Nijah Cunningham

Cotsen Post Doctoral Fellow in the Society of Fellows
Society of Fellows
(609) 258-1386
Email Address:
Office Location: 
023 Joseph Henry House

Nijah Cunningham received his Ph.D. in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University and his B.A. in Communication and Faith, Peace, and Justice from Boston College, where he was a McNair Scholar. He comes to Princeton from a teaching position at Hunter College, CUNY. He specializes in African American and African diasporic literature and his fields of interest include black studies, performance studies, visual culture, gender and sexuality, and postcolonial criticism. Under the working title of Quiet Dawn: Time, Aesthetics, and the Afterlives of Black Radicalism, his current book project reconsiders the material legacies of the revolutionary past by exploring questions of embodied performance, temporality, and historiography within the context of the 1960s. The manuscript examines archival documents and a range of aesthetic forms that illuminate plural modes of action which strain against conventional notions of agency and freedom and, in turn, gesture towards worlds that could have been. He has published work in Small Axe: A Caribbean Journal of Criticism and The Studio Museum of Harlem exhibition catalogue, Fore. In collaboration with Erica James (Art History, Yale University) and David Scott (Anthropology, Columbia University), he has recently organized a symposium series called Caribbean Queer Visualities (CQV), which brings Caribbean artists and critics in conversation around the question of queerness as it relates to visual art practice. At Princeton, he will offer courses on black aesthetics, history and catastrophe, and fictions of black urban life. In addition to being affiliated with the Department of African American Studies and the Department of English, he will serve as a faculty fellow at Mathey College. He is currently the Project Coordinator of The Small Axe Project.