ADI Spotlight: Jolaun Hunter

Jan. 24, 2024

Jolaun Hunter (She/Her)               

Jolaun Hunter smiling in Spelman paraphernalia and graduation stole.

Department: English

Program Year: G3

Undergraduate Institution: Spelman College (BA in English)

Hometown: Bronx, New York

ADI Affiliations:

Tell us about your background.

I was born and raised as an only child in the Bronx, NY. I am very close to my family and love living less than 2 hours away from home. Growing up, I enjoyed hobbies like playing basketball and the violin. I also dabbled in volleyball and cross-country running in high school. My K-12 educational experience took place at PWIs, so by the end of high school I felt strongly about attending an HBCU. Attending an HBCU was one of the best decisions of my life and I am a proud HBCU alum and advocate! I am also a proud member of the BeyHive. I attended two of Beyonce’s Renaissance tour shows this summer and enjoyed every minute of them! My favorite songs on the Renaissance album are “Alien Superstar,” “Church Girl,” and “Cuff It.”

What are your research interests?  What excites you about it?

My primary research interests are situated within the fields of African American literature, Black feminist studies, cultural studies, Black digital media studies, and popular culture studies. Recently, I have spent a lot of time thinking about the role that laughter plays in Toni Morrison’s Beloved. These thoughts have developed into a conference paper, titled “Fleshy Laughter that Evades Linguistic Capture in Toni Morrison’s Beloved,” which I presented at the 2022 MMLA Conference. In this paper, I argued that Morrison's deployment of laughter, through the character’s memories and voices reveals the author's use of laughter, and its subsequent expansion of space and pausing of time, as an embodied affective practice that often denotes ineffable ways of knowing.

In addition to studying African American literature of the long 20th century, I’m also interested in contemporary digital literatures from writers like A’ziah “Zola” King and Teju Cole. One of my first research projects in college asked really broad questions about Black Twitter and humor. My interest in social media, race, and affect has prevailed over the years, although now I’m more focused on digital narratives and archives from Black writers and creators.

How has ADI programming impacted you? 

ADI programming has helped to expand my on-campus community at Princeton! Having an amazing GSP mentor (shoutout to Salwa!) and fun events to attend are experiences that have helped me feel more comfortable in graduate school.

What's been most helpful to you in acclimating to Princeton?

Instilling balance and rest in my day-to-day schedule has been helpful for my acclimation to Princeton. I’m just as intentional about my schoolwork as I am about taking the time to watch my favorite TV shows, participating in workout classes, and getting my nails done regularly!

What would you be doing if you weren’t in grad school?

I'd probably be an interior designer or a luxury personal shopper. I love to shop!

How would your friends describe you? 

Funny, talkative, honest, and caring.

What should the ADI community know about you?

The ADI community should know that I really like playing board/card games and am always down for a game night!

What is, or would be, your superpower?

Does overthinking count? If not, my dream superpower would be time travel and/or teleportation.

What’s on your mind?

General exams, Coco Gauff winning the U.S. Open, Beyoncé's Renaissance tour outfits, Alice Walker's The Color Purple, and this season of Project Runway!