Kaneesha Parsard

Kaneesha Parsard
Assistant Professor
Walker 501
Ph.D., Yale University, 2017. B.A., University of Pennsylvania, 2011.
Teaching at UChicago since 2018


My scholarship examines the legacies of slavery and emancipation in the Americas, and particularly concerns how gender and sexuality structure race, labor, and capital. These questions are central to my first book project, An Illicit Wage: Economies of Sex and the Family after West Indian Emancipation. It argues that, as British colonial administrators and employers sought to manage Black labor and indentured Indian labor, West Indian cultural works began to imagine informal economies and intimacies that delinked freedom from the wage. Through the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, I trace histories of informal wage-earning and, alongside it, the development of a literary and visual repertoire of figures by which West Indians and Britons took account of and thought about these relations. These include the indentured Indian wife who stores her wages in jewelry, barrack-yard women who exchanged sex for money, the outside child or bastard, and the patriarch who hustles to secure property. At moments of crisis and change—Emancipation, the prelude to the 1930s labor rebellions, and the colonial development and welfare policy that followed—these figures chart a counter-archive and a counter-geography of capital. 


More broadly, I am committed to questions of Black feminisms, transnational feminisms, and materialist feminisms; Caribbean and Caribbean diaspora, African American, and feminist and queer visual cultures; archives; property and inheritance; and the Atlantic and Indian Ocean worlds. 

Select Publications

  • "Criticism as Proposition.” Forthcoming in The South Atlantic Quarterly. Vol. 121, no. 1. (January 2022)
  • “Barrack Yard Politics: From C.L.R. James’ The Case for West Indian Self-Government to Minty Alley.” Small Axe (57) 22, no. 3 (November 2018): 13-27.
  • “Cutlass: Objects toward a Theory of Representation.” In Indo-Caribbean Feminist Thought: Genealogies, Theories, Enactments, edited by Gabrielle Hosein and Lisa Outar, 241-260. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. 2016.
  • “Making Space: The Caribbean in Transnational American Studies.” Review of The Intimacies of Four Continents, Lisa Lowe; Freedom as Marronage, Neil Roberts; Coolie Woman: The Odyssey of Indenture, Gaiutra Bahadur; Troubling Freedom: Antigua and the Aftermath of British Emancipation, Natasha Lightfoot; Island Bodies: Transgressive Sexualities in the Caribbean Imagination, Rosamond King. American Quarterly 68, no. 4 (December 2016): 1019-1032.