Njelle Hamilton

Njelle Hamilton


101A Minor Hall

Office Hours: Wed 12-3pm (Make appointments at njhamilton.youcanbook.me).
Class Schedule: Mon 3:30-6:00pm

Teaching and Research Areas:

Caribbean and African Literatures; Caribbean Popular Music; Afrofuturism; Time; Trauma and Memory; Narrative Theory; Postcolonial Theory.
I specialize in 20th and 21st century Caribbean literary and cultural studies, especially the impact of orality, music, and trauma on the Caribbean postcolonial novel. My first book, Phonographic Memories: Popular Music and the Contemporary Caribbean Novel (Rutgers 2019)investigates how Caribbean subjects turn to nation music when personal and cultural memory have been impacted by time, travel, or trauma. In my current book project, Caribbean Chronotropes, I read recent time-bending novels through the lens of physics, phenomenology, and Caribbean theory. My articles have appeared in Anthurium, Wasafiri, SX Salon and Journal of West Indian Literature.


Ph.D. Brandeis University, 2012
M.A. Brandeis University, 2007
B.A. University of the West Indies, Mona, 1998


  • Phonographic Memories: Popular Music and the Contemporary Caribbean Novel. New Brunswick: Rutgers UP (2019).


Articles and Reviews

  • “Rita Indiana’s Tentacle: An Introduction.” SX Salon 34, June 2020. http://smallaxe.net/sxsalon/discussions/rita-indianas-tentacle-introduction
  • “‘Another Shape to Time’: Tentacle’s Spiral Now.” SX Salon 34June 2020. http://smallaxe.net/sxsalon/discussions/another-shape-time-tentacles-spiral-now
  • “Portrait of the Calypsonian as a Young Man: Review of Anthony Joseph’s Kitch: A Fictional Biography.” SX Salon 312019http://smallaxe.net/sxsalon/reviews/portrait-calypsonian-young-man
  • “Jamaican String Theory: Quantum Sounds and Postcolonial Spacetime in Marcia Douglas’s The Marvellous Equations of the Dread.” Journal of West Indian Literature 27, no. 1 (2019): 88-105.
  • “‘Jah Live’: Messianic Time and Post-Traumatic Narrative Disorder in Marlon James’s A Brief History of Seven Killings.” Journal of West Indian Literature 26, no. 2 (2018): 80-95.
  • “On Memory and the Archives of History: A Conversation with Trinidadian Novelist Lawrence Scott.” Wasafiri, March 2017. http://www.wasafiri.org/article/conversation-lawrence-scott/
  • “‘Music and a Story’: Sound Writing in Ramabai Espinet’s The Swinging Bridge.” In Critical Perspectives on Indo-Caribbean Women’s Literature, edited by Joy Mahabir and Mariam Pirbhai. New York: Routledge (2013), 70-92.
  • “‘From Silent Wounds to Narrated Words’: Calypso Storytelling in Lawrence Scott’s Night Calypso.” Anthurium 10, no. 1, art. 3 (2013).

Selected Courses

  • Routes, Writing, Reggae
  • Musical Fictions
  • Being Human: Race, Technology, and the Arts
  • Currents in African Literatures
  • Caribbean Poetics

Selected Awards

  • IHGC Mellon Fellowship, 2019-20
  • AHSS Research Grant, 2018-19
  • Mead Foundation Faculty Fellowship, 2016-17
  • Ignite Fellowship, 2016-17
  • Excellence in Diversity Fellowship, 2014-15

Selected Panels and Papers

  • “Caribbean Time Travel: The Indigenous Imaginaries of Wilson Harris and Rita Indiana,” West Indian Literature Conference, Guyana, October 17-20, 2019.
  • “The Time is Now: Ecocritical Futures and Creolized Time Travel in Rita Indiana’s Tentacle,” IHGC Mellon Humanities Fellows Seminar, October 11, 2019.
  • “The Soundscapes of Memory: Transnational Intimacies and Resonances in Caribbean Musical Fictions,” West Indian Literature Conference, Miami, October 4-6, 2018.
  • Moderator, “Translating Haitian Literature,” Enduring Questions, New Methods: Haitian Studies in the 21st Century Conference, UVA, April 13, 2018.
  • “The Phonographic Aesthetic in Caribbean Fiction,” Theorizing Literary Sound Symposium, Rutgers University, May 2, 2017.
  • “Writing Race, Futurity, and Apocalypse in the Afro-Caribbean Diaspora,” A Conversation with Junot Díaz, Kapnick Writer-in-Residence, University of Virginia, February 2, 2017.
  • “Re-Membering ‘Body and Soul’: Gender, Trauma, and Improvisational Poetics in Daniel Maximin’s Lone Sun,” English Department, University of Virginia, November 20, 2015.
  • “Sound(ing) Histories in Lawrence Scott’s Witchbroom,” CSA New Orleans, May 25-29, 2015. 
  • “‘Fly De Gate’: Piracy and the Reggae Aesthetic,” EMP Pop Conference, Seattle, April 16-19, 2015.
  • “Wait, Can We Talk About Selassie Now?: Haile Selassie I in Jamaican Music and Ethiopian Literature,” African Studies Colloquium, UVA, November 24, 2014.