Born and raised in Kenya and educated in the US (Univ. of Hawaii, BA; Brandeis Univ., PhD), Abdul JanMohamed has taught in the English Department at UC, Berkeley since 1983. His publications include Manichean Aesthetics: The Politics of Literature in Colonial Africa; The Nature and Context of Minority Discourse (co-edited with David Lloyd); The Death-Bound-Subject: Richard Wright's Archaeology Of Death; (ed.) Reconsidering Social Identification: Race, Gender, Class, and Caste. He was the founding editor (along with Donna Przybylowicz) of Cultural Critique, a journal initially designed to provide a venue for the theorization of postcolonial and American minority literary and cultural discourses and for contemporary cultural theory.
Whereas The Death-Bound-Subject explored the central role of the threat of death (aka, lynching) on the formation of individual and collective subjects in slave and Jim Crow societies, his current research, provisionally entitled Thick Love: Birthing the Death-Bound-Subject, focuses on black feminist neo-slave narratives that depict the vicissitudes of giving birth to and nurturing life in a culture organized around the production of death-bound-subjectivity. More generally, his current research is animated by an attempt to theorize why and how people “allow” themselves to be coerced and exploited so thoroughly and relentlessly.