Jenny Sharpe

Jenny Sharpe

Jenny Sharpe



English, Gender Studies

Office: 274 Kaplan Hall


Phone: 310-825-4173

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Jenny Sharpe is Professor of English, Gender Studies, and Comparative Literature. She received a PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Texas at Austin.  She taught at Boston College before joining UCLA’s English department in 1993. Her areas of research and teaching are postcolonial studies, Caribbean literatures, gender studies, the novel, literary archives of slavery and empire, and the black Atlantic. Prof. Sharpe is author of Allegories of Empire: The Figure of Woman in the Colonial Text (Minnesota 1993), which provides historically-grounded readings of Anglo-Indian fiction for how the topos of interracial rape helped manage a crisis in British colonial authority. Her book has been widely reviewed and is considered a classic in postcolonial studies. Her second book, Ghosts of Slavery: A Literary Archeology of Black Women’s Lives (Minnesota 2002), challenges the equation of subaltern agency with resistance and self-determination, and introduces new ways to examine black women’s negotiations for power within the constraints of slavery. Prof. Sharpe has published widely on the gendering of the black Atlantic and cultural theories of globalization. Her current research addresses the literary turn in archival studies from the perspective of Caribbean literature that provides black female alternatives to historicism’s linear temporality and the presumed materiality of the archives.

Research Interests

Postcolonial Studies, Caribbean Literatures, Representations of Slave Women, Literary Archives, Gendering of Black Atlantic Cultures

Selected Publications

“When Spirits Talk: Reading Louisiana for Affect,” Small Axe 39 (November 2012): 90-102.

Ghosts of Slavery: A Literary Archeology of Black Women’s Lives. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2003.

Allegories of Empire: The Figure of Woman in the Colonial Text. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993.

“The Middle Passages of Black Migration.” Atlantic Studies 6: 1 (2009): 97-112.  LINK.

“Sweetest Taboo: Studies of Caribbean Sexualities.” Review essay co-authored with Samantha Pinto, Signs 32: 1 (2006): 247-74.

“Gender, Nation, and Globalization in Monsoon Wedding and Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge.”Meridians 6: 1 (2005): 58-81.  LINK.

“A Conversation with Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak: Politics and the Imagination.” Signs 28: 2 (Winter 2003): 609-24.

“Cartographies of Globalisation, Technologies of Gendered Subjectivities: The Dub Poetry of Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze.” Gender and History 15: 3 (2003): 439-58.  LINK.

“Is the United States Postcolonial? Transnationalism, Immigration, and Race.” Diaspora 4:2 (Fall 1995): 181-199.  LINK.


2009-10: Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Grant for Postcolonial and Transnational Literary Studies Initiative

2007-08: Executive Leadership FellowWin/Sp

2004: Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship, UC-Riverside

1998-99: President’s Research Fellowship in the Humanities

Win/Sp 1995: Humanities Research Center Fellow, UC—Irvine

1987 – 88: Post-Doctoral Fellowship, Pembroke Center, Brown University