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Assistant Professor


B.A., Africana Studies and English, University of Pennsylvania
M.A., Ph.D, English, Vanderbilt University

Teaching and Research Interests:

Anglophone and francophone Caribbean literature; Caribbean anticolonial thought, politics, and aesthetics; sound studies; black feminisms; African diasporic literary and cultural studies.

Current Research:

Petal Samuel specializes in twentieth-century Afro-Caribbean literature and Caribbean anticolonial thought, politics, and aesthetics. Samuel’s current project examines how the management of the soundscape—through noise abatement laws and public discourses condemning noise—has served as a crucial avenue of racial and colonial governance in both the pre- and post-colonial Caribbean and throughout the Caribbean diaspora. The manuscript highlights the work of Afro-Caribbean women writers who embrace forms of “noisemaking” against the grain of these laws and public discourses, reclaiming them as subversive grammars that are integral to decolonization. From 2016-18, Samuel held a position as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies at the University of Virginia. Her work is published in Anthurium, The Black Scholar, and small axe salon.


2020. “The Sound of Luxury: Antiblackness, Silence, and the Private Island Resort,” The Black Scholar 51:1 (January 2021): 30 – 42.

2019. “A ‘Right to Quiet’: Noise Control, M. NourbeSe Philip, and a Critique of Sound as Property,” Journal of West Indian Literature 27:1 (2019): 70 – 117.

2017. “The Profane Ear: Regimes of Aural Discipline in Paule Marshall’s The Fisher King,” Anthurium 14:1: The Work of Paule Marshall Today (June 2017): 1 – 19

Peer-reviewed Interviews and Short Essays

2019. “Mine the Ruins,” Small Axe: a Caribbean Journal of Criticism 23.3 (60) (2019): 178 – 184

2018. Review of Peter James Hudson’s Bankers and Empire: How Wall Street Colonized the Caribbean in Antipode: A Radical Journal of Geography, October 2018 (link).

2018. “Black Speculation, Black Freedom,” Public Books, October 19th (link).

2016. “Erna Brodber and Pan Africanism in Post-Independence Jamaica,” African American Intellectual History Society, October 12th (link).

2015 “‘Put Your Bucket Down’: A Conversation with Erna Brodber,” small axe salon, Jun. 30th (link).