Skip to Global Navigation Skip to Local Site Navigation Skip to Main Content

Laura Murphy

Assistant Professor

Laura Murphy
Laura Murphy

Laura Murphy received her Ph.D. in African and African American Studies at Harvard University in 2008. Her research focuses on African literatures, historical and modern slavery, postcolonial studies, global literatures, and Black Atlantic cultures. She is the lead researcher for Loyola's Modern Slavery Research Project.  Her first book, Metaphor and the Slave Trade in West African Literature (Ohio University Press 2012, winner of the African Literature Association First Book Prize), examines the coded ways West African writers have memorialized the trauma of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Her Survivors of Slavery: Modern-Day Slave Narratives (Columbia University Press, 2014) explores human trafficking through the first-person testimony of nearly forty people who have been enslaved in the last twenty years. She is currently working on a book titled The New Slave Narrative, a literary critical analysis of the reemergence of the slave narrative tradition in the late 20th century.  Her articles have appeared in Cambridge Journal of Postcolonial Inquiry, Slavery and Abolition, Research in African Literatures, Studies in the Novel, GenreThe Journal of the African Literature Association, College LiteratureLA Review of Books, and The Zeleza Post. In addition to her academic work, she is the co-director of the New Orleans node of the Scholars Strategy Network and organizer of the New Orleans Human Trafficking Working Group. She is also the director of African and African American Studies at Loyola.


Ph.D., Harvard University; M.A., Harvard University, M.A., Syracuse University; B.A., Louisiana State University

Classes Taught

  • Critical Reading and Writing
  • Writing about Literature: Literary Globetrotters
  • 21st Century Slavery and Abolition
  • Images of Africa
  • Magical Realities, Global Fictions
  • Postcolonial Literatures
  • The African Novel and the Burden of Memory
  • Literature and Injustice


Areas of Expertise

African literature, postcolonial studies/global literature, modern day slavery, literature of the African diaspora