Appointed As

Public Humanities Initiative Postdoctoral Fellow


ACLS Emerging Voices Fellowships program


New York University

PhD Field of Study

PhD, English Literature, Rutgers University-New Brunswick

Dissertation Abstract

"Being Swamped: Deranged Developments in Tropical Fictions"

This dissertation reveals the influence of Caribbean environments on late 20th century global constructions of the future, from science fiction to early infrastructures of the internet. While Anglo-Americans critics have generally adhered to a temporal binary where they grant futurity to science fiction, while pushing the Caribbean into the past, my research undoes this false dichotomy, uncovering a new narrative of the future that writers create from tropical Caribbean environments. In the period
following decolonization, Caribbean authors used tropical environments as a narrative framework that deranged a teleological ordering of history: narrative, rather than tracing progress, patterned itself after ecological processes like rot, decomposition, and re-uptake. Constructions of the future departed from
development, taking on temporalized forms like annihilation and ruination. This productive ecological destruction then echoed in narrative forms throughout the Caribbean before finally influencing science fiction novels, corporate white papers, and technologist writing from the metropole. This dissertation thus demonstrates how, for the past 60 years, the metropole’s construction of its future builds on the
Caribbean’s tropical environments and the ecological ruination that lies coiled within these tropical roots.
In revealing how science fiction and technology - two mediums assumed to be the product of capitalistic progress - are rooted in productive ecological destruction, this dissertation redefines critical assumptions about colonial capitalism and the history of technology. In the process, this research does more than recover SF works by Caribbean authors: it makes the Caribbean central to the interpretation of both narrative form and the material constructions of futurity.