Valorie D. Thomas

Emerita Professor of English
With Pomona Since: 1998
  • Expertise


    As a scholar of African Diaspora studies, Valorie Thomas originated the concept of Diasporic Vertigo as a motif of decolonization. Thomas also studies film and visual art, has an ongoing interest in the connections between writing, art and social justice, and is a screenwriter.  She recently curated an art exhibition titled Vertigo@Midnight inspired by her work on Afrofuturism, speculative art and spirituality.

    Research Interests

    • AfroFuturism
    • Diaspora space and mobility
    • African Diaspora literary theory
    • Spirituality in African Diaspora film and literature
    • African American and "women of color" feminist writers
    • Race, feminism, language, and social justice

    Areas of Expertise


    • African Diaspora film/literature
    • Early & contemporary African American literature
    • Writing and social justice
    • Black and "women of color" feminist writers, including Toni Morrison, Audre Lorde, June Jordan, Gloria Anzaldua and Louise Erdrich


    • Native American literature
    • Indigenous spirituality
    • Diasporic social space


    • Screenwriting & film structure
  • Work


    Cultural Vertigo: Spiritual Roads to Social Justice in African Diaspora Film and Literature (manuscript under submission)

    "Placing Toni Morrison's 'Love': African American and Women of Color Feminists Theorizing Embodiment, Home, and Memory," International Journal of the Humanities, Common Ground Publishers, Victoria, Australia 2007

    "1+1=3 and Other Dilemmas: Reading Vertigo in Invisible Man, My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, and Song of Solomon," African American Review, vol. 37, n. 1, Spring 2003

    "Keys to the Ancestors' Chambers: An Approach to Teaching Beloved," Reading Between the Black and White Keys: Deep Crossings in African Diaspora Studies (V.A. Clark, ed., UC Berkeley, 1994)

    Poetry: "Each Other's Eshu," African American Review, Vol. 37, #4, Winter 2003

    "Buffalo Gals/Elephant Women," "Outdoors," "Balance," "Ancestry," in Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies, XIV (University Press of Colorado, 1994)

    "If You Only," "Temporary Insanity," "Shout This Poem," "Genderella," in The Drumming Between Us (PJH, 1999)

  • Education


    Master of Fine Arts, Screenwriting
    University of California, Los Angeles

    University of California, Berkeley

    Master of Arts
    University of California, Berkeley

    Bachelor of Arts
    University of California, Berkeley

    Recent Courses Taught

    • Contemporary Native American Literature
    • Creative Writing: Screenwriting
    • Introduction to African Diaspora Literature
    • Literature and Film of African Diaspora
    • Literature of Incarceration
    • Toni Morrison Senior Seminar
    • Topics: AfroFuturism; Black Women Writing Resistance & Activism; Healing Narratives; The Black Body
  • Awards & Honors

    Awards & Honors

    Pomona College, Wig Distinguished Professor Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2013

    Irvine Distinguished Faculty Mentor Award, 2004-2005

    Woodrow Wilson Career Enhancement Fellowship, 2002-2003

    University of Cape Town (Rondebosch, South Africa), Visiting Associate, Centre for African Studies, 2002

    Chicago Black Film Festival Featured Selection, 1998; and National Black Filmmakers' Programming Consortium, Best Short Feature, Chicago, 1988