Kenton Butcher is a Ph. D candidate in the Department of English at the University of Pennsylvania. His dissertation, “Ain’t No Shame: Contemporary Passing Narratives in African American and South African Literature” is a transnational comparison of the theme of racial passing. The project explores narrative representations of racial passing under neoliberalism as a way to theorize its relationship to the racial ideologies of colorblindness in the United States and non-racialism in South Africa.
Kenton completed a Fulbright-Hays fellowship in KwaZulu-Natal during the summer of 2022, and he also received the Foreign Language Area Studies fellowship from the U. S. Department of Education in 2018-19 and 2019-20 to study isiZulu. In addition to African American and South African literature, his other research interests include genre studies (particularly autobiography and tragedy), cinema studies, and Africana studies. Kenton also works on the history of Black life in Appalachia, and he serves on the board of directors for the Kilvert Community Museum in Athens County, Ohio. His work has appeared in Safundi, LIT: Literature, Interpretation, Theory, and Post45: Contemporaries.