Berkeley English Faculty

Nadia Ellis

Nadia Ellis

Associate Professor

Wheeler Hall, room 452
Tuesdays 9:45-11:45am; sign up link in bio

Professional Statement

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

Her research traces the trajectories of literary and expressive cultures from the Caribbean to Britain to the United States and she is most intellectually at home at various intersections: between the diasporic and the queer; imperial identification and colonial resistance; performance and theory. She teaches classes on postcolonial literature and the city, black diasporic culture, queer theory, and US immigrant literature. 

Her book, Territories of the Soul: Queered Belonging in the Black Diaspora (Duke, 2015) explores forms of black belonging animated by queer utopian desire and diasporic aesthetics. She's written essays on queer performance, sexuality and the archive, electronic music and political disaster, and performance cultures in contemporary and Emancipation-era Jamaica. She is at work on a new book about diasporic cities.

Her research has been supported by the AAUW, the SSRC, and the Hellman Faculty Fellows Fund, and she has been a fellow at Berkeley's Townsend Center for the Humanities and the Institute for International Studies. 

She received her PhD in English from Princeton University in 2008, specializing in postcolonial and modern British literature. She also has an MPhil in English from Oxford University and a BA in Literatures in English from the University of the West Indies (Mona) Jamaica.

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Territories of the Soul: Queered Belonging in the Black Diaspora
Territories of the Soul: Queered Belonging in the Black Diaspora

A study of black diasporic belonging at the intersection of queer utopian potential and aesthetics of desire, disavowal, and elusiveness. Through readings of C.L.R. James, George Lamming and James Baldwin at the 1956 Congress of Negro Artists and Wr....(read more)

Selected Publications and Papers Delivered

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

"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: Rethinking Postwar Anglophone Caribbean Literature, eds. Leah Rosenberg and J. Dillon Brown (University of Mississippi Press, 2015).

"Elegies of Diaspora," Small Axe 43 (April 2014)

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


Recent English Courses Taught