Natasha Barnes

Associate Professor of African American Studies and English


Ph.D. English Language and Literature, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 1995
M.A. English Literature, Queen's University, Ontario Canada, 1990
B. A. Hons. (Summa Cum Laude), English Literature, York University, Ontario, 1988

Research Interests

Natasha Barnes' research interests are in anglophone Caribbean and African American literature and culture. Her articles have appeared in Small Axe and Researches In African Literatures. Her first book, Cultural Conundrums: Race, Gender, Nation And The Making Of Caribbean Cultural Politics, attempts to historicize the manner in which "the popular" has come to occupy a central position in the Caribbean postcolonial imaginary. In its discussion of cricket, carnival, dancehall and beauty pageants, this book is interested in the kinds of investments (social, political, ethical) brought to bear upon the popular arts to date. More recently, Barnes has been involved in the Atlanta 2002 exhibition of lynching postcards collected by James Allen's award winning book Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography In America and is currently writing about the exhibition process.

For an excerpt of Cultural Conundrums, please click on the image below:


Josephine Beheaded 

Marble like Greece, like Faulkner’s South in stone Deciduous beauty prospered and is gone . . .
—Derek Walcott, “Ruins of a Great House,” Collected Poems 

There is a spectacle in Martinique’s gracious Savane park that is hard to miss. The statue honoring one of the island’s most famous citizens, Josephine Tascher, the white creole woman who was to become Napoleon’s lover, wife, and empress, is defaced in the most curious and creative of ways. Her head is missing; she has been decapitated. But this is no ordinary defacement: the marble head has been cleanly sawed off—an effort that could not have been executed without the help of machinery and more than one pair of willing hands—and red paint has been dripped from her neck and her gown...


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Contact Information

Office: 1228 UH
Fax: (312) 996-5799
Curriculum Vitae