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Willis, Kedon

Willis, Kedon

assistant professor of English @ CUNY City College


Kedon Willis is an assistant professor of English at CUNY City College where he teaches Caribbean and Latin American literature. His areas of interest include comparative Caribbean literature and queer theory, and his research examines the evolution (and limits) of liberation in the writings of queer authors of Caribbean heritage. Kedon’s scholarship, creative writing and journalism has appeared in outlets such as the Journal of Asian Studies, the Journal of West Indian Literature, the Florida Review, Obsidian, and the History Channel.

Geographical location :

Research Area and Interest : comparative Caribbean literature and queer theory

Social Media


Chanting Down Babylon


No Nation is Sovereign: The State of Abjection in the Writings of Queer Caribbean Authors
Summary: In “No Nation is Sovereign,” I argue that a recent body of queer Caribbean writers both disavow the model of the nation-state and question the utility of the decolonial praxes that come out of and work within that paradigm. I do not claim that this critique, which amounts to a referendum on postcolonialism, represents the capacious body of contemporary queer Caribbean literature. I focus instead on a dialectic among a perceptible body of writers presenting current realities of post-independent living as so untenable that a wholesale re-thinking of its politics is needed to reckon with the obscene forms of inequality that continue to prevail. I will conduct my analysis through the works of three contemporary queer or queer-allied authors — Nicole Dennis-Benn (Jamaica), Gary Victor (Haiti), and Rita Indiana (the Dominican Republic). I have deliberately chosen works from authors representing separate linguistic regions to acknowledge clear distinctions in the material concerns (and histories) of different countries but to none-the-less show the shared sense of abjection connecting these writers. These authors do not offer an alternative to present structures of economy and government. Rather, their works signal that the imbricated treatises of racial uplift, self-government and (eventually) gender equity that have constituted postcolonial politics have not delivered on significant change, and that strategic attention must be paid to the ontology of postcolonialism and sovereignty. My paper is therefore interested in LGBTQI representation as well as new terrains of exploration in cultural and literary criticism.

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