Kinitra Brooks

C622 Wells Hall
619 Red Cedar Rd
East Lansing, MI 48824


Associate Professor
Leslie Endowed Chair in Literary Studies

Literary Studies; Film and Media Studies; Popular Culture; Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; Race and Ethnic Studies

Curriculum Vitae


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.

Media Mentions

Awards and Honors


“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

University News

Ask the Expert: How Does Black Horror Help Us Understand Cultural Anxieties?
Published October 23, 2023 in College of Arts & Letters
Portrait of a woman wearing glasses, a purple dress, and a colorful necklace.
The genre of horror, and specifically Black horror, has been gaining attention in mainstream media in the last decade. Films by Black writers and directors featuring Black actors — think “ Us”…Read now »
‘Afrofantastic:’ Science Fiction, Technology, Black Culture Explored in New Documentary by MSU Professors
Published June 9, 2023 in College of Arts & Letters
Scholar Stanford W. Carpenter sits in a chair in front of a suspended microphone and camera held by another man. In the background is a display of stained-glass windows as part of a museum exhibit.
Afrofuturism has entered more mainstream conversations in the last decade thanks to its influence on fashion and art, notably in the music of Janelle Monae and in the film “Black…Read now »
MSU: A Leader in Comics and Pop Culture Scholarship, Now Host to Comics Studies Society
Published July 27, 2022 in College of Arts & Letters
This week, Michigan State University will host the fifth annual conference for the Comic Studies Society, one of the premier academic communities dedicated to comic studies. What makes MSU the…Read now »
Integrative Arts and Humanities (IAH) Offers New and Innovative Courses
Published November 20, 2020 in College of Arts & Letters
two men shaking hands in the middle of classroom
Delivering general education curriculum in the arts and humanities requires some ingenuity to put the human experience into context. Faculty and instructors who teach in MSU’s Center for…Read now »
Examining the Power of Pop Culture to Shape Perception, Issues, and Trends
Published July 2, 2020 in College of Arts & Letters
Kinitra Brooks grew up connecting ideas, asking questions, and demanding the freedom to do so. Today, the Associate Professor in MSU’s Department of English continues to push…Read now »
LAE Podcast Hosts Associate Professor Kinitra Brooks
Published May 5, 2020 in College of Arts & Letters
Woman with dark hair and glasses
Episode seven of the Liberal Arts Endeavor Podcast is out! Our host, Dean Christopher P. Long, met with Kinitra Brooks, Department of English Associate Professor and Leslie…Read now »
College Welcomes 30 New Faculty and Staff Members
Published August 30, 2018 in College of Arts & Letters
brick building with a blue sky surrounded by trees
This year, the College of Arts & Letters welcomes 30 new faculty and staff members. They include the following:  Qais Assali Qais Assali, Visiting Assistant Professor and…Read now »