Nadia Ellis

Associate Professor

Nadia Ellis specializes in black diasporic, Caribbean, and postcolonial literatures and cultures.

Her book, Territories of the Soul: Queered Belonging in the Black Diaspora (Duke, 2015; Honorable Mention, William Sanders Scarborough Prize, MLA), explores forms of black belonging animated by queer utopian desire and diasporic aesthetics. It is a project built from a long-standing interest in following trajectories of literary cultures from the Caribbean to Britain to the United States. The work also developed through a preoccupation with several intersections, including those between queerness and diaspora, imperial identification and colonial resistance, performance and theory.

Published essays explore her work on queer and black performance, sexuality and the archive, and popular music, including Jamaican dancehall. Her work has been supported by fellowships and grants from such research bodies as the AAUW, the SSRC, and UC Berkeley's Hellman Fund and Townsend Center for the Humanities. She teaches courses on a range of topics within her fields and regularly offers classes connecting literary cultures to questions of the city, migration, and sexuality and gender. She has received the University's Distinguished Teaching Award (2020) and the American Cultures Innovation in Teaching Award (2016).  

The geographies of Ellis's training mirror (and have informed) her research interests: she received her PhD in English from Princeton; her M.Phil. in English from Oxford, and her B.A. in Literatures in English from the University of the West Indies (Mona) Jamaica.


Selected Publications

“Global and Diasporic Worldmaking,” The Cambridge Companion to Contemporary African American Literature, ed. Yogita Goyal (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming)

Trace a Vanishing; or, Queer Performance Study,” The Cambridge Companion to Queer Studies, ed. Siobhan B. Somerville (Cambridge University Press, 2020)

Jamaican Performance in the Age of Emancipation,” Victorian Jamaica, eds. Timothy Barringer and Wayne Modest (Durham: Duke University Press, 2018) 622-640. 

Obscure; or, The Queer Light of Ebony Patterson,” Caribbean Queer Visualities, SX Visualities 1 (2017) 

Splay: Moving from Incursion in New Orleans and Kingston,” Genders 1.1 (Spring 2016) 

"Black Migrants, White Queers, and the Archive of Inclusion in Postwar London," Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies 17.6 (July 2015) 

Between Windrush and Wolfenden: Class Crossings and Queer Desire in Andrew Salkey’s Postwar London,” Beyond Windrush, eds., J. Dillon Brown and Leah Rosenberg (Oxford: University of Mississippi Press, 2015)

New Orleans and Kingston: A Beginning, A Recurrence,” Journal of Popular Music Studies, 27.4 (2015)

"Elegies of Diaspora,” Small Axe 43 (March 2014) 

The Eclectic Generation: Caribbean Literary Criticism at the Turn of the Century,”  The Routledge Companion to Anglophone Caribbean Literature, eds. Alison Donnell and Michael Bucknor (Abingdon: Routledge, 2011) 

"Out and Bad: Toward a Queer Performance Hermeneutic in Jamaican Dancehall," Small Axe 35 (July 2011) 


452 Wheeler Hall

Office Hours

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Classes Taught