Christopher Allen Varlack, Ph.D. is a lecturer in the Individualized Study Program and Honors College at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), where he teaches courses in civil rights literature, graphic diasporic literature, creative writing, and composition. He has earned a Ph.D. from Morgan State University (2015), an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast MFA Program (2010), as well as a BA in Communications from Loyola College in Maryland (2008).
As a creative writer, he is interested in how literature can preserve or reclaim the voices of the past, shedding new light on the struggles and the people who ultimately shape our experience today. Much of his writing therefore focuses on social justice issues that affect the African-American community at large, using the medium of creative non-fiction and poetry to provide commentary not only on the world in which we live but also insight into theories of Black community formation, inspired by the work of poets such as Langston Hughes and Claude McKay.
In terms of scholarship, his interests are in nineteenth- and twentieth-century American literature with emphases on race, gender, and cultural politics. Some of his recent publications in this field include chapters in Critical Insights: Zora Neale Hurston (Salem 2013), Baby Boomers and Popular Culture: An Inquiry into America’s Most Powerful Generation (Praeger 2014), and Bury My Heart in a Free Land: Black Women Intellectuals in Modern U.S. History (Praeger 2017). In addition, he has served as the editor for two edited collections: Critical Insights: Harlem Renaissance (Grey House 2015) and Critical Insights: Civil Rights Literature, Past and Present (Grey House 2017). He is currently working on a monograph exploring the concept of the "black group soul" and theories of Black aggregation in the fiction of Claude McKay.
He serves as the president of the Langston Hughes Society and assistant treasurer of the College Language Association.