Simone A. James Alexander
Simone A. James Alexander is Professor of English, Africana Studies and Women and Gender Studies, affiliate member of the Russian and East European Studies Program and Latin America and Latino/Latina Studies at Seton Hall University. Her primary fields of research include women, gender, and sexuality studies, postcolonial literature, Transnational Feminist Theory, Caribbean studies, migration and diaspora studies. She is the author of the award-winning monograph, African Diasporic Women’s Narratives: Politics of Resistance, Survival and Citizenship (University Press of Florida, 2014; reprinted in May 2016), which also received Honorable Mention by the African Literature Association Book of the Year Scholarship Award. Alexander is also the author of Mother Imagery in the Novels of Afro-Caribbean Women (University of Missouri Press, 2001) and coeditor of Feminist and Critical Perspectives on Caribbean Mothering (Africa World Press, 2013). Her articles appeared in Journal of West Indian Literature, L’Espirit Créateur, African American Review, MLA Approaches to Teaching Gaines’, Turkish Journal of Diaspora Studies, Wagadu: A Journal of Transnational Women’s and Gender Studies, African Literature Today, Anglistica: An Interdisciplinary Journal, and edited collections. Her current book projects include Bodies of (In)Difference: Intimacy, Desirability and the Politics and Poetics of Relation and Black Freedom in (Communist) Russia: Great Expectations, Utopian Visions.
My research that focuses on Caribbean women writers and writing, transnational feminism and women, gender and sexuality studies exemplifies my deep and sustained commitment to transnational and cross-cultural scholarly exchanges, attributes befitting of the Association of Caribbean Women Writers and Scholars that promotes awareness of the Caribbean and its diasporas. My protracted interest in Caribbean literature and culture finds representation in my scholarly endeavors. My publications include: African Diasporic Women’s Narratives: Politics of Resistance, Survival and Citizenship (UP Florida, 2014; RPT, 2016), College Language Association Creative Scholarship Award 2015 and Honorable Mention by the African Literature Association Book of the Year Scholarship Award; Mother Imagery in the Novels of Afro-Caribbean Women (University of Missouri Press, 2001) and coeditor of Feminist and Critical Perspectives on Caribbean Mothering (Africa World Press, 2013). I am currently working on two manuscripts: one foregrounds a black feminist consciousness in the practice and realization of transnational female af/filiation and alliances and the other examines the practice of refusal through the prism of relatability and relativity of otherness and in/difference.
I have also served in an administrative capacity for 9 years. First as the Chair of the Africana Studies department for three years, where I revitalized a weakening program, and later as the Director of Africana Studies for five years. In these positions, I have been able to foster collaborations and partnerships both on- and off-campus. One notable achievement I accomplished as Chair, was the creation of the Writer-Speaker Lecture Series, where I hosted several Caribbean writers, including Maryse Conde, Jamaica Kincaid, Caryl Phillips, Staceyann Chin, Elizabeth Nunez, and Nicole Dennis-Benn, just to name a few. As an affiliate faculty of the Women and Gender Studies Program, my contributions are invaluable. As the co-organizer of the 2015 conference, I facilitated the visit and introduction of renowned historian, Deborah Gray White. On record, this has been the most well-attended women’s conference to date.
I attended my first ACWWS conference in Grenada in 1998 as a graduate student. My sustained interest in the organization and in Caribbean women’s writing as a whole, propelled me to make the lifetime commitment to ACWWS by becoming a life member of the Association, as I continued to attend conferences where I presented, chaired and/or organized panels. Most recently, I served on the conference planning committee of the 16th ACWWS conference in Costa Rica. Previously, I served on the conference planning committees of the 36th Annual Caribbean Studies Association conference in Willemstad, Curaçao, and the 2018 New York African Studies Association (NYASA) conference, hosted by the Africana Studies program and the Political Science department at Seton Hall University.
I was also involved in the preliminary discussions, spearheaded by Carole Boyce Davies at the 2015 Caribbean Association Conference in New Orleans, to revitalize the organization. I had the good fortune of being present at this revitalization, a “come back” celebration in the form of a fundraising event, that came to fruition the following year at the 2016 Caribbean Studies Association conference in Haiti, under the auspices of the then President of CSA, Boyce Davies.
Given a chance to serve as Vice President of ACWWS, I hope to bring not only my culturally diverse experiences as a Caribbean, African diaspora and women’s gender and sexuality scholar, but also my many years of experience, commitment and expertise with administrative service. While aspiring to build on my experiences as a former administrator and conference organizer, I will continue to work to support the efforts of ACWWS in advancing coalition-building and partnerships locally and globally.