Kinitra Brooks is the Audrey and John Leslie Endowed Chair in Literary Studies in the Department of English at Michigan State University and the Director of Graduate Programs in English. Dr. Brooks specializes in the study of black women, genre fiction, and popular culture as seen in past columns for The Root on “The Safe Negro Guide to Lovecraft Country” and her multiple visits as a commentator on NPR’s 1A.
As a pop educator and scholar, Dr. Brooks uses horror to study the depictions of marginalized groups and portrayals of the Conjure Woman in horror and science fiction. Her expertise is part of the 2023 documentary “Afrofantastic: The Transformative World of Afrofuturism” featured on Public Broadcasting Service stations and the online PBS streaming app.
In process projects include an interdisciplinary anthology about Beyoncé’s Renaissance album that explores Black queerness and sexuality and a graphic novel called Red Dirt Witch about a Conjure Woman who helps with the Civil Rights Movement.
Brooks co-edited The Lemonade Reader (Routledge 2019), an interdisciplinary collection that explores the nuances of Beyoncé’s 2016 audiovisual project, Lemonade. Her two other books are Searching for Sycorax: Black Women’s Hauntings of Contemporary Horror (Rutgers UP 2017), a critical treatment of black women in science fiction, fantasy, and horror and Sycorax’s Daughters (Cedar Grove Publishing 2017), an edited volume of short horror fiction written by black women.
During the 2018-2019 academic year, Dr. Brooks served as the Advancing Equity Through Research Fellow at the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research at Harvard University. During the 2022-2023 academic year, she served as the Visiting Associate Professor Emerita of Women’s Studies and African American Religions in the Women’s Studies in Religion Program at Harvard Divinity School.
Liberated, livin’ like we ain’t got time: How Renaissance became Beyoncé’s tribute to queer Black America
The Independent UK
June 29, 2023
WUNC: North Carolina Public Radio
October 7, 2022
The Atlantic Online
September 7, 2022
August 20, 2020
The Washington Post
August 4, 2020
Growing the Seeds of Knowledge: Endowed Chair Kinitra Brooks Studies Afrofuturism—Intertwining the Past with the Future
Michigan State University Alumni Magazine
July 21, 2020
April 5, 2019
Elle Magazine Online
March 29, 2019
Awards and Honors
Bram Stoker Award Nominee
“He is Both Monster and Hero: Black Horror Scholars Tell The Root What You Should Know About Candyman.” The Root. August 2021
“Reflecting on the Man in the Mirror: What Lens Should We Use to Critique Candyman?” The Root. August 2021
“Infinitum: An Afrofuturistic Tale: Illustrator-Author Tim Fielder looks to the Future With a Modern Epic.” The Root. February 2021
“The Safe Negro Travel Guide to Lovecraft Country.” The Root. August – October 2020. Ten (10) Season One Episodes:
Sundown; Whitey’s on the Moon; Holy Ghost; A History of Violence; Strange Case; Meet Me in Daegu; I Am; Jig-A-Bobo; Rewind 1921; Full Circle
“Beyonce shows that Modern Blackness neither begins nor ends with slavery.” Op-Ed. The Washington Post. August 2020
“How to Be a Strong Black Family Man: The World According to Gabriel Wilson in Jordan Peele’s Us.” The Root: Very Smart Brothas Blog. March 2019
The Lemonade Reader: Beyoncé, Black Feminism, and Spirituality (2019) with Kameelah L. Martin. Routledge Press
“Us Makes Us Look in the Mirror—What If We Don’t Like What We See?” Elle Magazine March 2019
Searching for Sycorax: Black Women’s Hauntings of Contemporary Horror (2017)
Sycorax’s Daughters (2017) with Susana M. Morris, and Linda D. Addison. Cedar Grove Publishing
“What Becky Gotta Do to Get Murked? White Womanhood in Jordan Peele’s Get Out” Very Smart Brothas Blog. March 2017