Meet the 2015-2016 Postdoctoral Fellows

Each academic year, the Department of African American Studies selects postdoctoral fellows to spend a year at Princeton where they will use their expertise to write about race, as well as instruct a departmental course for one semester. In addition, fellows are provided with private offices in the Department where they have opportunities to learn from and with their fellowship cohort and Princeton faculty. As they dedicate their time and scholarship to writing articles and books, fellows have a research fund, access to Princeton’s Firestone Library, a host of additional resources, and an opportunity to invite scholars of their choice to Princeton for a manuscript review. For the 2015-2016 academic year, the Department of African American Studies is pleased to welcome Dr. Tao Leigh Goffe and Dr. Jarvis C. McInnis as postdoctoral fellows, and we welcome back Dr. Courtney Bryan for an additional year as a postdoctoral fellow.

taogoffeTao Leigh Goffe received her Ph.D. in American Studies from Yale University. A native of London, she also grew up in New York and New Jersey. Tao received her A.B. in English with a concentration in African American Studies from Princeton University. Her research explores the intersections between black and Asian diasporic literature in the United States, United Kingdom, and the Caribbean. She has presented her work internationally at conferences in Liverpool; Paris; and Tampere, Finland. During her time in the department of African American Studies, Goffe will continue to develop her book, “Chiney Royal: Afro-Asian Intimacies in the Americas.” The manuscript maps a network of Afro-Asian intimacies in the metropolises of New York’s Chinatown and Toronto as well as the plantations of the West Indies and the American South. Analyzing spy thrillers, travelogues, beauty pageant photography, radical romance novels, indenture contracts, recipes, ship manifests, reggae songs, and family photographs, all of which encompass a rich archive of Afro-Asian intimacies in the Americas, Goffe reads cultural objects against the grain of colonial history by drawing on methodologies of literary criticism and cultural history. Her most recent article, “007 versus the Darker Nations: Black and Yellow Peril in Dr. No,” which offers a reading of a Jamaican Chinese James Bond and the orientalist coding of Ian Fleming’s Jamaica, was published in Anthurium: A Caribbean Studies Journal. In her spare time, Tao enjoys attending roundtable discussions at the Council on Foreign Relations, DJing, fencing, and photography.


jarviseheadshotJarvis C. McInnis is an interdisciplinary scholar of African American & African Diaspora literature and culture, with research interests in the global south (primarily the US South and the Caribbean), sound studies, performance studies, and visual culture. During his time with the department, McInnis will be working on his first book project, titled, “The Afterlives of the Plantation: Aesthetics, Labor, and Diaspora in the Global Black South,” which aims to reorient the geographic contours of black transnationalism and diaspora by exploring the hemispheric linkages between Southern African American and Caribbean literature and culture in the early twentieth century. He will also be at work on co-editing a special issue of Callaloo on the transnational black south. McInnis earned his Ph.D. from the Department of English & Comparative Literature at Columbia University. His research has been supported by numerous grants and fellowships, including the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship, the Ford Foundation Pre-doctoral and Dissertation Fellowships, and the Mellon Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellowship. His work appears or is forthcoming in journals and venues such as Callaloo, MELUS, Oxford Bibliographies, and The Global South. In the fall of 2016, McInnis will begin a tenure-track position as an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Notre Dame. He also serves as an assistant to the editor for Callaloo and a consultant for the W. E. B. Du Bois Scholars Institute.

courtney_headshot.jpgCourtney Bryan, a native of New Orleans, La, is “a pianist and composer of panoramic interests” (New York Times). Her music ranges from solo works to large ensembles in the new music and jazz idioms, film scores, and collaborations with dancers, visual artists, writers, and actors, and is in conversation with various musical genres, including jazz and other types of experimental music, as well as traditional gospel, spirituals, and hymns. Focusing on bridging the sacred and the secular, Bryan’s recent compositions explore human emotions through sound, confronting the challenge of notating the feeling of improvisation. She performs around the New York area, and is the Director of the Institute of Sacred Music at Bethany Baptist Church of Newark, NJ. Dr. Bryan has academic degrees from Oberlin Conservatory (BM), Rutgers University (MM), and recently completed a DMA in music composition at Columbia University of New York, with advisor George Lewis. Bryan has been an instructor at Columbia University and Oberlin Conservatory, and is currently a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Center for African American Studies at Princeton University. She has two independent recordings, “Quest for Freedom” (2007) and “This Little Light of Mine” (2010).