Caribbean Studies Advisory Board
Assistant Professor, History
|Melanie J. Newton
Director, Caribbean Studies
Associate Professor, Caribbean Studies, Woman & Gender Studies
|Ramon Victoriano Martinez
Caribbean Studies, Language Studies
Assistant Professor, English
Faculty of Divinity
|M. Jacqui Alexander
Advisory Board Member
Spanish and Portuguese
Member Contact Info and Biographies:
Gina Beltrán (Ph.D. University of Toronto)
Course(s): NEW321H1S – Caribbean Visual Arts, Social Media and Performance
Dr. Gina Beltrán recently completed her Ph.D. in Spanish at the University of Toronto and is currently a Visiting Scholar in Latin American Studies at the University of Toronto. Her dissertation, entitled “Violence and Performance on the Latin American Stage”, uses violence as a theoretical framework to discuss and reconsider the political bearings of the Latin American theatre of the sixties. Her current research further expands her interest in violence and performance from an interdisciplinary perspective, focusing primarily on contemporary Colombian narrative and visual art. She was recipient of the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada’s Doctoral Scholarship.
Ramabai Espinet, B.A. (Hons) (York), Ph.D. (University of the West Indies)
Sessional Lecturer II, Caribbean Studies, St. George Campus.
Course(s): NEW325H1F – Caribbean Women Thinkers
Professor Espinet is an academic, a writer, and a critic. At present, she is a Professor of English at Seneca College in Toronto. She also teaches Post- Colonial Literature and Women’s Studies at the University of Toronto and is a Fellow of CERLAC (Centre for Research in Latin America and the Caribbean) at York University. Her published works include the collection of poetry Nuclear Seasons (1991), the children’s books The Princess of Spadina (1992) and Ninja’s Carnival (1993) as well as short fiction and poetry published in anthologies such as Her Mother’s Ashes, Aurat Durbar, Green Cane and Juicy Flotsam, Another Way to Dance and Wheel and Come Again. Her recent novel, The Swinging Bridge, was published in July 2003 by Harper Flamingo. She has edited Creation Fire, an anthology of Caribbean women’s poetry in several languages, containing the work of 121 poets. Her poetry/performance piece, Indian Robber Talk, has been staged in Toronto at several festivals including Desh Pardesh, Caribana and Rhythms of India 1993, and is featured on the video “Caribbean Women Writers,” produced by Wellesley College. Her poem, “Shay’s Robber Talk,” is published as the afterword to the 2nd edition of Looking White People in the Eye by Sherene Razack. Her preface to Yvonne Bobb-Smith’s work, I Know Who I Am, includes a long poem entitled “Praisesong for Miz Bobb.” Her field of research is Post-Colonial Literature and her interests range from popular culture especially calypso, chutney and the Carnivalesque aesthetic to the development of scholarship on the Indian diaspora. Her essays on these subjects have been published in Indenture and Exile, edited by Dr. Frank Birbalsingh; The Other Woman, edited by Makeda Silvera; and in World Literature Written in English, for example. She has been a calypso judge in Toronto for the past three years of Caribana competitions. She has worked with a women’s collective to write and produce the play, Beyond the Kala Pani, which deals with Indian women and indentureship in the Caribbean.
Course(s): NEW427H1S – Advanced Topics: The Hispanic Caribbean
Phone: (416) 978-8275
Arnold Itwaru (PhD Sociology, York University)
Senior Lecturer, Caribbean Studies, St. George Campus
Course(s): NEW224Y1Y – Caribbean Thought I; NEW424Y1Y – The Capitalist Press
Phone: (416) 978-8966
Office: WI 2015
Benjamin Landsee, PhD Candidate (History)
Course(s): JLN327H1F – Regional Perspectives on the Hispanic Caribbean
Benjamin Landsee is the 2013-2014 Senior Doctoral Fellow in Caribbean Studies at New College
Bertie Mandelblatt (PhD Historical Geography, University of London)
Assistant Professor, Department of History
Course(s): NEW320H1F – The Historical Geography of the Caribbean; NEW421H1S – Global Perspectives on the Haitian Revolution
Office: SS 2055
Bertie Mandelblatt completed a PhD in historical geography at the University of London in 2008 and then held a SSHRC postdoctoral fellowship at the Université de Montréal. During 2012/2013, she was a Fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS). Her research concerns food history, commodity exchanges and consumption in the French Atlantic world; her current book project, entitled Feeding the French Atlantic: Slavery, Empire and Food Provision in the French Caribbean, 1626-1789, examines global and local scales of the food provisioning of colonial (largely slave) populations of the Franco-Caribbean. This project examines colonial food consumption, and where and how foodstuffs were cultivated and acquired through trade within the political economic context of early modern French expansion in the New World. A central concern of this project is the economic, political and environmental effects of slaves’ food consumption throughout the broader French Atlantic and Europe. A second project treats the transatlantic and global circulation of French Caribbean rum and molasses between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries. It traces the production to consumption circuits of these commodities, seeking to understand their transformation from by-products of sugar processing of little and exclusively local value in the mid-seventeenth century into goods of substantial economic and geopolitical value by the nineteenth century.
Bertie Mandelblatt’s recent publications include articles in Histoire, Économie et Société (2011), French History (2011), History of European Ideas (2008) and History Workshop Journal (2007), as well as chapters in The Political Economy of Empire in the Early Modern World (Palgrave, 2013) and Handbook of Food History (OUP, 2012)
Nalini Mohabir, PhD Geography (University of Leeds)
Sessional Instructor, Caribbean Studies, St. George Campus
Course(s): NEW328H1F – Caribbean Indentureship and its Legacies
Melanie J. Newton, D. Phil. (Oxford)
Director, Caribbean Studies.
Associate Professor, Department of History, St. George
Courses: JHN323H1F – Indigeneity in the Caribbean; HIS294Y1 – Caribbean History and Culture: Indigenous Era to Emancipation
Phone: (416) 978 – 4054
Office: WI 2019
Melanie J. Newton received her doctorate in Modern History from Oxford University in 2001. She specializes in the social and cultural history of the Caribbean and the Atlantic World. She is the author of _The Children of Africa in the Colonies: Free People of Color in Barbados in the Age of Emancipation_ (Baton Louisiana State University Press, 2008) and numerous scholarly articles on gender, slavery and slave emancipation. Forthcoming publications include “Returns to a Native Land? Indigeneity and Decolonization in the Anglophone Caribbean” (small axe, 2013). She sits on the editorial boards of the journals small axe and the Canadian Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies. Her current research project is entitled This Island’s Mine: Indigeneity in the Caribbean Atlantic World.
Jared Toney, B.A., M.A. (University of South Florida), PhD Candidate (University of Toronto)
Course(s): NEW428H1S – Caribbean Migrations and Diasporas
Jared Toney is a PhD Candidate in the Department of History at the University of Toronto. His research examines the Afro-Caribbean diaspora in North America, analyzing the ways in which immigrant communities in Canada and the United States operated within and across local, national, and imperial contexts. The Afro-Caribbean diaspora, he argues, was integral to formulations and expressions of racial consciousness and de-territorialized community in the 1920s, as peoples of African descent circulated throughout the Atlantic world. By looking specifically at communities in Toronto, Montreal, and New York, he illustrates how urban and national spaces shaped immigrant encounters with race and the state. His work seeks to clarify the dialectical relationship between the local and global, the national and transnational, and the individual and community in the process of diaspora and discursive constructions of race in early twentieth century North America. His dissertation is entitled, “Locating Diaspora: Afro-Caribbean Migration Networks and the Trans-Local Dialectics of Race and Community in North America, 1910-1929.” Jared is the Senior Doctoral Fellow in Caribbean Studies at New College, and is the recent recipient of the Immigration and Ethnic History Society’s George Pozzetta Dissertation Award, the Marcus Garvey Foundation’s International Research Fellowship, and numerous internal awards at the University of Toronto.
Alissa Trotz, B.A. (Hons) (York), M.Phil., Ph.D. (Cambridge)
Associate Professor, Caribbean Studies and Woman & Gender Studies, St. George Campus
Course(s): NEW324H1S – The Contemporary Caribbean in a Global Context
Phone: (416) 978 – 8286
Office: WI 2041
Alissa Trotz is currently working on two projects: Mobility and security in the contemporary Caribbean; and a SSHRC-funded grant on history, memory and violence in colonial Guyana. Her recent essays have covered such topics as transnational feminism and the Caribbean (Caribbean Review of Gender Studies), Caribbean migration and diaspora (Global Networks; Small Axe: A Caribbean Journal of Criticism); historicizing the Caribbean family (Social and Economic Studies; New West Indian Guide); gender, coloniality and violence (Small Axe: A Caribbean Journal of Criticism) and the gendered politics of neoliberalism, social reproduction and women’s activism (Interventions: Journal of Postcolonial Studies). She guest-edited, with Aaron Kamugisha, a special issue of Race and Class to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the British slave trade (2007); with Kate Quinn, a special issue of Macomѐre on women and national political struggles in the Caribbean (Fall 2010) and is currently editing, with Deborah Thomas, a special issue of Social and Economic Studies on feminist epistemologies of violence in the Caribbean. She is a member of Red Thread Women’s Organization in Guyana (http://www.globalwomenstrike.net/guyana) and edits a weekly newspaper column, In the Diaspora, in the Stabroek News, Guyana (Http://www.stabroeknews.com/category/features/in-the-diaspora/).
Ramon Victoriano Martínez (PhD University of Toronto)
Sessional Instructor in Caribbean Studies (St. George) , Language Studies, Mississauga Campus
Course(s): NEW222H1F – Comparative Caribbean Literature
Professor Victoriano-Martínez has taught Criminal Law and Philosophy of Law. He played several roles in the Presidential Council for Culture in the Dominican Republic from 1997 to 2000, where he published, jointly with Dr. Luis O. Brea Franco, Report on the Diagnosis of the Cultural Sector: Compendium of Cultural Legislation Dominican (1998). He is also the translator of the book The Struggle for Political Democracy in Dominican Republic (Jonathan Hartlyn, Ramon A. Victoriano Martínez), published by the Global Foundation for Democracy and Development in 2008. His research revolves around the question about Dominican identity, from the figure of the “rayano” (the one from the border), leaning on a critical reading of El Masacre se pasa a pie (Freddy Prestol Castillo), The Farming of Bones(Edwige Danticat) Dominicanish (Josefina Báez), and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (Junot Diaz). Dr. Victoriano Martínez also lectures in Language Studies at the U of T Mississauga Campus.
Assistant Professor of English
Office: JH 919
Abrahim Khan, B.S. (Howard), B.D. (Yale), M.A., Ph.D. (McGill)
Professor, Faculty of Divinity, Trinity College, St. George Campus
Phone: (416) 978 – 3039
Office: LA 313
Abrahim H. Khan is a professor in the Faculty of Divinity at Trinity College, Director for its Advanced Degree Studies, cross-appointed to the Graduate Centre for the Study of Religion, and is member of the Centre for Ethics, and the Joint Centre for Bioethics at the University of Toronto.
Teaching and research interests together span Philosophy of Religion and Comparative studies in Religion: Kierkegaard’s thought; religion, medicine and healing; cross-cultural studies in religion and theology; religion and international diplomacy; science and religion; the religion scholar and evidentiary admissible statements in the court room; method and theory in religion. Specifically with religion, his focus is primarily on modern Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity.
He edits the Toronto Journal of Theology, co-edits Acta Kierkegaardiana series, is an IAHR executive committee office holder. He serves also on the AAR program unit Kierkegaard, Religion, and Society program , and convenes the Kierkegaard Circle at Trinity College.
M. Jacqui Alexander
Office: WI 2043
Animated by anti-colonial, feminist, women of color and queer movements in different parts of the world, Jacqui Alexander’s scholarship has addressed the centrality of (hetero)sexuality to the project of nation building; the pedagogical importance of teaching for justice; the need for a critical interdisciplinarity; and the sacred dimensions of women’s experience.
Her most recent publication, Pedagogies of the Sacred: Meditations on Feminism, Sexual Politics, Memory and the Sacred, has garnered transnational attention.
Nestor Rodriguez, (PhD Emory)
Associate Professor and Acting Chair of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, 2013-14)
Phone: (416) 585-4438
Office: NF 337
Professor Rodríguez was born in the Dominican Republic, and grew up in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He received a BA in Comparative Literature from the Universidad de Puerto Rico (Río Piedras), and a PhD from Emory University in Latin American Literature. He is the author of Escrituras de desencuentro en la República Dominicana (México: Siglo XXI, 2005). His essays and articles have appeared in academic journals such as Revista Canadiense de Estudios Hispánicos, Bulletin of Hispanic Studies, Revista Hispánica Moderna and Revista Iberoamericana, as well as in the literary supplements of La Jornada (México), El Nuevo Día (Puerto Rico), Hoy(Dominican Republic) and Diálogo (Puerto Rico).
Sean Mills, (PhD Queens)
Associate Professor, St. George Campus
Office: SS 2055A
Sean Mills is a historian of post-1945 Canadian and Quebec history, with research interests that include postcolonial thought, migration, race, gender, and the history of empire and oppositional movements. His articles have appeared in journals such as The Canadian Historical Review, Histoire Sociale/Social History, Mens: Revue d’histoire intellectuelle de l’Amérique française, as well as national and international collections of essays. In 2009 he co-edited New World Coming: The Sixties and the Shaping of Global Consciousness, a major collection of essays reassessing the meaning, impact, and global reach of the period’s social movements. In 2010 he published The Empire Within: Postcolonial Thought and Political Activism in Sixties Montreal, a book which received the Quebec Writers’ Federation First Book Award (2010), as well as an Honourable Mention for the Canadian Historical Association’s Sir John A. MacDonald Award (2011), given out annually for the best book in Canadian History. In 2011, Les Éditions Hurtubise published Contester l’empire. Pensée postcoloniale et militantisme politique à Montréal, 1963-1972. He is currently working on a history of Quebec’s relationship with Haiti.