I teach Caribbean literature and culture in the English Department of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and serve on the editorial board of the Journal of West Indian Literature. You can find me on Twitter @RachelMordecai.
I was born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica. Despite living in many places since, I continue to think of Kingston as home, and to think of myself as a Caribbean Caribbeanist – that is, the Caribbean is both the object of my study, and the ground of my identity. For this reason (although I do not study it professionally), climate change is never far from my mind. The Caribbean is, and will continue to be, on the front lines of the devastation we are already seeing and that we know will get worse. How much worse depends on the actions we take – or fail to take – right now.
Current (spring 2019) projects and news
Monograph: a study of Caribbean family sagas, underway. This semester’s project is the book proposal.
An article on Bold Venture (a 1950s US radio serial set in the Caribbean), completed and seeking a home.
Other parts of my brain are taken up with the new project on text and textile in Caribbean and African-diaspora lit. It’s still unclear to me what form(s) it will ultimately take, but I presented an initial foray in October 2018 at the West Indian Literature Conference in Miami; you can read that paper here. I’m also (less formally) writing on texts and textiles here and here. Stay tuned.
Teaching: a graduate seminar in Caribbean Cultural Theory, and an undergraduate course on Haiti and Cuba entitled Caribbean Revolutions and Their Afterlives.
Editorial work: another major project this semester is the Journal of West Indian Literature’s April 2019 issue, for which I am editor in charge.
And – for a little personal news – my father Martin Mordecai’s brilliant historical novel, Free, appeared in fall 2018 from University of the West Indies Press. It was a long time in coming, and is very much worth the wait.