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#BLKLitProfessor Self-Portrait
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As both a scholar and creative writer, Dr. Varlack is concerned with calling attention to the voices of those who are silent or silenced and the ways in which people of color respond socially as well as politically to the traditions of oppression at work within the United States. Much of his research is therefore focused upon tracing the theories of the Black utopia and what Claude McKay termed "the Black group soul" in the works of the Harlem Renaissance era. The Harlem Renaissance, after all, was a time of explosive production for Black artists, but it was also a moment when "the Negro was in vogue" (Hughes), capturing the attention of the nation. Thus, he contends that these works still hold continued value today for the insights that they offer into topics such as Black aggregation, the color line, and the decolonization of the African-American mind.

In his efforts to better understand the lessons that the luminaries of the Harlem Renaissance left behind, Dr. Varlack is particularly interested in exploring how authors such as Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Nella Larsen, and Claude McKay used the crucible of fiction to test out real-world theories and approaches to Black disenfranchisement while actively encouraging diversified representations of Blackness in art and popular culture of the day. Currently, he is working on a book project that examines the six novels produced by Claude McKay as an international journey to find the Black utopia and to determine concrete strategies that could bring about the Black group soul. In addition, he is currently in the process of examining autobiographical works of the Harlem Renaissance as both sociocultural criticism and literary manifestos.

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