Jakeya Caruthers is Assistant Professor of English and Africana Studies. Her research attends to black political aesthetics within 20th and 21st century cultural production and to the study of race, gender, sexuality, and state discipline. To that end, she is working on a book-length project “An Unusual Accommodation”: Affect, Reason, and Relationality in Black Political Humor examines literature and performance – from the novels of Toni Morrison and Alice Walker to standup by Dominique Witten – to explore ways black folks manage racial terror through a sense of humor endowed with black feminist affects like curiosity or a sense of political legitimacy imagined to be possible even among morally, materially, and politically opposing figures.
Other research investigates contemporary black aesthetic categories, practice, and values within presumably avant-garde cultural production as well as within everyday collective culture-making (particularly within the digital sphere). In particular, she is interested in the social and political anxieties, problems, and presumptions that power these aesthetic values and features.
Recent collaborative projects engage Jakeya’s interest in race, gender, sexuality, and state discipline. She is a principal investigator in an inside-outside research initiative with Survived and Punished California using large scale survey data to help map the multiple pathways between surviving gender violence and incarceration. The study also uncovers barriers and radical possibilities for survivor release. She is also collaborating on a digital archive of feminist decriminalization campaigns waged over the last 50 years. With Alisa Bierria and Brooke Lober, Jakeya is also co-editor of a double-volume anthology on abolition feminisms, the first of which – Abolition Feminisms: Organizing, Survival, and Transformative Practice – is under contract with Haymarket Books. Other analytic musings can be found in The Feminist Wire, Journal of Popular Music Studies, Scalawag and elsewhere.