Faculty

Caribbean Studies Faculty/Instructors:
Nestor Rodríguez
Ramiro Armas-Austria
Kevin Edmonds
Ramabai Espinet
Bernardo García-Domínguez
Arnold Itwaru
Joseph Klemens
Lee L’Clerc
Melanie J. Newton
Chris Ramsaroop
Alissa Trotz

Caribbean Studies Advisory Board Members:

Gustavo Bobonis (Economics)
Kevin Edmonds (Caribbean Studies)
Chris Johnson (Women and Gender Studies Institute/History)
Abrahim H. Khan (Religion)
Sean Mills (History)
Melanie J. Newton (History)
Víctor Rivas (Spanish and Portuguese)
Nestor E. Rodriguez (Spanish and Portuguese)
Shauna Sweeney (History)
Alissa Trotz (Women and Gender Studies Institute/Caribbean Studies)
Rinaldo Walcott (Women and Gender Studies Institute)

 

Program Director

Dr. Kevin Edmonds is serving as Acting Director of the Caribbean Studies Program for the period of January 1st to June 30th, 2021.

 

Néstor E. Rodríguez 
Associate Professor of Spanish, Director of the Caribbean Studies Program
nestor.rodriguez@utoronto.ca | 1-416-585-4438
Office location:  Northrop Frye Hall, Room 337

Néstor E. Rodríguez is an Associate Professor of Spanish, specializing in Caribbean and Latin American intellectual history and cultural production. He received his B.A. in Comparative Literature from the Universidad de Puerto Rico and his Ph.D. in Latin American Literature from Emory University in 2003. Prof. Rodríguez is the author of Escrituras de desencuentro en la República Dominicana (2005), translated into English as Divergent Dictions: Contemporary Dominican Literature (2010), and two books of essays: Crítica para tiempos de poco fervor (2009) and Interposiciones (2019). He has written widely on Dominican, Cuban and Puerto Rican cultural production, particularly on issues of race and nationalism in literature, on the role of intellectuals in Hispanic Caribbean societies and on Latin American poetry. He has also published four poetry collections: Animal pedestre (San Juan, 2004), El desasido (Mexico, 2009), Limo (Rio de Janeiro, 2018) and Poesía reunida (Santo Domingo, 2018). With Susan Antebi he edits the book series Latinoamericana for the University of Toronto Press. His current research project is titled Insular Landscapes: Hispanic Caribbean Poetry in a Conflictive Modernity. Prof. Rodríguez teaches two University of Toronto joint courses, “Contemporary Caribbean Literatures and Identities” (Spanish & Portuguese/Caribbean Studies) and “Regional Perspectives on the Hispanic Caribbean” (Latin American Studies/Caribbean Studies).

 

Instructors


Ramiro Armas-Austria
Sessional Instructor

Ramiro Armas-Austria is a cross-disciplinary scholar in the fields of Hispanic visual cultures and psychoanalysis. He holds a Ph.D. in Latin American Literature from the University of Toronto and has held different positions as a professor of Spanish, French and translation, as well as Hispanic culture, cinema and literature at York University, Trent University and the University of Toronto. He is presently a psychoanalyst from the Toronto Psychoanalytic Institute, branch of the International Psychoanalytic Association, and has a private clinical practice, specializing in adolescence and sexuality. He has participated in various presentations and publications on the topic of the varied representations of adolescents in Hispanic filmography, such as the edited volume New Visions of Adolescence in Contemporary Latin American Cinema (2018) and Politics of Children in Latin American Film (2019). He is currently working on a book manuscript, provisionally entitled The Aqueous Joy of Adolescence: Subjectivation, Sexuation and the Politics of Difference in Millennium Hispanic Cinema.

Courses taught: NEW426H1F

Email address: ramiro.armasaustria@utoronto.ca


Kevin Edmonds
Ph.D. candidate in political science at the University of Toronto specializing in Caribbean political economy, histories of alternative/illicit development, foreign intervention and the region’s radical political tradition. His publications include “Guns, Gangs and Garrison Communities in the Politics of Jamaica at the Turn of the Century”, “An Illusive Independence: Neocolonial Intervention in the Caribbean” and “Eradicating Opportunity: Global Capitalism and the Future of Cannabis in Caribbean”. His work has been recognized by multiple scholarships, including the Dr. Josiah Deboran and Flora Seedansingh Award, Centre for Critical Development Studies, OGS, IDRC and SSHRC.

Email address: kevin.edmonds@utoronto.ca


Ramabai Espinet
Sessional Lecturer II

Dr. Ramabai Espinet is an academic, a writer, and a critic. A graduate of York University, (B.A. Hons. English, M.A. English), she completed her Ph.D. (1993) at the University of the West Indies, Trinidad. Her thesis examined the place of Euro-Creole women writers, with particular reference to the work of Jean Rhys and Phyllis Shand Allfrey. She teaches in the Caribbean Studies Program (Post-Colonial Literature and Women’s Studies) at New College, University of Toronto. Dr. Espinet retired recently from her post as Professor of English, Seneca College, Toronto. She is also a Fellow of CERLAC (Centre for Research in Latin America and the Caribbean) at York University.

Her published creative works include the novel, The Swinging Bridge (2003), a finalist for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize in 2003, a text of the Robert Adams lecture series (Canada), long-listed for the IMPAC literary prize in 2005 and published in Paris by Editions du Rocher (Le Pont Suspendu) in 2007. In 2008, Ramabai Espinet received the inaugural Nicolas Guillén Prize for Philosophical Literature from the Caribbean Philosophical Association. Her publications include the collection of poetry Nuclear Seasons (1991), the performance piece Indian Robber -Talk, and the children’s books The Princess of Spadina (1992) and Ninja’s Carnival (1993). Espinet’s short fiction and poetry are published in anthologies such as Trinidad Noir, Blue Latitudes, Green Cane and Juicy Flotsam, Beyond Sangre Grande, Another Way to Dance and Wheel and Come Again, and also in journals such as Small Axe and the Massachusetts Review. She edited Creation Fire (1990), an anthology of 121 Caribbean women poets in several languages. Her scholarly essays are published widely; she also writes in a popular medium on subjects of current interest. Her field of academic research and writing is Post-Colonial Literature. A documentary on Ramabai Espinet’s work, Coming Home (2005) has been made by Leda Serene Productions in Toronto.

Email address: ramabai.espinet@utoronto.ca


Bernardo García-Domínguez
Sessional Instructor

Bernardo García-Domínguez holds a PhD in Sociology. His doctoral dissertation, “Transculturation in Cuba: A Study of Race, Religion and Revolution” (York University, 2004) analyses specific issues of social, cultural and religious interactions. He is a founding member of Casa del Caribe, Cuba’s main research center for Caribbean Studies. García-Domínguez has lectured in Canada at York, Wilfrid Laurier, Brock, and OISE since 2003 and at New College since 2008. He is the author of El pensamiento vivo de Máximo Gómez, Santo Domingo, 2 v. (1991,1992); and the Consulting Editor of the Encyclopedia of Caribbean Religions, University of Illinois, 2013.

Courses taught: JLN427S, NEW316H1F
Email address: bernardo.garcia.dominguez@utoronto.ca


Arnold Itwaru
Associate Professor in Caribbean Studies, Teaching Stream

Arnold Harrichand Itwaru was born in Guyana in 1942 and immigrated to Toronto, Canada in 1969. He received a Ph.D. in Sociology from York University in 1983. Itwaru is the author of The Invention of Canada: Literary and the Immigrant Imaginary, Closed Entrances: Canadian Culture and Imperialism, Shanti, Home and Back, as well as ten other books. A visual artist as well, he writes on a wide range of subjects. He is the recipient of two Guyanese National Poetry Awards. Prof. Itwaru served as Program Director from 1994 to 2006.

Email address: arnold.itwaru@utoronto.ca


Joseph Klemens
PhD Candidate, Centre for Comparative Literature

Joseph Klemens holds a B.A. in Hispanic Literature and an M.A. in Comparative Literature from the University of Puerto Rico. His M.A. thesis focused on the trope of paternal authority and the figure of the father in the Cuban author Virgilio Piñera’s first novel, La carne de René.

His dissertation looks at the “performative monologue” (a novel that assumes the form of a first-person monologue delivered by a narrator who employs a performative/oral style and/or directly addresses a specific listener or group of listeners) in order to show how such unorthodox formal experimentation serves as a potent device for political critique and subversive confrontation with national “grand narratives.” He is the author of the poetry chapbook Phantom Ride (Baseline press 2017).

Email address: joe.klemens@utoronto.ca


Lee L’Clerc
Sessional Instructor

PhD in Painting and Literature (Toronto), Lee L’Clerc’s teaching and research areas include visual and performance art, Caribbean and Latin American history, art and literary theory, translation studies, and queer studies. He has written a book and various scholarly articles on the interrelationship between art and literature, art installation, war photography, and queer iconography. As a translator he has worked on a documentary film and a museum exhibition. L’Clerc is also a curator and a Toronto-based artist, with numerous solo and group shows both nationally and internationally, including La Bienal de La Habana.

Courses taught: NEW321H1S
Email address: lee.lclerc@utoronto.ca


Melanie J. Newton
Associate Professor of History

Melanie J. Newton is an Associate Professor of History at the University of Toronto. 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 other scholarly articles and book chapters on gender, slavery and slave emancipation. Recent and forthcoming publications include Melanie J. Newton, “Returns to a Native Land? Indigeneity and Decolonization in the Anglophone Caribbean” (Small Axe vol. 41, July 2013, pp. 108-122) and Stefanie Kennedy and Melanie J. Newton, “The Hauntings of Slavery: Colonialism and the Disabled Body in the Caribbean,” in Shaun Grech and Karen Soldatic eds., Disability in the Global South (Springer, 2017). She is also the co-editor, with Matthew Smith, of two Small Axe special issues on “Caribbean Historiography” (43 and 44, March and July 2014).

Courses taught: NEW120Y, HIS231F, HIS230S, JHN323F
Email address: melanie.newton@utoronto.ca


Chris Ramsaroop
Sessional Instructor

Organizer with Justicia! for Migrant Workers and co-chair of the Asian Canadian Labour Alliance. At the University of Toronto, Chris obtained a triple major in Peace and Conflict Studies, Political Science, Caribbean studies and a minor in South Asian Studies. He also has a Masters in Sociology and Equity Studies and is currently working on his doctorate in the department of Social Justice and Education at OISE. Chris has taught in the Community Worker program at George Brown College and in the Caribbean Studies program at U of T. 

While at U of T Chris was active in the Arts and Science Students Union and OPIRG as went on to be president of both the Students Administrative Council and the Association of Part Time Undergraduate Students as well as being a member of the University Governing Council.

Courses taught: NEW315S


Alissa Trotz
Associate Professor of History in Caribbean Studies, Women’s and Gender Studies Institute.

Director of Women and Gender Studies, she is also affiliate faculty at the Dame Nita Barrow Institute of Gender and Development Studies at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, Barbados. She is a member of Red Thread Women’s Organization in Guyana and editor of In the Diaspora, a weekly newspaper column in the Guyanese daily, Stabroek News. Alissa’ work is situated within a tradition of feminist political economy, and a Caribbean feminist tradition in particular, that takes an intersectional approach to social reproduction as a starting point and node of interrogation to think through histories and processes of dispossession and their contemporary manifestations. Her research trajectory unfolds across related themes that address processes of social reproduction, neoliberalisation & Caribbean feminisms; coloniality, difference and violence; transnational migration and diaspora; and Caribbean knowledge production.  

Courses taught: NEW423H1S
Email address: da.trotz@utoronto.ca

 

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All faculty members above are a part of the Caribbean Studies Advisory Committee. The remaining members of the Committee are listed below.

 

Susan Antebi
Associate Professor, Spanish & Portuguese at the University of Toronto

Susan Antebi’s research focuses on disability and corporeality in the contexts of Latin American cultural production, with emphasis on Mexico. She is the author of Carnal Inscriptions: Spanish American Narratives of Corporeal Difference and Disability (Palgrave-Macmillan 2009); co-editor, with Beth Jörgensen, of Libre Acceso: Latin American Literature and Film through Disability Studies (SUNY, 2016); and co-editor, with David Mitchell and Sharon Snyder, of the forthcoming volume, The Matter of Disability: Materiality, Biopolitics, Crip Affect (U of Michigan). Her book in progress is titled Eugenics and Intercorporeality: Reading Disability in Twentieth Century Mexican Cultural Production. Recent undergraduate course offerings include: Literary Landscapes of the Mexican Revolution; Performative Expression in Latin American Cultural Production; and Icons and Iconographies in Latin American Cultures.
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Chris Johnson
Assistant Professor, Women’s and Gender Studies Institute, Department of History at the University of Toronto

Chris Johnson is an Assistant Professor in the Women & Gender Studies Institute and the Department of History at the University of Toronto.  An interdisciplinary writer and historian of black diasporas, his current research and teaching interests orbit themes of black feminisms and black freedom in the 20th and 21st centuries. Chris is currently completing a transnational history of gender and black liberation. Using postwar Black Britain as a point of departure, the book traces the interwoven itineraries of revolutionaries who lived, loved, dreamed, and struggled for solidarity at the conjuncture of diasporas.
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Abrahim H. Khan
Professor, Faculty of Divinity at Trinity College, Graduate Director and cross-appointed to the Graduate Centre for the Study of Religion at the University of Toronto

Abrahim H. Khan is a Professor in the Faculty of Divinity at Trinity College, and Graduate Director and is cross-appointed to the Graduate Centre for the Study of Religion at the University of Toronto. He is a past president of the Canadian Theological Society and past editor of its newsletter. He chaired the program units Kierkegaard Seminar and History of the Study of Religion in the American Academy of Religion for five years each and was a senior fellow at Harvard University’s Center for the Study of World Religions. He is a member of the Joint Centre for Bioethics, and the Centre for Ethics, at the University of Toronto; general editor of the Toronto Journal of Theology and consulting editor of the Encyclopedia of Caribbean Religions; convenes the Kierkegaard Circle and the Religion, International Diplomacy, and Economics Colloquia Series at the Munk Centre; and was an executive officer of the International Association for the History of Religions (2005-2015). Prof. Kahn is also Vice-President of the Institute for the Advanced Study of Religion, Trinity College, and Associate Chair of the Secretariat for the 2010 IAHR World Congress in Toronto. He is an editor of Acta Kierkegaardiana – a 10 volume series with supplements, Numen (2005-2015) and serves on the Academic Advisory Committee/Board for the Journal for the Study of Religion (Cape Town), Burhan Journal of Quran’c Studies (Tehran), Journal in Islamic Studies (Bannu), and Constantine Letters (Nitra).
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Sean Mills
Associate Professor, MA Coordinator, & Canada Research Chair in Canadian and Transnational History at the University of Toronto

Sean Mills is a Historian with research interests that include postcolonial thought, culture, migration, race, gender and empire. In 2010, he published The Empire Within: Postcolonial Thought and Political Activism in Sixties Montreal (published in French as Contester l’empire. Pensée postcoloniale et militantisme politique à Montréal, 1963-1972), and in 2016 he published A Place in the Sun: Haiti, Haitians, and the Remaking of Quebec (published in French as Une place au soleil. Haïti, les Haïtiens et le Québec). He holds the Canada Research Chair in Canadian and Transnational History, and is currently working on a new book about art, culture, and social change.
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Melanie J. Newton
Associate Professor of History
Courses taught: NEW120Y, HIS231F, HIS230S, JHN323F
Email address: melanie.newton@utoronto.ca
416-978-8482
Office Location:  Sidney Smith Hall, Room 2063

Melanie J. Newton is an Associate Professor of History at the University of Toronto. 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 other scholarly articles and book chapters on gender, slavery and slave emancipation. Recent and forthcoming publications include Melanie J. Newton, “Returns to a Native Land? Indigeneity and Decolonization in the Anglophone Caribbean” (Small Axe vol. 41, July 2013, pp. 108-122) and Stefanie Kennedy and Melanie J. Newton, “The Hauntings of Slavery: Colonialism and the Disabled Body in the Caribbean,” in Shaun Grech and Karen Soldatic eds., Disability in the Global South (Springer, 2017). She is also the co-editor, with Matthew Smith, of two Small Axe special issues on “Caribbean Historiography” (43 and 44, March and July 2014).
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Nestor Rodríguez
Associate Professor, PhD (Emory, 2003), Department of Spanish & Portuguese at the University of Toronto, Interim Director of the Caribbean Studies Program

Néstor E. Rodríguez is an Associate Professor of Spanish, specializing in Caribbean and Latin American intellectual history and cultural production. Prof. Rodríguez is the author of Escrituras de desencuentro en la República Dominicana (2005), translated into English as Divergent Dictions: Contemporary Dominican Literature (2010), and two books of essays: Crítica para tiempos de poco fervor (2009) and Interposiciones (2019). He has written widely on Dominican, Cuban and Puerto Rican cultural production, particularly on issues of race and nationalism, on the role of intellectuals in Hispanic Caribbean societies and on Latin American poetry. With Susan Antebi he edits the book series Latinoamericana for the University of Toronto Press. 
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Shauna Sweeney
Assistant Professor, Women’s and Gender Studies Institute,  Department of History at the University of Toronto

Shauna Sweeney is an Assistant Professor of Women and Gender Studies and History. As a historian of the African Diaspora, her research interests focus on slavery and freedom in the Caribbean, Latin America, and North America, early modern political economy and the development of racial capitalism, and transnational feminisms. She is currently working on a book manuscript titled “A Free Enterprise: Market Women, Insurgent Economies and the Making of Caribbean Freedom.” In an era when violent subjugation to the plantation economy was enslaved peoples’ primary experience of Atlantic capitalism, they nevertheless vigorously defended a set of customary rights to cultivate, harvest, and sell goods from their own provision grounds. Significantly, it was enslaved black women who managed this trade—cultivating, transporting, and selling goods—and who confronted the attendant dangers associated with travelling to and from market. The entrenchment and codification of these customary rights spawned inter-Caribbean trade networks that reflected subaltern geographies extending well beyond the boundaries of plantations, towns, and islands. But the internal marketing system constituted an interstitial site of freedom born inside the belly of colonial slavery. Caribbean marketing systems subsidized slavery by easing the costs of social reproduction, even as they fostered an ethos of black autonomy that was hostile to racial slavery and the worst aspects of economic exploitation. From its origins in the late seventeenth century to its institutionalization in the eighteenth century, market women—enslaved, free, and fugitive—constructed physical pathways and social spaces that served as counter-hegemonic sites of black self-determination. She is also co-editor of a special issue of Social Text entitled “The Question of Recovery: Slavery, Freedom, and the Archive,” (2015) which critically engaged with the limitations and possibilities of recovering black history through traditional archival practices. She was most recently an NEH-OI Postdoctoral Fellow (2016-2018) at the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture in Williamsburg, VA.
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Rinaldo Walcott
Director, Women & Gender Studies Institute

As an interdisciplinary scholar Rinaldo has published on music, literature, film and theater and policy among other topics. All of Rinaldo’s research is founded in a philosophical orientation that is concerned with the ways in which coloniality shapes human relations across social and cultural time. Rinaldo is the author of Black Like Who: Writing Black Canada (Insomniac Press, 1997 with a second revised edition in 2003); he is also the editor of Rude: Contemporary Black Canadian Cultural Criticism (Insomniac, 2000); and the Co-editor with Roy Moodley of Counselling Across and Beyond Cultures: Exploring the Work of Clemment Vontress in Clinical Practice (University of Toronto Press, 2010). In all of Rinaldo’s research and publication he focuses on Black cultural politics; histories of colonialism in the Americas, multiculturalism, citizenship, and diaspora; gender and sexuality; and social, cultural and public policy.
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For course related concerns, please contact: 


Nancy Crawley
Position: New College Program Administrator

Phone: (416) 978-5404
Room Number: WE 133
Unit: Academic Programs
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