Courtney Thorsson

Profile picture of Courtney Thorsson
Associate Professor
Faculty-In-Residence, Clark Honors College
Black Studies, Clark Honors College, English
Phone: 541-346-1473
Office: 244 PLC
Research Interests: African American Literary and Cultural Studies
Office Hours: T/Th 12-1:30pm in 244 PLC weeks 1-10 (drop-in or email for an appointment)


Courtney Thorsson is an associate professor in the English Department at the University of Oregon, where she teaches, studies, and writes about African American literature from beginnings to present using Black feminist methods. Her book Women’s Work: Nationalism and Contemporary African American Women's Novels (University of Virginia Press, 2013) argues that Toni Cade Bambara, Paule Marshall, Gloria Naylor, Ntozake Shange, and Toni Morrison reclaim and revise cultural nationalism in their novels of the 1980s and 90s. Her writing has appeared in the volume Foodscapes: Food, Space, and Place in a Global Society and publications including CallalooAfrican American Review; MELUS; Gastronomica; Contemporary Literature; Legacy; and Public Books. Her book The Sisterhood: How A Network of Black Women Writers Changed American Culture tells the story of how Black women writers and intellectuals transformed political, literary, and academic cultures from the 1970s on and is forthcoming November 2023 from Columbia University Press.


The Sisterhood: How a Network of Black Women Writers Changed American Culture, Columbia University Press (forthcoming November 2023).

"The Chaneysville Incident and The Research Narrative in Contemporary African American Literature," Studies in the Novel. 55.1 (Spring 2023): 17-36.

"The Sisterhood, 1977 Photograph," Remarkable Receptions podcast, August 2022. Listen on Apple PodcastsSpotify, or Google Podcasts.

"Toni Morrison's Beloved," Remarkable Receptions podcast, June 2022. Listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or Stitcher.

Review of From Slave Cabins to the White House: Homemade Citizenship in African American Culture by Koritha MitchellLegacy 38.1-2 (2021): 163-65.

Panel discussion with Mecca Jamilah Sullivan and Patricia Spears Jones, "Creation Is Everything You Do: Shange, The Sisterhood, and Black Collectivity," Barnard College, March 2021.

"'They could be killing kids forever!': The Atlanta Child Murders in African American Literature," African American Review. 53.4 (Winter 2020): 315-332. Winner of the 2020 Weixlmann Prize for best essay in African American Review about 20th- and 21st-century literature.

"Fairy Tales of Race and Nation," Review of Gingerbread by Helen Oyeyemi. Public Books, April 9, 2019.

"The Musical History of Jelly," podcast episode with Psyche Williams Prof. Psyche-Wiliams Forson and host Dan Pashman, The Sporkful. August 2019. 

"Kitchen, Nation, Diaspora: Ntozake Shange's African American Foodways." Foodscapes: Food, Space, and Place in a Global Society edited by Carlnita Greene. Peter Lang, 2018: 199-222.

"Foodways in Contemporary African American Poetry: Harryette Mullen and Evie Shockley." Contemporary Literature. 57.2 (Summer 2016): 184-215.

Co-author, "Black Women's Food Work as Critical Space." Gastronomica 15.4 (Winter 2015): 34-49.

"Gwendolyn Brooks's Black Aesthetic of the Domestic," MELUS: Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States 40.1 (2015): 149-76.

"James Baldwin and Black Women's Fiction." African American Review 46.4. (2013): 615-31.

Women's Work: Nationalism and Contemporary African American Women's Novels (Virginia 2013).

“Dancing Up A Nation: Paule Marshall’s Praisesong for the Widow.” Callaloo 30.2 (Summer 2007): 644-52.


For writing inquiries, please contact Kathleen Anderson
For speaking inquiries, please contact Annette Luba-Lucas
Twitter: @c_thorsson
Instagram: courtneythorsson