Professor Ashe’s research focuses on late twentieth-century and early twenty-first century literature and culture. Twisted: My Dreadlock Chronicles (Agate, 2015), his current book, explores issues of black male identity, black vernacular culture, and black hair by narrating the journey of locking his hair while also exploring the history and cultural resonances of the dreadlock hairstyle in America.
He teaches and writes about contemporary American culture, primarily post-Civil Rights Movement African American literature and culture (often referred to as “post-blackness” or the “post-soul aesthetic”), as well as the black vernacular triumvirate of black hair, basketball, and jazz.
His first book, From Within the Frame: Storytelling in African-American Fiction (Routledge, 2002) tracks the development of the African American “frame text,” from Charles Chesnutt’s The Conjure Woman through John Edgar Wideman’s “Doc’s Story,” with chapters that focus on Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, and Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man along the way.
“Renegades in the Kitchen,” in The Hair Craft Project catalog (forthcoming)
“Who’s Afraid of Post-Soul Satire?: Touré’s Black Widow Trilogy in The Portable Promised Land,” Post-Soul Satire: Black Identity after Civil Rights (University Press of Mississippi, 2014).
“Post-Soul President: Dreams from My Father and the Post-Soul Aesthetic,” The Obama Effect: Multidisciplinary Renderings of the 2008 Campaign (New York: SUNY Press, 2010).
“Paul Beatty’s White Boy Shuffle Blues: Jazz Poetry, John Coltrane, and the Post-Soul Aesthetic,” in Thriving on a Riff: Jazz and Blues Influences in African American Literature and Film (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009).