Raquel Baker

Hearst Teaching Fellow
(901) 843-3979
Palmer Hall, 308A


20th and 21st African Literatures, Postcolonial Studies, Transnational Feminist Theory, Contemporary Anglophone Literatures, Critical Race Theory

Raquel Lisette Baker is finishing her doctorate in English Literary Studies at the University of Iowa (UI), where she is specializing in African literatures in English and Postcolonial Studies. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Mills College and a BA in Psychology from San Francisco State University. She has taught general education rhetoric and literature courses and worked as a tutor in the rhetoric and business writing centers at UI. She has also worked as an instructor in non-traditional environments such as San Quentin Prison and Iowa Correctional Facility for Women. As an Obermann Fellow she collaborated on the digital public humanities project “E(Racing) Iowa City: Using Digital Storytelling to Reconstruct Identity, Community, and Home,” which culminated in co-teaching a general education literature course in which students engaged in interdisciplinary analyses of race and otherness through the study of literary and news representations of the Southeast side of Iowa City, infamously framed as the wrong side of the tracks—a racialized representation that underwrites local surveillance and policing policies. The course culminated in students interviewing Southeast side residents and creating multimedia texts about their experiences as a way to unpack the emotions, stereotypes, fears, and negative representations that move and hail us.

Her creative work generally grapples with questions of identity. In her scholarly work, she investigates how we might accomplish the task of decolonization through the critical projects of postcolonial studies. Her dissertation project, “Undoing Whiteness: Postcolonial Identity and the Unfinished Project of Decolonization,” examines how whiteness—as a logic of sociopolitical and symbolic relations—undergirds postcolonial subject formation in ways that both enable and undermine practices of liberation, suggesting the profound role of racializing discourses in modern forms of selfhood.


“When She Gets Weary” The Daily Palette, University of Iowa.
Part One: July 28, 2014.
Part Two: July 29, 2014.
Conclusion: July 30, 2014.

“Trayvon Martin: Changing the Conversation.” Little Village. August 6, 2013.

“A Dream No Longer Deferred.” Little Village. May 8, 2013.

“There Oughta Be a Law . . . and a Bus." Little Village. March 23, 2013.

“Book Review: Shaken Wisdom: Irony and Meaning in Postcolonial African Fiction.”Canadian Journal of African Studies. Taylor & Francis. March, 2013.

“The Visual Rhetoric of Public Space.” Little Village. November 29, 2012.

“Mustering Sheep: The Iowa Caucus and the Making of American-ness.” Little Village. January 6, 2012.

“Trauma and the Desiring Subject: The Spatial and Temporal Poetics of Yvonne Vera’s Stone Virgins.” Emerging Perspectives on Yvonne Vera. Newark: Africa World Press. 2012.


English Literary Studies (degree expected 08/15), University of Iowa

English Literary Studies, University of Iowa

English and Creative Writing, Mills College, Oakland, CA.

Psychology, San Francisco State University