Concordia University



Paul Barrett

Assistant Professor, English

My research is situated at the intersection of Canadian literature, critical race studies, and digital humanities. I am the author of Blackening Canada: Diaspora, Race, Multiculturalism (University of Toronto Press, 2015). This work studies the work of Dionne Brand, Austin Clarke, Tessa McWatt, and George Elliott Clarke as they simultaneously engage the politics and poetics of diaspora, race, and multiculturalism. 

I am currently a co-investigator on a project that studies the online, public reception of "Canada Reads" and thinks about the transformation of concepts of public discourse and the public sphere as they occur online. As part of this project, I am co-editing a collection of essays that imagine the future of digital humanities work in Canada. I am also editing a forthcoming collection of essays on the life and writing of Austin Clarke as well as a critical edition of Clarke's first novel, The Survivors of the Crossing. 

My next book will be a study of the discourses of humanism, and the relationship between notions of human and the humanities, in Canadian Literature. This work attempts to bring the insights of Sylvia Wynter's work on the human to bear on Canadian literary and public culture.


Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship, McMaster University (2014 - 2016)
EMIC Postdoctoral Fellowship, McMaster University (2013 - 2015)
Ph.D. Queen's University (2011)
M.A. McMaster University (2005)
B.Sc University of Toronto (2004)

Teaching activities

Current Courses

ENGL241: The Novel: Subjectivity and Alterity

ENGL377: Contemporary Canadian Literature: Lament for a Nation?

ENGL662: Black Canadas

Recent Publications

Recent Academic Publications

Blackening Canada: Diaspora, Race, Multiculturalism (University of Toronto Press, 2015)

"Black Digital Crossings." The Digital Black Atlantic (In Press)

"Contrapuntal Blackenings." TOPIA 37 (2017): 186 - 196.

"Paraphrasing the Paraphrase OR What I Leaned from Reading Every Issue of Canadian Literature / Littérature canadienne and Studies in Canadian Literature / Études en literature canadienne.” Canadian Literature. Canadian Literature. 228 / 229 March 2017): 208 - 225. 

"Dionne Brand's Transnational Sublime." TOPIA 34 (2015): 27 - 38.

"Our Words Spoken Amongst Us in Fragments: Austin Clarke's Aesthetics of Crossing." The Journal of West Indian Literature. 23. 1 & 2. (April / November 2015): 89 - 106.

Recent Public Writing

"Dionne Brand: The Humanism Shade." A Review of Dionne Brand's Theory and The Blue Clerk. Literary Review of Canada. September 2018.

"Resisting the Singular Voice: On Canadian Hip Hop." An Interview with Mark V. Campbell. The Puritan. September 2018.

"CanLit's Long-Memoried Woman." A Review of M. NourbeSe Philip's Bla_k. The Walrus. September 2018.

"The Campus Censorship Debate." The Walrus. May 11 2018. 

"The Wild Rise of CanLit." A Review of Nick Mount's Arrival. The Walrus. 12 October 2017. 

Editor. "'Memberin' Austin Clarke: A Special Issue of The Puritan." The Puritan. July 31 2017. Web.

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