Megan Cole Paustian

Associate Professor of English, Co-coordinator of Race and Ethnic Studies


+1 630 637 5274

Office Location

KH 208

Profile Picture

Megan Cole Paustian teaches courses in literature, race studies, gender studies, and academic writing. She also serves as co-coordinator of the Race and Ethnic Studies Program. She received her Ph.D. from Rutgers University in 2013, where she was recognized as a Jacob K. Javits Fellow and a Charlotte W. Newcombe Fellow. Her research focuses on the relationship between literature and humanitarian thought with a focus on African fiction. She is the author of Humanitarian Fictions: Africa, Altruism, and the Narrative Imagination, which was published by Fordham University Press in 2024. The book begins from the premise that humanitarianism has a narrative problem and argues that the novel—with its profound sensitivity to narrative—can enrich the critique of white saviorism in Africa while also envisioning more ethical forms of international responsibility. 

Selected Scholarship

Humanitarian Fictions: Africa, Altruism, and the Narrative Imagination, Fordham University Press, January 2024.

"Humanitarianism's Narrative Problem and its Missionary History," Critical Investigations into Humanitarianism in Africa, April 2024.

“Dogs, Whiteness, and the Politics of African Humanity.” Modern Fiction Studies 67.3 (Fall 2021): 443-467.

"A Postcolonial Theory of Universal Humanity: Bessie Head's Ethics of the Margins." Humanity: An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism, and Development 9.3 (Winter 2018): 343-362.

“ ‘A Real Heaven on Their Own Earth’: Religious Missions, African Writing, and the Anticolonial Imagination.” Research in African Literatures 45.2 (Summer 2014): 1-25.

 “Living Beyond Apartheid: The Territorial Ethics of Reconciliation.” Safundi: The Journal of South African and American Studies 15.1 (February 2014): 101-122.

 “Recreating the African City in Zakes Mda’s Ways of Dying.postamble: A Multidiciplinary Journal of African Studies 4.2 (2008).

Courses Taught

Black Narrative

Black Lives Matter: Race, Writing, and the History of Protest

Feminism, Gender, and Queer Theory

Introduction to English

First-Year Seminar: Writing

Multicultural American Literature

Gender and Literary Feminisms

How to Read Stories and Novels