- Professor of English
- Interim Director, Hall Center for the Humanities
- Director, J. Wayne & Elsie M. Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction
When I was a child, my mother, aunts and uncles, and grandmother regaled me with stories of the soucouyant, a demonic figure from Trinidadian folk culture. The soucouyant appeared to be a withered old woman during the day, but at night she peeled off her skin, transformed into a ball of fire, and flew from house to house, where she sucked the blood or life essence of her unsuspecting neighbors. My 2015 book, The Things That Fly in the Night, explores representations of female vampires in African diasporic folk traditions and contemporary literature, especially the recent proliferation of narratives among writers of African descent (such as Edwidge Danticat, Octavia Butler, Nalo Hopkinson, David Chariandy, Toni Morrison, and others) who take up the monstrous character and reconfigure it to urge for female mobility, racial, cultural, and sexual empowerment, and/or anti-colonial resistance. Besides scholarly work on Caribbean and Caribbean diaspora literature and folklore, I also teach courses, conduct research, and write about African American literature, speculative fiction (e.g. fantasy, horror, science fiction, the surreal), and children's and young adult (YA) literature, particularly representations of race and gender in narratives for young people.