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Maria Helena Lima

Professor of English
Welles 225A
Portrait of Maria Lima

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.

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 318: Black British Lit & Culture

    A study of works by representative Black British writers from the mid-20th century onward in their cultural and social contexts. The course will cover a variety of genres, focusing theoretically on the development of Black British literature, and being framed through these initial questions: Who is English in that nation's imaginary? Who is not? Does Englishness mean WHITE only, as Catherine Hall has so persuasively demonstrated by retelling some of that country's history in relation to its colonies? Black British Literature has historically coincided not only with the questioning of what constitutes a British identity but with critical articulations of the issues of full citizenship and belonging.

  • HUMN 222: W/H/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.