Jenny Sharpe is a 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.
Her work has been supported by the ACLS, the Hutchins Center at Harvard University, UC President's Research, the Rockefeller Foundation, the UC Humanities Research Center, and Pembroke Center at Brown University.
“What Use Is the Imagination?” PMLA 129: 3 (May 2014): 512-17.
“The Archive and Affective Memory in M. NourbeSe Philip’s Zong!” Interventions 16: 4 (Jul 2014): 465-82.
“When Spirits Talk: Reading Louisiana for Affect,” Small Axe 39 (November 2012): 90-102.
“The Middle Passages of Black Migration.” Atlantic Studies 6: 1 (2009): 97-112.
“Cartographies of Globalisation, Technologies of Gendered Subjectivities: The Dub Poetry of Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze.” Gender and History 15: 3 (2003): 439-58.
“Postcolonial Studies in the House of US Multiculturalism.” Blackwell’s Companion to Postcolonial Studies, ed. Sangeeta Ray and Henry Schwarz (London: Blackwell, 1999): 112-25.
“‘The Limits of What Is Possible’: Reimagining sharam in Salman Rushdie’s Shame.” Jouvert 1: 1 (Fall 1997).
“‘Something Akin to Freedom’: The Case of Mary Prince.” differences 8: 1 (1996): 31-56.
“Is the United States Postcolonial? Transnationalism, Immigration, and Race.” Diaspora 4:2 (Fall 1995): 181-199.
Allegories of Empire: The Figure of Woman in the Colonial Text. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993.
“The Violence of Light in the Land of Desire; or, How William Jones Discovered India.” boundary 2 20: 2 (Winter 1992): 26-46.