Trimiko Melancon

FacultyAfrican American and African Studies



A scholar, cultural critic, and documentary filmmaker, Dr. Trimiko Melancon is Professor of African American and African Studies at Michigan State University. An expert on race, gender, black feminist and sexualities studies; African American and American literary and cultural studies; African American and Black German studies; and race, media, digital and cultural production, Professor Melancon is the award-winning author of Unbought and Unbossed: Transgressive Black Women, Sexuality, and Representation (co-winner of the College Language Association Book Award). She is co-editor of Black Female Sexualities with Joanne M. Braxton with a foreword by Melissa Harris-Perry. Her scholarly publications have appeared in African American Review, Callaloo, Reconstruction, The Black Scholar, and Journal of Popular Culture. As a writer and cultural critic, she has also written widely and provided expert commentaries for venues ranging from Huffington PostMs., ElleWired, Black Perspectives and Diverse Issue in Higher Education to NBC and BBC World News, among other news outlets.

An inaugural visiting scholar and fellow at the Anna Julia Cooper Project on Gender, Race, and Politics at Tulane University and the James Weldon Johnson Institute for Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies at Emory University, Professor Melancon has held numerous distinguished positions nationally and internationally: as the J. William Fulbright Scholar of American Literature and American Studies in Berlin, Germany, Andrew W. Mellon/Mellon Mays University Fellow (MMUF), Frederick Douglass Teaching Scholar, and a Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation Fellow. She has also received other prestigious awards, grants, and fellowships that have facilitated the continued support of her interdisciplinary research and teaching from the Andrew W. Mellon, Nellie Mae, Ford, and Ruth Landes/Reed Foundations as well as the Social Science Research Council and Fulbright Commission.

As a filmmaker, she has directed, written, and produced shorts, including “I See You,” a montage about race and difference during the age of Black Lives Matter, and 1955 on civil rights icon Claudette Colvin. Her 2020 feature film, What Do You Have to Lose?, which explores the history of race and the racial and political climate—from the rise of Trump and the alt-right to Black Lives Matter and the death of George Floyd—won the Best Feature Documentary Audience Award.

Media Mentions

University News

MSU Celebrates New Academic Learning Space for Department of African American and African Studies
Published November 18, 2022 in College of Arts & Letters
Michigan State University’s College of Arts & Letters held an official opening Nov. 17 for a new space dedicated to the Department of African American and African Studies (AAAS) — the…Read now »
Growing an Innovative Curriculum: New and Updated AAAS Courses for Fall
Published August 17, 2022 in College of Arts & Letters
Four pictures of AAAS faculty.
Michigan State University’s Department of African American and African Studies (AAAS) continues its upward trajectory with the addition of five new or revised courses for the Fall 2022…Read now »
AAAS Department to Offer Several New Classes in Spring 2022
Published December 1, 2021 in College of Arts & Letters
Six portraits of AAAS faculty members.
The Department of African American and African Studies (AAAS) is offering several new or revised undergraduate courses during the Spring 2022 semester that each, in their own way, highlight and…Read now »
Award-Winning Author, Filmmaker, and Scholar Joins AAAS Department
Published October 18, 2021 in College of Arts & Letters
A scholar, cultural critic, and award-winning author and documentary filmmaker, Trimiko Melancon joined MSU’s Department of African American and African Studies (AAAS) on September…Read now »
College Welcomes 27 New Faculty and Staff Members
Published September 7, 2021 in College of Arts & Letters
This semester, the College of Arts & Letters is pleased to welcome 27 new faculty and staff members. Please join us in welcoming the following people to the College: Alena…Read now »
AAAS Department Welcomes Three New Faculty Members
Published August 23, 2021 in College of Arts & Letters
Portraits of 3 smiling women with short dark hair.
The Department of African American and African Studies (AAAS) will welcome three new faculty members as the 2021-2022 academic year begins. In September 2021, Trimiko Melancon,…Read now »