Notable Achievements

Amiel Padayhag, class of 2019; Grace Gnasigamany, class of 2020; Administrative Assistant to Faculty Kelly Lessard; and Mellon Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow in the Feminist Studies Program Sequoia Manerparticipated in Riding the Freedom Trail, a tour of Civil Rights memorials and monuments in Selma and Montgomery, Ala. They experienced a profound weekend of reckoning with the nation’s racial past. They accompanied a group that included local residents of Georgetown, Austin, and greater Williamson County. A member of the group was the daughter of a man lynched in nearby Taylor, Texas. Some of the highlights of their trip included walking over the Edmund Pettus Bridge and talking with Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee member and civil rights leader Annie Pearl Avery in Selma. In Montgomery, they participated in a special reflection session with the staff of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) following the tour of the new National Memorial for Peace and Justice, which is dedicated to the memory of lynching victims. The group also toured sites such as the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Legacy Museum, the Freedom Riders Museum, and the Rosa Parks Museum. Memorably, the group attended a special Sunday service at Dexter King Memorial Church, where, from the church’s basement, pastor Martin Luther King Jr. organized the Montgomery Bus Boycott. A documentary is being made about this experience in conjunction with film students from The University of Texas at Austin.

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Expertise

African American literature and performance, poetry, hip-hop

Sequoia Maner is poet and scholar who received her BA from Duke University, and MA and PhD degrees in English from the University of Texas at Austin. She teaches classes in feminist studies, African American literature, and contemporary performance. Dr. Maner’s research and pedagogical interests are interdisciplinary, innovative, and oriented toward justice. Her heroes are Angela Y. Davis, Harriet Tubman, funktress Janelle Monae, Langston Hughes, and her mother, Dr. Denise Valerie Maner. 

  • Sequoia Maner is poet and scholar who received her BA from Duke University, and MA and PhD degrees in English from the University of Texas at Austin. She teaches classes in feminist studies, African American literature, and contemporary performance. Dr. Maner’s research and pedagogical interests are interdisciplinary, innovative, and oriented toward justice. Her heroes are Angela Y. Davis, Harriet Tubman, funktress Janelle Monae, Langston Hughes, and her mother, Dr. Denise Valerie Maner. 

  • Dr. Maner’s dissertation project and monograph are titled Liberation Aesthetics in the #BlackLivesMatter Era: Poetry, Protest, and Social Justice. She pays close attention to the writing and performances of artists Patricia Smith, Kendrick Lamar, Claudia Rankine, Tupac Shakur, and Beyonce Knowles Carter (among others), charting how African American entertainers deploy experimental poetics in ways that refashion protest and enact new visions of liberation. Her critical engagement examines how and why poetry so often figures as the transformative vehicle for social recalibration.

  • Published in Obsidian: Literature & Arts in the African Diaspora, Dr. Maner’s poem “upon reading the autopsy of Sandra Bland” was a finalist for the 2017 Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Prize. Other critical and creative work can be found in The Feminist Wire, Meridians: Feminsm, Race and Transnationalism, Obsidian: Literature and Arts in the African Diaspora,  and The Langston Hughes Review, among other publications. Sequoia is also a contributing poetry editor for Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review.

  • Sequoia Maner is co-editor of the anthology Revisiting the Elegy in the Black Lives Matter Era, due from Routledge Press in October 2019. This collection of poems, essays, and interviews addresses the ongoing creative and scholarly exchanges regarding the poetics and politics of mourning in a time of black death. Revisiting the Elegy in the Black Lives Matter Era is the first of its kind as the only edited collection to address contemporary elegy within the black diaspora.

    Other Publications:

    • “‘Where do you go when you go quiet? Practices of Quietude in the Fictions of Alice Walker, Zora Neale Hurston, and Beyonce Knowles-Carter” (Meridians, Fall 2018)
    • “upon reading the autopsy of Sandra Bland” (Obsidian, finalist for Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Prize as judged by Patricia Smith, Spring 2018)
    • “Black Boy Contrapuntal” (The Feminist Wire, finalist for First Annual Feminist Wire competition as judged by Evie Shockley, 2015)
    • Co-Editor Special Section: “Precarity, Security, Surveillance: A Black Feminist Intervention,” E3W Review of Books. Spring 2017.
    • McMillan, Uri. “Embodied Avatars: Genealogies of Black Feminist Art and Performance.” QED: A Journal in GLBTQ Worldmaking. Fall 2017
    • Moody, Jonathan. “Olympic Butter Gold.” Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review. November, 2015.
      *See reviews of works by Eve Dunbar, Susan Somers-Wilett, Manning Marable, and Tanisha C. Ford for E3W Review of Books.
    • “Reviving Tupac Shakur in the #BlackLivesMatter Era: Kendrick Lamar, G-Funk and the Performance of Dissent,” Chicago, American Studies Association, November 2017.
    • “Twenty Years Gone: On Tupac Shakur and Hauntology,” University of Arizona, Thinking Its Presence, October 2017.
    • “Interiority in the Works of Alice Walker and Beyoncé,” Penn State University, Celebrating African American Literature and Language, October 2016.
    • Keynote: “Black Sonic Resistance in the Works of Kendrick Lamar,” University of Kansas, Make It Funky Conference April 2016.
    • Interview: “Kendrick Lamar’s Popular Radicalism,” Kansas Public Radio, April 2016.
    • “Ask Your Mama ‘Bout Kendrick Lamar: Reimagining the Jazz Aesthetic in the #BlackLivesMatterEra.” Texas Southern University, The College Language Association, April 2016.
    • “Pedagogical Approaches to Using Rap Genius in the College Classroom” University of Texas at Austin, GRACLS Annual Symposium April 2015.
    • “Recognizably (new) Black: Reading Evie Shockley’s Mesostics,” James Madison University, Furious Flower Poetry Conference, September 2014.
    • “Coded Prosody, Pleasure and Performance in Jay-Z and Kanye West’s ‘Otis’” Penn State University, Celebrating African American Poetry October 2013.
    • “’Build Your Fences, We Diggin’ Tunnels’: Jay-Z and Kanye West Reimagine the American Dream,” American Studies Conference University of Texas at Austin, April 2013.