My work variously investigates aesthetic production, biopolitics and the history of ideas via an interdisciplinary methodology grounded in close reading practices. In all of my writing and teaching on cultural form I seek to put multiple theories of the political, including queer, feminist, Marxist, Black diasporic, and postcolonial thought, into conversation with each other, while grounding all of my projects in a thorough archival and historical practice.
I completed the bulk of my disciplinary training in literature departments with sub-fields in cultural and feminist theory, film studies and U.S. history. Across my first two book projects and my emergent third book project I have largely focused on: comparative histories of racialization in the United States; the history of sexuality with a focus on biopolitics and queer (in particular queer of color) theory; nineteenth-century prose literature with an emphasis on the comparative and connected relations between white and African-American writers; science studies; performance studies; and early film and visual media including gag reels, silent film and comics. I am particularly interested in the production of aesthetic form and sensory effect within and across various cultural media. Most recently my work has investigated the limits and uses of new materialist philosophy. Last but not least I have consistently returned to the study of the matter we often call "food" to understand all of the above.
My third book, which I am beginning to develop, considers North Africa and the Maghreb as a racial cypher, in essence a contentless form, within the topographies of racial modernity. The archive of this project will put three philosophical and aesthetic traditions into conversation with each other to understand their political convergences: Deconstruction, Postcolonial theory, and the Black Radical Tradition.
I am currently an Associate Professor at Pomona College, joint appointed to the the Department of English and the Program in Gender and Women’s Studies where in 2017 I completed a seven-year stint as chair of the Program in Gender and Women’s Studies. My scholarly writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Callaloo: A Journal of African Diaspora Arts and Letters, Gastronomica: The Journal of Food and Culture, Women and Performance, American Quarterly, J19: The Journal of Nineteenth Century Americanists, Lateral: The Journal of the Cultural Studies Association, The Journal of Food, Culture and Society as well as Social Text, Lateral and ASAP/Journal, while my journalism has appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, The Globe and Mail, Xtra Magazine, 7x7 Magazine and journals like Tikkun and Bridges. In the latter journals I have written autobiographical pieces about diasporic and indigenous North African Jewish life.
I have also contributed blog posts to the NYU Press blog From The Square (here, and here) as well as Social Text’s Periscope section, as part of a group response to Lauren Berlant’s Cruel Optimism. I also participate in public humanities writing through Avidly, a channel of the Los Angeles Review of Books, and have written for Bully Bloggers, the New York Times and the Los Angeles Review of Books. In the spring of 2016, I was the co-editor of a special double issue of GLQ: Gay and Lesbian Quarterly entitled On The Visceral.