Lana L. Ajlani

Thesis title: The Sonic Evolution of 20th-Century African American Protest Poetry


Pursuing a PhD in literature with an emphasis on the oratorical and sonic power of African American literature — whether artistic forms of expression or on political platforms.


Current - PhD Candidate - University of Edinburgh - English Literature - studying the evolution of African American poetic sound through artistic and political movements

MSc (Distinction) - University of Edinburgh - US Literature, Cultural Values from Revolution to Empire - Dissertation: “The Right Spark”: Mapping the Evolution of Black and White Syntax in the Selected Speeches of Malcolm X (1961-1965)

BBA - American University in Dubai - Marketing, Minor in Literature

Research summary

Centered around rhetoric, lexicon, and sound, most of the research explores the power and impact of vocal expression — whether through poetics, literature, or oration. This also extends into African American literature, 20th-century US history, non-fiction and life writing, as well as war novels and poetry.

Current research interests

Currently specializing in African American poetry and the Civil Rights Movement.



June 2022 - HOTCUS Conference - Edinburgh, UK - scheduled to present the findings of my MSc dissertation on the evolution of Malcolm X's vernacular, sound, and tone resulting from a shift in his political views

Self-Defense through Sound in Claudia Rankine’s Citizen

Canadian Review of American Studies | Volume 51, Issue 2 | ‘21

As a contemporary multimedia poem, the paper studied Rankine’s oscillation between poetry and prose to sonically and visually reflect racist micro- and macro-aggressions.