Christopher Allen Varlack

Assistant Professor, English

Taylor Hall, Room 214 1 (215) 572-2985 E-mail me at to set up an appointment.

About Me

Dr. Christopher Allen Varlack, also known as the #BLKLitProfessor, is an assistant professor in the Department of English at Arcadia University (2020-present) where he teaches undergraduate as well as graduate courses in African-American literature, world literature, and creative writing. Before joining the faculty at Arcadia, he worked with students as a full-time lecturer at UMBC (2014-2018), where he taught as part of the Individualized Study Program, the Honors College, and the Department of English. He has also served as a full-time lecturer in the Department of English and Language Arts at Morgan State University (2012-2014). In addition to his role in the Department of English, he has served in a number of leadership roles at the University:

- Director of University Seminars for the Arcadia Undergraduate Curriculum (AUC), Fall 2021-Spring 2022
- Associate Director of the Center for Antiracist Scholarship, Advocacy, and Action (CASAA), Fall 2021-present

​In addition to promoting the education of today's youth, he is an avid researcher and scholar with emphases on race, gender, and cultural politics, having published in journals such as the College Language Association JournalThird Stone Journal, and the South Atlantic Review in addition to a number of edited volumes. He has served as editor of Critical Insights: Harlem Renaissance (2015) as well as Critical Insights: Civil Rights Literature, Past and Present (2017) and is currently editing a special double issue of The Langston Hughes Review on Sterling A. Brown and an edited volume titled Zora Neale Hurston in Context for Cambridge University Press. He serves in his second term as president of the Langston Hughes Society.

​When he is not in the classroom or producing scholarship, he can be found writing poetry and creative non-fiction addressing issues of social justice, identity, and race. For additional information about Dr. Varlack and his work, please visit his website at

Current Courses
- EN 699: Master's Thesis in English
- EN344/444: Special Studies Seminar
        - Topic: Diasporic Journeys: Displacement, Transplantation, and Migration in
          Contemporary African Diasporic Women's Literature

Courses Taught
- EN 699: Master's Thesis in English
- EN 651: The Harlem Renaissance--History & Classics
         - Topic: Black Women Novelists of the Harlem Renaissance Era
- EN 341/441: The Slave Narrative
- EN 335/435: Special Topics in American Literature
        - Topic: Race (Un)Masked: Racial Passing and the Construction of Identity in
           U.S. Literature and Popular Culture
- US 253: Science Fiction and Social Reality
        - Topic: Black Empires, Crumbling Cities, and Colonized Spaces Uncolonized:
          Social Justice in Black Sci-Fi and Black Speculative Fiction across the Ages
- EN 231: The African American Short Story
- EN 230: African American Literature
- EN 211: Creative Non-Fiction Workshop
- EN104: Writing for the Academic Conversation
- EN 101H: Thought & Expression I (Honors)

MA Theses Directed
- King, Myisha. "Performative Allyship, the White Gaze, and the Barriers of Black Representation in Literary Fiction," 2022.
- Edwards, Deja. "Keeping It in the Family: An Analysis of Cultural Trauma and Racial Violence in Yaa Gyasi's Homegoing," 2021.

Areas Of Focus

African-American Literature, African-American Sociopolitical Thought, African-American Popular Culture


Education History

Morgan State University 2016

Doctor of Philosophy, Major in English

University of Southern Maine 2010

Master of Fine Arts, Major in Creative Writing

Loyola University Maryland 2008

Bachelor of Arts, Major in Communications


Author 2022

“this is my space / I am not movin”: Responses to the Threat of Recolonization in the Poetic Activism of Langston Hughes and Ntozake Shange

Article, The Langston Hughes Review

Author 2020

“Revisiting Claude McKay’s ‘Quashie to Buccra’: ‘Language…[as] a Political Instrument’ in Disenfranchising Linguistic and Sociopolitical Systems”

Article, South Atlantic Review

Author 2019

“Racial Reassignment Surgery and the Dissolution of the Color Line: Afrofuturist Satire in George Schuyler’s Black No More and Jess Row’s Your Face in Mine”

Article, Third Stone Journal

Author 2018

“Memoirs of ‘When the Negro was in Vogue’: Langston Hughes, Black Intellectualism, and the African-American Autobiographical Tradition”

Article, The College Language Association Journal (CLAJ)

Editor 2017

Critical Insights: Civil Rights Literature, Past & Present

Book, Salem Press

Editor 2015

Critical Insights: Harlem Renaissance

Book, Salem Press


  • 2021, Cultural Ally Award | Arcadia University