Assistant Professor of English; Social Justice & Cultural Studies Capstone Coordinator
Office: Marston 221
Education: BA, Bethel University, 2009; MA, New York University, 2010; PhD, University of California San Diego, 2016. At SPU since 2016.
Specialties: Cultural studies, Critical race and gender studies, Black feminist thought, Caribbean literature
As an undergraduate, Yelena Bailey conducted field research in Cuba. The trip sparked her interest in the ways black women writers across the globe think about their identities and politics. This interest eventually led Dr. Bailey to her current work, which examines the way black feminist writers engage with nationalist and internationalist movements. Because her Ph.D. is in Literature and Cultural Studies, Dr. Bailey’s work is interdisciplinary in nature. In addition to literary analysis and criticism, her research involves examining underrepresented histories, political movements, and ideologies.
Dr. Bailey’s written scholarship ranges from work on how to teach social justice in the classroom to the cultural and political implications of contemporary black women's media representation. Currently, in addition to revising her dissertation for publication, she is working on a project that traces the connections between black participation in American popular culture, racial exceptionalism, and black political formation.
As a woman of color, Dr. Bailey has spent her life actively fighting racial, gender, and socioeconomic barriers. Although she is extremely grateful to have ended up in higher education, the fact that her experience is an exception, rather than a standard, reflects the great work that remains to be done. Along with her scholarly training, these experiences inform her pedagogy and community involvement. In addition to publishing her research, Dr. Bailey is committed to providing students with the knowledge, histories, and methodologies necessary to engage in Cultural Studies in a meaningful way. Says, Dr. Bailey: “I believe that such work is both necessary and important to the pursuit of a more just and equitable world.”