Aija Oksman

Thesis title: Gifted, Black and Under Scrutiny: Radicalism of Black Women Writers and Their Counterliterary Struggle with The FBI.


My foremost research interest is on African American, women’s and other marginalised and minority groups’ literary, cultural and socio-economical actions and counteractions. I embrace an interdisciplinary approach to my research. An interim interest in publishing and how minority language literatures are (under) represented in Anglophone publishing lead to an MLitt at the University of Stirling. My MSc research at the University of Edinburgh focused on concepts of self-representation and my dissertation was awarded distinction. Continuing as a PhD candidate at the University of Edinburgh, my research combines personal and academic interdisciplinary interests and competences in literature, publishing and the variety of historical, cultural and societal impacts as experienced by minority writers. My current research focuses on early- to mid-20th century African American women writer’s literary and counterliterary experience.


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PhD University of Edinburgh, Scotland, UK: Thesis: Gifted, Black and Under Scrutiny: Radicalism of Black Women Writers and Their Counterliterary Struggle with The FBI.

MSc (Merit) University of Edinburgh, Scotland: U.S. Literature, Dissertation with Distinction: “The Conflict and Concord in Self-representation of Frederick Douglass and Sojourner Truth”

MLitt (Merit) University of Stirling, Scotland Publishing, including High Commendation Award from University of Stirling and Freight Publishing for MLitt Postgraduate Project: “Pursuit – Empowering Post-natal Depression”

BA Paris Lodron University Salzburg, Austria: English Literature and Linguistics

Responsibilities & affiliations


Book Reviews Editor with U.S. Studies Online (USSO).

British Association for American Studies (BAAS), Member.

BAAS Teaching American Studies Network (TASN), Member.


Undergraduate teaching

2021/2022 Literary Studies 1 A

2021/2022 and 2022/2023 Literary Studies 1B 

2022/2023 Literary Studies 2 A: English Literature in the World, 1380-1788

2022/2023 Literary Studies 2 B: English Literature in the World, post-1789

2022/2023 Scottish Literature 2 B

Research summary

 My PhD research focused on the counterliterary action and reaction of 20th century African American women writers and artists during J. Edgar Hoover's tenure as the Director of the FBI.


Current research interests

Specialism in feminism and womanism, the history of racism and racial violence, African American literature and history, enslavement history and literatures, minority identities and self-representations of identities. All specialism considerations are from an intersectional and interdisciplinary perspective.

Past research interests

Literary identity and English language translation and demand of minority languages - with MLitt dissertation written about on Finnish literature, and the sub-languages namely Finland-Swedish and Sami, in publishing in the U.K and the U.S.

Current project grants

Recipient of European Association for American Studies (EAAS) Intra-European Postgraduate Travel Grant 2020.

Recipient of The Moray Endowment Fund 2020.

The Guilty Pleasures of the F.B.I: Lorraine Hansberry and James Baldwin. Heidelberg Center for American Studies (HCA) Graduate Blog, 

Reflection on ‘Responding to Sexual Violence in Higher Education – Organisations, Initiatives, and Activism’, BAAS 2022. U.S. Studies Online,

Event Review: SASA Conference 2021 (Online). U.S. Studies Online,

"Abolitionist Feminism Then and Now" - Two part series. The Modernist Review, The British Association of Modernist Studies; 

#1: Sojourner Truth

#2: Eslanda Cardozo Goode Robeson

"The Conflict and Concord in Self-Representation of Frederick Douglass and Sojourner Truth." University of Edinburgh MSc Dissertation, 2018. 

“Frederick Douglass’s Literary Appendix as a Tool of Self-representation,” U.S. Studies Online;

Review of “Hattiesburg – An American City in Black and White, By William Sturkey.” U.S. Studies Online,

“Kaleidoscopic reGeneration.” A two-part article on the female-to-male transitioning journey of Seth, published in Myxogyny, 2019 Ellie Maxwell Award winning online platform for marginalised individuals who face hardship due to their gendered, non-gendered identity or sexuality.

Part 1:

Part 2:

December 1, 2018 – Presented part of a chapter from my current research under the title of “Jane Crow Modernism: How African American women writers shaped the counterliterary modernism under FBI spyglass.” Eight Annual BAMS Postgraduate Conference, University of Glasgow. Session Three.

March 6, 2021 – Presented paper "The F.B. Eye's Guilty Pleasures: FBI's Appreciation of Lorraine Hansberry and James Baldwin." Scottish Association for the Study of America (SASA) Annual Conference (Online) March 5-6, 2021.

April 9, 2021 – Panel participant with  Session 10A:  “A stream cannot rise higher than its source”: African American Women’s Self-Representation, 1861-2018. Presented a pre-circulated paper titled: "From Abolitionist to Revolutionary Feminism: Embodying 20th Century Radical Foremothers." The British Association for American Studies (BAAS) 66th Annual Convention: Digital BAAS 2021. March 5-11, 2021.

June 11, 2021 – Presented an overall summary of my research, entitled "Black Literary Womanhood Under the F.B. Eye: African American Women Writers’ Counterliterary Experience under J. Edgar Hoover’s F.B.I." Roosevelt Institute for American Studies (RIAS) PhD Webinar.

March 5, 2022 – Presented paper “Race, Sexism and Self-Defence: The Trials of Claudia Jones and Angela Davis.” Scottish Association for the Study of America  (SASA) Annual Conference (Online). 

April 21, 2022 – Panel participant  with Session B9: Art and Action: Empowerment, Engagement and Selfhood through Art. Presented paper titled "Re-imagining the Self: The Portrait Photography of Frederick Douglass and Sojourner Truth." The British Association for American Studies (BAAS) 67th Annual Convention, hosted by the University of Hull, April 21-23, 2022. 

May 19, 2022 – Presented paper "Re-imagining the Self: The Portrait Photography of Frederick Douglass and Sojourner Truth."  Shaping the Self: The Construction of Identity in the Nineteenth Century, the University of Edinburgh.

July 1, 2022 – Presenting "Race, Sexism and Self Defence: The Trials of Claudia Jones and Angela Davis." Society for the History of Women in the Americas (SHAW).