Tsitsi Ella Jaji
Fisher-Bennett Hall 218

office hours:

Thursdays 12.30-2.30 and by appointment.
Tsitsi Jaji teaches courses on the poetry, fiction, film, and music of the African diaspora and the African continent. She is also a faculty fellow in W.E.B. Du Bois College House.
Originally from Zimbabwe, Jaji earned her Ph.D. (2009) in comparative literature from Cornell University with concentrations in African, Caribbean and African-American literature in English, French and Spanish. She is the author of Africa in Stereo: Modernism, Music and Pan-African Solidarity (Oxford UP, 2014). Her poetry chapbook "Carnaval" appears in Seven New Generation Afircan Poets: A chapbook boxed set edited by Kwame Dawes and Chris Abani (Slapering Hol/African Poetry Book Fund, 2014).
Jaji is currently at work on two new scholarly book projects. The first, Cassava Westerns: Refiguring the American Frontier Myth in Global Black Imaginaries, examines the way writers, filmmakers and musicians of Africa and the Black Diaspora have critically engaged with tropes and mythologies of the U.S. West. Her article "Cassava Westerns: Ways of Watching Abderrahmane Sissako" will appear this fall in Black Camera. The second project, Classic Black: Art Songs of the Black Atlantic analyzes the literary commentary that  composers of color have performed through setting poetry to music. A brief article from this project appears in the inaugural issue of J19: The Journal of Nineteenth Century Americanists (Spring 2013) and a related blogpost can be found on the Penn Press website
Other publications include:
“Symbiopsychotaxiplasticity: Some Takes on William Greaves.” Coauthor, Franklin D. Cason, Jr. Cultural Studies 28.4 (March 2014), 574-593.
“Art Song Poetics: Performing Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s Setting of Paul L. Dunbar’s ‘A Corn Song’.” J19: Journal of Nineteenth Century Americanists, 1.1 (Spring 2013).
“Can You Hear Africa Roar? StoryTime and the Digital Publishing Innovations of Ivor Hartmann and Emmanuel Sigauke.” Journal of Commonwealth and Post-colonial Studies (Spring 2013), 221-39.
“Re-Collecting the Musical Politics of John and Nokutela Dube.” in Safundi 13.3-4 (September 2012), 213-229.
“Sound Effects: Synaesthesia as Purposeful Distortion in Keorapetse Kgositsile’s Poetry,” Comparative Literature Studies 46:1 (Spring ): 287-310, 2009. 
“Prying Death’s Door Open: Mourning the Living-Dead in Maryse Condé’s Moi, Tituba sorcière…Noire de Salem." in Come Weep With Me:loss and mourning in the writings of Caribbean women writers.  Ed. Joyce Harte, 56-73. Cambridge Scholars Press, 2007.
“The Name of the Father, The Name of the Son, and the Name of the Homeric Spirit in Walcott’s Omeros,” La Torre- Revista General de la Universidad de Puerto Rico. Tercera época, 10:.36-37: 175-188, 2005.
Her poetry has been featured on the Zimbabwe page for Poetry International, in Black Renaissance NoireBitter Oleander, Runes Review, InTensions and the Center for Book Arts Broadside Poetry Series, and elsewhere.
Jaji has conducted fieldwork throughout Southern and West Africa, with generous support from the TIAA-CREF Ruth Sims Hamilton Fellowship, and has been a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow, a Society for the Humanities (Cornell) Mellon Graduate Fellow, and a Penn Humanities Forum Junior Faculty Fellow. During the 2012-13 year she was the Mary I. Bunting Institute Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. Her primary research interests continue to be transnational black cultural relations and exchanges, the relationship between music and literature, theorizations of listening, and Africana expressions of feminism. On occasion she revisits a former self as an Oberlin-trained pianist, however her primary commitment is to literary studies.



last updated 2014/08/03

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