Maria Helena Lima

Professor of English
Welles 225A

Maria Helena Lima received her Ph.D. from the University of Maryland at College Park.  She was hired by Geneseo to teach courses on postcolonial literatures, Humanities, writing, and genre theory in 1992.  Her research and teaching focus on Black Atlantic Writing. In the spring of 2015, Lima created and taught the first course on "Black Lives Matter" at Geneseo.

Some of her publications include “The Politics of Teaching Black and British” in Black British Writing (Palgrave), “A Written Song: Andrea Levy’s Neo-Slave Narrative” in Entertext, and “The Choice of Opera for a Revisionist History: Joan Anim-Addo’s Imoinda as a Neo-Slave Narrative,” in Transcultural Roots Uprising.  With Miriam Alves, she translated and co-edited a bilingual anthology of fiction by Afro-Brazilian women, Women Righting/Mulheres Escrevendo. Lima is currently co-editing (with Joan Anim-Addo) a special issue of Callaloo on contemporary neo-slave narratives.

Lima is the director of the Comparative Literature program at Geneseo. 

Her research interests include black British literature and culture, the Caribbean, African diaspora, post-colonial theory, women's studies, and feminist theory.

Portrait of Maria Lima

Curriculum Vitae


  • M.A., Ph.D., University of Maryland, College Park

  • M.Ed., Towson State University

  • B.A., Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul


  • ENGL 111: Lit: Black British Short Story

    The course uses literature and other cultural productions from the United States to engage directly with diversity, pluralism, and power. Texts include a diverse range of authors and artists, and the focus is on the various ways that these texts enable students to think critically and self-reflectively about diversity and systems of power in the United States. Guided discussion of these texts will enable students to consider the reasoning and impact of their personal beliefs and actions with respect to issues of diversity and power in the United States, and it will offer them a model for how to participate effectively in pluralistic contexts where it is necessary to communicate and collaborate across difference.

  • ENGL 458: Major Authors: Zadie Smith

    Comprehensive studies of the works of from one to three authors.

  • HUMN 222: Black Humanities

    Explores the history of Africans and people of African descent against what Patrick Manning calls the European “tale of modernity” (xv). Rather than offering a chronological history of specific regions, we will focus on the interconnections of peoples and belief systems throughout Europe, Africa, and the Americas. Interdisciplinary at the core, Black Humanities is the study of moral, social, and political alternatives and meanings embodied in cultures, epistemologies, and literatures globally. The course will explore how African diasporic ideas have not only resisted and/or re-imagined more familiar narratives of Western Civilization but oftentimes they can also be identified in them.