Angela Ards is an Associate Professor of English and Journalism at Boston College in Chestnut Hill, MA. She attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as a John Motley Morehead Scholar, graduating Phi Beta Kappa, with a BA in English. She received her MA in African American Studies from UCLA and her Ph.D. in English from Princeton University. Her first book, Words of Witness: Contemporary Black Women’s Autobiography in the Post-Brown Era (University of Wisconsin Press, 2016), examines how writers use the traditional civil rights movement narrative to craft life stories that engage political thought and participate within black women’s intellectual traditions.

She has shared her expertise in African American literature and culture, creative nonfiction, and current affairs with diverse audiences in an array of settings—from universities, high schools, and community forums, to professional associations and corporations. Her talks are thought-provoking, original, and delivered with grace.

Angela is also a writer and journalist inspired by a passion for storytelling in service of social justice. Her reportage, essays and reviews have appeared in Time, the Nation, the Village Voice, Essence, Ms., the Crisis, and the Los Angeles Times Book Review. She has also been widely anthologized, with chapters in That’s the Joint! The Hip Hop Studies Reader (Routledge, 2004); Burning All Illusions: Writing from The Nation on Race, 1866-2002, (Nation Books, 2002); Step into a World: A Global Anthology of the New Black Literature (John Wiley & Sons, 2000); Still Lifting, Still Climbing: Contemporary African American Women’s Activism (New York University Press, 1999), among others.

Angela’s work has been supported with fellowships and awards from a number of institutions, including Harvard University’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute (now Hutchins Center) for African and African American Research; Columbia University’s Charles H. Revson Foundation; Princeton University’s Preyer Fellowship for English Literature and Center for the Study of Religion; Southern Methodist University’s Research Council; Hedgebrook; and Blue Mountain Center. Angela is currently completing “Homesteading: Black Regional Identity in the Global South,” which uses oral histories to chronicle the lives of Black southerners who bypassed the Great Migration to remain and build communities in the South. 



  • African American Literature & Culture
  • 20th-century American Literature
  • Autobiography
  • Literary Journalism
  • Creative Nonfiction
  • Black Feminist Thought       
  • Diaspora Studies



  • Introduction to Literary Study: Imagining “America” in Narrative
  • Imagination & Interpretation: Autobiography and the Western Tradition
  • African American Literature: Vernacular Roots of a Literary Tradition
  • Black Like Us: Contemporary African American Autobiography
  • Literature and Culture of the African Diaspora
  • Literature for Real: Memoir & the Essay
  • Dramatizing Revolution: The Contexts of Ferguson
  • Beyoncé's New South Aesthetics


  • African American Autobiography: The Canon and the Contemporary
  • Black Women Writers: Foundations and New Directions
  • Migration Narratives: Urban Exodus, Ancestral Returns, and Global Souths
  • Race & Real Estate