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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.

Recent Publications

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

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