B: Auto/Biography Studies Spring 2002 (Issue 16.2)
  • Western Journal of Black Studies Winter 2001 (Issue 25.1)
  • "Lucy Terry Prince: The Cultural and Literary Legacy of Africana Womanism" Western Journal of Black Studies Fall 2001 (Issue 25.3)
Awards and Honors: 
  • University of Missouri Golden Chalk Award
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship in African and Afro-American Studies
  • American Association of University Women (AAUW) Dissertation Fellowship