Dr. Ama Bemma Adwetewa-Badu received her Bachelor's degree in English from the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in 2015, an MA from Clark University in 2017, and a PhD in English from Cornell University in 2022. She joins the Washington University in St. Louis English Department as an Assistant Professor of Black Diasporic Literature and African Literatures in English. Her research and teaching focus on topics including contemporary poetry, comparative approaches to Afro-diasporic culture and literature, cultural studies, digital literary cultures, and the digital humanities.
Her current book project, Network Poetics: Black Transnationalism, Poetry, and the Making of Literary Worlds, is concerned with the interrelation of poetry and politics, post-colonial literary history and cultural theory, and media studies in Afro-diasporic poetry. In the book, Adwetewa-Badu utilizes archival materials and digital methodologies to chart networks of Black poets who emerged out of or around intellectual and creative spaces from the 1960s into the early 2000s.
Her other project, Viral Verse: New Media, the Internet, and the Poetry of Africa and the Americas, probes the interrelation of new media and poetry from the mid-1990s to the present, ranging from social media websites to “born-digital” texts. It examines the role of web2 and web3 technologies in contemporary African culture and literature, with a particular focus on poetry.
From 2016-2017, Prof. Adwetewa-Badu was Vice-chair of the African Literature Association Graduate Student Caucus, from 2017-2018, she was the media chair of the African Literature Association Graduate Student Caucus, and in 2017, she served as the website and communications assistant for the entire African Literature Association.
In the English department, she looks forward to offering courses such as “The Practice of Diaspora,” “The Digital Black Atlantic,” “World Literature and the African Diaspora,” “Media! Media! Tweet All About It! Social Media, Technology, and Literature,” “Global Poetics,” and “Black Poetics, Politics, and Social Change: From Negritude to the Darkroom Collective.” In her teaching, she encourages students to create projects that can exist beyond the classroom for public audiences, sometimes in the form of websites, born-digital projects, zines, publicly accessible annotated bibliographies, and short films.
Dr. Adwetewa-Badu’s work has been funded by multiple grants and fellowships, including a Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship, a Cornell University Digital Humanities Summer Graduate Fellowship, and a year-long digital humanities grant from the African Poetry Book Fund. Her writing and reviews on contemporary poetry, Afro-diasporic literature and culture, digital literary cultures, and the digital humanities are published or forthcoming from Modernism/Modernity Print+, Comparative Literature Studies, Cambridge Journal of Postcolonial Literary Inquiry, Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies, the Wallace Stevens Journal, and The Black Scholar.