Goyal, Yogita


Kaplan 228
Tel: 310.825.4820 / Fax: 310.267.4339 / E-mail


Ph.D., Brown University, 2003

M.A., St. Stephen’s College, Delhi University, 1997

B.A. (Hons.), St. Stephen’s College, Delhi University, 1995


African American Literature, Anglophone African Literature, Black Atlantic/ Black Diaspora Studies, Novel, Postcolonial Literature and Theory, Transnational American Literature, Refugee Studies, and Slavery Studies.

Personal website:

I am Professor of English and African American Studies at UCLA. I study race and postcolonialism, with a special emphasis on African American and African literature from the nineteenth century to the present. My first book, Romance, Diaspora, and Black Atlantic Literature (Cambridge University Press, 2010), shifts the center of Black diaspora studies by considering Africa as constitutive of Black modernity, rather than its forgotten past. My second book, Runaway Genres: Global Afterlives of Slavery (NYU, 2019) tracks the emergence of slavery as the defining template through which current forms of human rights abuses are understood. The book received the René Wellek Prize from ACLA, the 2021 Perkins Prize from the International Society for the Study of Narrative and Honorable Mention for the James Russell Lowell Prize from MLA.

Several editorial projects continue and expand upon these inquires in U.S. and postcolonial studies: The Cambridge Companion to Transnational American Literature (2017) and The Cambridge Companion to Contemporary African American Literature (2023). I have also edited a special issue of Research in African Literatures on “Africa and the Black Atlantic” (2014), and co-edited two special issues: American Literary History on “Exiles, Migrants, and Refugees” (2022) and Representations on “Anticolonialism as Theory” (2023).

I have received a Distinguished Teaching Award, the Eby Award for the Art of Teaching from UCLA in 2022, an ACLS fellowship (2016-2017), the University of California President’s Office Faculty Fellowship (2007-2008), and an NEH grant as Scholar-in-Residence at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library, (2003-2004). I have broad interests in modern and contemporary literature and served as editor of the journal, Contemporary Literature, for British and Anglophone Fiction from 2015-2022, and President of the Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present (A.S.A.P.) from 2018-2019.

I regularly teach classes on slavery and migration, African diaspora literature, the global novel, and postcolonial theory, and was the Director of Departmental Honors for English from 2013-2016, and Undergraduate Vice Chair of English from 2019-2023. In 2019, I was Visiting Professor at the John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies, Freie Universität, Berlin.

I’m now working on “Aesthetics of Refuge,” a monograph on twenty-first century refugee literature and culture, and “Genres of Anticolonialism: Rethinking Failure, Plotting Revolution,” a study of mid-twentieth century anticolonial thought and its current revival. I’m also spearheading a set of initiatives to build more infrastructure for postcolonial studies, under the banner of The Association of Postcolonial Thought.


2023. Editor, The Cambridge Companion to Contemporary African American Literature. Cambridge University Press.

2023. Co-edited with Poulomi Saha, Special issue of Representations, “Anticolonialism as Theory.” 162.

2022. Co-edited with Gordon Hutner, Special issue of American Literary History, “Exiles, Migrants, and Refugees,” 34.3.

2019. Runaway Genres: The Global Afterlives of Slavery. New York University Press. NYU Amazon

2017. Editor, Cambridge Companion to Transnational American Literature. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge Amazon

2014. Guest Editor, Special Issue: Africa and the Black Atlantic, Research in African Literatures. Volume 45, Number 3. LINK

2010. Romance, Diaspora, and Black Atlantic Literature. Cambridge University Press. (Paperback 2015) Cambridge Amazon


2023. “An Abstract Architecture: John Keene’s Counternarratives.” Post 45.

2023. “Anticolonialism as Theory.” Representations, 162.1: 1-10.

2023. “The U.S. and Geomodernism.” Cambridge History of American Modernism, ed. Mark Whalan. Cambridge University Press: 33-46.

2023. “Afro-Futurist Speculations and Diaspora.” Cambridge Critical Concepts, Diaspora, ed. Angela Naimou. Cambridge University Press: 112-125.

2022. “Exiles, Migrants, and Refugees.American Literary History. 34.3: 853-862.

2022. “National Allegory and Beyond: Postcolonial Critique Now.” PMLA 137.3: 521-528.

2022. “Twentieth-Century Western Man of Color: Richard Wright, Race, and Rootlessness,” eds. Leslie Bow and Russ Castronovo, The Oxford Handbook to Twentieth Century American Literature: 171-188.

2022. “Standing at the Border.” American Literary History, 34.1: 186-198.

2021. “When Was the Afropolitan? Thinking Literary Genealogy.” PMLA 136.5: 778-784.

2020. “We Are All Migrants: The Refugee Novel and the Claims of Universalism.” Modern Fiction Studies 66.2 Summer: 239-259. [Winner of the Margaret Church Memorial Prize for 2020].

2020. “No Mere Slogans.” Review of Isabel Wilkerson’s Caste: The Origin of Our Discontents. Random House, 2020. The Los Angeles Review of Books

2019. “Postcolonial, Still.” Response to Forum on Forms of the Global Anglophone. Post 45

2019. “On Transnational Analogy: Thinking Race and Caste with W.E.B. Du Bois and Rabindranath Tagore.” Atlantic Studies: Global Currents 16.1: 54-71.

2019. “All of It Is Now: Slavery and the Post-Black Moment in Contemporary African American Literature.” Timelines of American Literature, eds. Cody Marrs and Christopher Hager. Johns Hopkins University Press: 228-242.

2018. “Un-American: Refugees and the Vietnam War.” PMLA 133 (2): 378-383.

2018. “No Strangers Here.” Los Angeles Review of Books.

2017. “We Need New Diasporas,” American Literary History, 29 4.1 (Winter): 640-663.

2017. “Third World Problems,” College Literature 44.4 (Fall): 467-474.

2017. “The Logic of Analogy: Slavery and the Contemporary Refugee,” Dossier on Contemporary Refugee Time-Spaces, ed. Angela Naimou. Humanity: An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism, and Development. 8.3 (Winter): 543-546. 

2017. “The Genres of Guantánamo Diary: Postcolonial Reading and the War on Terror.” The Cambridge Journal of Postcolonial Literary Inquiry. Special issue on Postcolonial Reading Publics, ed. Ankhi Mukherjee, 4.1: 69-87. 

2017. “Coming Home from Irony.” Interview with Percival Everett, Los Angeles Review of Books.

2017. “The Transnational Turn and Postcolonial Studies,” Cambridge Companion to Transnational American Literature, ed. Yogita Goyal. Cambridge University Press, 53-71. 

2017. “Introduction: The Transnational Turn.” Cambridge Companion to Transnational American Literature, ed. Yogita Goyal. Cambridge University Press, 1-15. 

2016. “Black Diaspora Literature and the Question of Slavery,” Edinburgh Companion to Atlantic Literary Studies, eds. Leslie Eckel and Claire Elliott, 146-160. 

2016. “Romance and Realism.” Oxford History of the Novel in English. Volume 11: The Novel in Africa and the Caribbean since 1950, ed. Simon Gikandi. Oxford University Press, 301-315.

2016. “African American Literature, Criticism, and Theory.” The Encyclopedia of Postcolonial Studies, eds. Sangeeta Ray, Henry Schwarz, José Luis Villacañas Berlanga, Alberto Moreiras, and April Shemak. Blackwell.

2015. “Gender and Geomodernisms” Cambridge Companion to the American Modernist Novel, ed. Joshua Miller.  Cambridge University Press, 89-105.

2014. “A Deep Humanness, A Deep Grace.”  Interview with Chris Abani, Research in African Literatures 45.3: 227-240. LINK

2014. “African Atrocity, American Humanity: Slavery and Its Transnational Afterlives,” Research in African Literatures. 45.3, 48-71.  LINK

2014. “Africa and the Black Atlantic,” Research in African Literatures. 45.3, v-xxv. LINK LINK

2014. “Black Nationalist Hokum: George Schuyler’s Transnational Critique.” African American Review. 47.1, 21-36. LINK

2011. “The Pull of the Ancestors: Slavery, Apartheid, and Memory in Zakes Mda’s Ways of Dying and Cion.” Research in African Literatures. 42.2, 147-169. LINK

2010. “Towards an African Atlantic: Ama Ata Aidoo’s Diasporic Theater.” Atlantic Studies. 7.3, 241-261. LINK

2006. “The Gender of Diaspora in Toni Morrison’s Tar Baby.” Modern Fiction Studies. 52.2, 393-414. LINK

2003. “Theorizing Africa in Black Diaspora Studies: Caryl Phillips’s Crossing the River.”  Diaspora: A Journal of Transnational Studies.  12.1, 5-38. LINK

Interest Areas
• Postcolonial Theory / Transnational Studies
• African American Literature & Culture / Black Diaspora Studies
• American Literature & Culture
• Critical Race and Ethnic Studies