The Rosenbach Presents Jerry Rafiki Jenkins, Author of The Paradox of Blackness in African American Vampire Fiction (virtual)

Date / Time

  • December 10, 2023
    4:30 pm - 5:30 pm



  • This is a FREE program held over Zoom. Please check your spam folder for your email confirmation. If you have questions, please call (215) 732-1600 or email [email protected].



As part of the Rosenbach’s season-long exploration of Dracula and Gothic literature, join us for a virtual conversation about the intersections of gender, race, sexuality, and vampire literature with a leading literary critic. Dr. Jerry Rafiki Jenkins is the author of The Paradox of Blackness in African American Vampire Fiction, a groundbreaking study that refutes the tacit assumption that there is a lack of quality African American vampire fiction worthy of study before presenting insightful analyses of some classics of the genre.  

In the book, Dr. Jenkins proposes that Black vampires help to answer an important question: Is there more to being Black than having a Black body? As symbols of immortality, the Black vampires in Jewelle Gomez’s The Gilda Stories, Tananarive Due’s My Soul to Keep, Brandon Massey’s Dark Corner, Octavia Butler’s Fledgling, and K. Murry Johnson’s Image of Emeralds and Chocolate help to identify not only the notions of blackness that should be kept alive or resurrected in the African American community for the twenty-first century but also the notions of blackness that should die or remain dead.  

In this virtual conversation, Professor Jenkins will consider how Black American authors have connected to and diverged from the European vampire literary tradition before offering an in-depth consideration of Gomez’s The Gilda Stories, which the Rosenbach’s book club will be reading this December.  


About the Speaker

Dr. Jerry Rafiki Jenkins is Professor of English at Palomar College in San Marcos, California, whose research focuses on black speculative fiction and film. Rafiki’s peer-reviewed articles appear in Screening Noir, African American Review, Journal of Children’s Literature, and Pacific Coast Philology, and he is the author of The Paradox of Blackness in African American Vampire Fiction (Ohio State UP, 2019). Rafiki also co-edited, with Martin Japtok, Authentic Blackness/Real Blackness: Essays on the Meaning of Blackness in Literature and Culture (Peter Lang, 2011) and Human Contradictions in Octavia E. Butler’s Work (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020). Rafiki is currently completing a book-length manuscript on African American horror fiction published at the end of the twentieth century. 


Attendees interested in exploring the subject further are encouraged to sign up for Ladies of the House of Love: The Rosenbach’s Feminist & Queer Gothic Literature Book Club, which will read Jewelle Gomez’s The Gilda Stories as its December selection.  Learn more here: