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Marzia Milazzo Outside Buttrick Photos By: Susan Urmy

Associate Professor
Name: Marzia Milazzo
Location: B Ring 722A Auckland Park Kingsway Campus
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Contact Details:
Tel: +27 (0) 11 559 2768


About Prof. Marzia Milazzo


MA, English & Spanish (Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg)

PhD, Comparative Literature (University of California, Santa Barbara)

Teaching and Research Interests

Marzia Milazzo is Associate Professor of English at the University of Johannesburg. Her research is broadly concerned with the relationship between the poetics and politics of both racist and antiracist discourses. Her research and teaching areas, in no particular order, include twentieth and twenty-first century African American, Afro-Latin American, Chicanx/Latinx, Inter-American, and South African literatures; Black radical thought, Critical Race Theory (CRT), and the history and sociology of racism. Prior to joining UJ, Milazzo was Assistant Professor of English at Vanderbilt University, USA, and an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at Rhodes University, Makhanda.

Milazzo’s first book, Colorblind Tools: Global Technologies of Racial Power (Northwestern UP, Critical Insurgencies series, 2022), offers a transnational account of anti‑Blackness and white supremacy that pushes against the dominant emphasis on historical change that pervades current racial theory. Bringing together a capacious archive of texts on race produced in Brazil, Cuba, Mexico, Panama, the United States, and South Africa from across multiple disciplines and genres, Milazzo uncovers transnational continuities in structural racism and white supremacist discourse from the inception of colonial modernity to the present. In the process, she traces the global workings of what she calls colorblind tools: technologies and strategies that at once camouflage and reproduce white domination. Milazzo’s study proves that colorblindness is not new, nor is it a subtype of racist ideology or a hallmark of our era. It is a constitutive technology of racism—a tool the master cannot do without.

You can read more about Colorblind Tools here:

Currently, Milazzo is working on a book-length study on contemporary South African literature, tentatively titled Darkening Rainbow: Post-Apartheid Writing and the Politics of Race.  

Selected Publications


Colorblind Tools: Global Technologies of Racial Power. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University

Press, 2022.

Peer-reviewed articles in journals

You can read Milazzo’s articles and book reviews here:

“The Ruse of Impurity: Paul Gilroy’s The Black Atlantic and the Politics of Hybridity” (forthcoming 2023).

“Mark Mathabane’s K*ffir Boy, Black Consciousness, and the Fallacies of Liberalism.” ARIEL, vol. 52, no. 3-4, 2021, p. 29-62.

“‘To Grasp the Gaping Grave’: Blackness, Death, and the Afterlife of Slavery in Unathi Slasha’s Jah Hills. Current Writing, vol. 32, no. 2, 2020, p. 134-144.

“Speaking for the Refugee Other: Missioneering, White Saviourism, and the Politics of Ethnographic Representation in Luis Alberto Urrea’s Across the Wire.” Scrutiny2, vol. 24, no. 1, 2019, pp. 58-72.

“On White Ignorance, White Shame, and Other Pitfalls in Critical Philosophy of Race.” Journal of Applied Philosophy, vol. 34, no. 4, August 2017, pp. 557-572.

“Reconciling Racial Revelations in Post-Apartheid South African Literature.” Research in African Literatures, vol. 47, no. 1, Spring 2016, pp. 128-148.

“The Rhetorics of Racial Power: Enforcing Colorblindness in Post-Apartheid Scholarship on Race.” Journal of International and Intercultural Communication, vol. 8, no. 1, February 2015, pp. 7-26. *Kimberlé Crenshaw Outstanding Article Award Honorable Mention

Read it here (open access):

“White Supremacy, White Knowledge, and Anti-West Indian Discourse in Panama: Olmedo Alfaro’s El peligro antillano en la América Central.The Global South, vol. 6, no. 2, Fall 2013, pp. 65-86.

“Racial Power and Colorblindness: The ‘Sad Black Stories’ of Kgebetli Moele’s Room 207 and Twenty-First Century Black South African Fiction.” Journal of Commonwealth and Postcolonial Studies, vol. 1, no. 1, Spring 2013, pp. 33-59.

“Brazil’s Mestiçagem in the African American Imagination: From the ‘Nadir of the Negro’ to Gayl Jones’s Corregidora.” Tinta: Research Journal of Hispanic and Lusophone Studies, vol. 10, Spring 2010, pp. 37-46. (Journal no longer active).

Peer-reviewed book chapters

“‘To Go into America as I Go into Myself:’ Chicanx Indigenism, the Indigenous Other, and the Ethnographic Gaze in Juan Felipe Herrera’s Mayan Drifter” (forthcoming 2023).

“‘The Whims of the White Masters’: Miriam Tlali’s Between Two Worlds and the Totality of White Power.” African Philosophical and Literary Possibilities: Re-reading the Canon, edited by Aretha Phiri. Lexington Books, 2020, pp. 131-148.

“On the Transportability, Malleability, and Longevity of Colorblindness: Reproducing White Supremacy in Brazil and South Africa.” Seeing Race Again: Countering Colorblindness Across the Disciplines, edited by Kimberlé Crenshaw, Luke Harris, Daniel HoSang, and George Lipsitz. University of California Press, 2019, pp. 105-127.

“The Rhetorics of Racial Power: Enforcing Colorblindness in Post-Apartheid Scholarship on Race.” Race(ing) Intercultural Communication: Racial Logics in a Colorblind Era, edited by Dreama G. Moon and Michelle A. Holling. Routledge, 2015. [Reprint]

Book reviews

“Capturing Dambudzo Marechera: A Review of Flora Veit-Wild Memoir.” Mail & Guardian, vol. 37, no. 16, 23-29 April 2021, p. 38. Read it here:

Conspicuous Consumption in Africa by Deborah Posel and Ilana van Wyk. Ethnic and Racial Studies, vol. 44, no. 8, 2021, pp. 1445-1447. Read it here (open access):

A Survey of South African Crime Fiction: Critical Analysis and Publishing History by Sam Naidu and Elizabeth le Roux. Research in African Literatures, vol. 50, no. 2, Summer 2019, pp. 259-261.

Mestizaje and Globalization: Transformations of Identity and Power by Stefanie Wickstrom and Philip Young, eds. American Indian Quarterly, vol. 40, no. 4, Fall 2016, pp. 379-381.

The Pan American Imagination: Contested Visions of the Hemisphere in Twentieth-Century Literature by Stephen Park. Journal of American History, vol. 102, no. 4, March 2016, pp. 1231.

Walls of Empowerment: Chicana/o Indigenist Murals of California by Guisela Latorre. Aztlán, vol. 36, no. 1, Spring 2011, pp. 241-244.

Chicana Art: The Politics of Spiritual and Aesthetic Altarities by Laura E. Pérez. Ethnic and Third World Review of Books, vol. 8, Spring 2008.

Mayan Drifter: Chicano Poet in the Lowlands of America by Juan Felipe Herrera. Ethnic and Third World Review of Books, vol. 7, Spring 2007.

Estado y contemplación by Giancarlo Huapaya. Pelícano, vol. 2, Nov. 2005, pp. 68-69. Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza by Gloria Anzaldúa. Ethnic and Third World Review of Books, vol. 5, Spring 2005.