Assistant Professor of Anglophone Literature
BA, MA, University of the West Indies; PhD, Brandeis University
Njelle Hamilton is a graduate of Brandeis University and the University of the West Indies, Jamaica. As a teacher-scholar of postcolonial and Caribbean literatures, she is interested in the cross-pollination between oral and print cultures, and in contemporary literary aesthetics — how contemporary writers deal narratively and thematically with the social and political issues of the past 60 years. A singer, songwriter and novelist who was raised in a book- and record-store, her simultaneous interest in music and the novel has influenced her publications on trauma, narrative and calypso in Lawrence Scott’s Night Calypso, on the function of place and displacement in James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room, and the musical tropes and formal innovations in Ramabai Espinet’s The Swinging Bridge. Her dissertation, “Sound Writing: Popular Music in the Contemporary Caribbean Novel,” examined four contemporary Caribbean novels that use Afro-Caribbean popular music as cultural signifiers through which traumatized characters reconcile fraught identities and memories. She has lived and taught in Jamaica, France, Palestine and Boston.
“Lawrence Scott’s Night Calypso: Calypso Storytelling as Healing Narrative.” Anthurium Caribbean Studies Journal. Forthcoming, Spring 2013.
“‘Music and a Story’: Sound Writing in Ramabai Espinet’s The Swinging Bridge.” Critical Perspectives on Indo-Caribbean Women’s Literature. Eds. Joy Mahabir, Mariam Pirbhai. New York: Routledge, 2012.
“‘Under a Foreign Sky’: Place and Displacement in James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room.” Paroles Gelées 26:1 (2010) 24-46.
“‘Anancy Mek It’: The Trickster Spider From Oral to Written Media,” Caribbean Studies Association Conference, Grenada. June 2013.
“Yardie to de Core’: Reggae (Trans)Nationalism in Colin Channer’s Waiting in Vain,” African and African Diaspora Studies Works-in-Progress Lecture Series, Boston College, November 2011.
“Records and Recuerdos: Musical Nostalgia in Oscar Hijuelos’ The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love,” NeMLA Conference, New Brunswick, NJ. April 2011.
Fukú and Footnotes: Narrating Trujillo in Junot Diaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao,” Caribbean Studies Association Conference, Barbados. May 2010.
“Caribbean Ariel?: (Re)Reading The Tempest in the Créolité Generation,” Caribbean Studies Association Conference, Kingston, Jamaica. June 2009.
ENG 3295 Postcolonial Literature: Rewriting the Classics
ENG 3510 Currents in Global Literature: Narrating Trauma
ENDI Writing & the Creative Process