Comparative American Studies
Department Chair:
Wendy Kozol, Chair

Administrative Assistant:
Linda Pardee

Department Email:

Phone: (440) 775-5290
Fax: (440) 775-8644

King 141
10 N. Professor Street
Oberlin, OH, 44074-1095

Afia Ofori-Mensa

Afia Ofori-Mensa

Visiting Assistant Professor of Comparative American Studies and Africana Studies (2010)
Affiliate of GSFS
Director, Office of Undergraduate Research

Contact Information


Peters 126
(440) 775-6973

Personal Office Hours:
by appointment

Afia Ofori-Mensa

Afia Ofori-Mensa

Afia Ofori-Mensa

Educational Background

  • Bachelor of Arts, University of Pennsylvania, 2002
  • Master of Arts, University of Michigan, 2005
  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Michigan 2010

Afia Ofori-Mensa is a specialist in narratives and cultures of communities of color in the 20th- and 21st-century U.S. Her primary research interests are in ethnic studies, American studies, women's and gender studies, and popular culture studies. Her current book project examines relationships among femininity, race, and U.S. national identity using beauty pageantry and princess culture as case studies. She is also a photographer; her piece "The Winner" was exhibited at Oberlin College in 2012. 

She came to Oberlin as an Oberlin College-University of Michigan Partnership Postdoctoral Fellow and is now Director of the Office of Undergraduate Research.

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Brian Su-Jen Chung and Afia Ofori-Mensa. "The School and 'The Streets': Race, Class, Sound, and Space in Step Up and Step Up 2." In Movies, Moves, and Music: The Sonic World of Dance Films. Edited by Mark Evans and Pauline Manley. Equinox: London. 2014. (Forthcoming)

Courses Offered

  • CAST/AAST 117: Immigrant and Second-Generation American Narratives
  • CAST/AAST 240: How to Win a Beauty Pageant: Race, Gender, Culture, and U.S. National Identity
  • CAST/AAST 345: Narratives of Passing

  • Media