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Cynthia Young

Cynthia Young Headshot

Cynthia Young

Chair of Department



470 University Hall
230 N. Oval Mall
Columbus, Ohio 43210

Office Hours: Wednesday 11am-1pm or by appointment.

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Areas of Expertise

  • Black British cultural studies; civil rights history; US right-wing movements; the war on terror; US imperialism; African diasporic film and popular culture


  • PhD, Yale University

Cynthia A. Young is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of African American and African Studies at The Ohio State University. Previously, she has taught and led Black Studies departments at Boston College and The Pennsylvania State University. At Penn State, she co-led a cluster hire that recruited 11 Africana scholars to the university. Her first book, Soul Power (Duke UP) considers a group of white, Black, and Latinx writers, filmmakers, and unionists whose art and activism were inspired by US civil rights and anticolonial movements in Cuba, China, and Ghana. Her second book Culture Wars, Terror Wars, considers how US racialization, state surveillance and immigration transformed and intensified during the so-called war on terror. She is particularly interested in how civil rights rhetoric has been appropriated by right-wing terror groups to promote white supremacy to a mainstream, white audience. During her graduate school years, she was a grad student union organizer at Yale University, which was finally recognized in 2022 after a 30+ year battle for union representation. She has been recognized for her efforts to support and sustain underrepresented scholars and their work with two Mellon grants totaling over $1 million dollars.

Trained as a literary critic and an interdisciplinary cultural historian, she specializes in 20th century radical social movements, US civil rights history, 21st century forms of antiblackness, and African diasporic cultural production reflecting the precarity of Black life facing economic exploitation, xenophobia, and various forms of state and imperial terror.

Sample Publications:

Young, Cynthia. "On Strike at Yale." Minnesota Review 45 (1995): 179-195. muse.jhu.edu/article/439246.

Young, Cynthia A. "Black Ops: Black Masculinity and the War on Terror." American Quarterly 66, no. 1 (2014): 35-67. https://doi.org/10.1353/aq.2014.0015.

Young, Cynthia A., and Min Hyoung Song. "Forum Introduction: Whiteness Redux or Redefined?" American Quarterly 66, no. 4 (2014): 1071 1076. https://doi.org/10.1353/aq.2014.0072.

Young, Cynthia A. "Colin Powell: A Life Served as Fodder for US Imperialism." ProQuest, Oct 22, 2021, http://proxy.lib.ohio-state.edu/login?url=https://www.proquest.com/blogs-podcasts-websites/colin-powell-life-served-as-fodder-us-imperialism/docview/2584446359/se-2.

Please see the attached pdf Curriculum Vitae (CV) below.