• Profile Image
  • Imani D. Owens
  • Assistant Professor of English
  • At Rutgers Since: 2019
  • iowens@rutgers.edu
  • Office:

    Murray Hall, Room 047, College Ave Campus

  • Primary Areas of Specialization:

    twentieth and twenty-first-century African American and Caribbean fiction and poetics, Harlem Renaissance, translation studies

  • Field of Interest: African-American & Diaspora, Caribbean, Drama & Performance Studies, Hemispheric, Poetry & Poetics, Postcolonial, Sound Studies, Translation, Twentieth Century, Twenty-first Century
  • About:

    Imani D. Owens studies and teaches African American and Caribbean literature, music, and performance. She is completing a book manuscript entitled Turn the World Upside Down: Folk Culture, Imperialism, and U.S.-Caribbean Literature (Columbia University Press: Black Lives in the Diaspora series) which charts the connection between literary form and anti-imperialist politics in Caribbean and African American texts during the interwar period. Her research has been supported by a Postdoctoral Fellowship in African American Studies at Princeton University, a Woodrow Wilson Career Enhancement Fellowship, and an NEH funded residency at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Her work has appeared in the Cambridge Journal of Postcolonial Inquiry, Caribbean Literature in Transition, the Journal of Haitian Studies, MELUS, and small axe salon. She is currently a faculty fellow at the Rutgers Institute for Global Racial Justice and the Center for Cultural Analysis.

  • Awards:
    • Faculty Fellow, Institute for Global Racial Justice, 2021-2022
    • Faculty Fellow, Center for Cultural Analysis, 2021-2022
    • Scholar-in-Residence, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, 2018
    • Woodrow Wilson Career Enhancement Fellow, 2017
    • Princeton University Postdoctoral Fellow in African American Literature, 2013-2014
    • Riley Scholar-in-Residence, Colorado College, 2012-2013
  • Membership Affiliations:
    • MLA
    • ASA
    • CSA
  • Other Publications:

    Peer Reviewed Publications: 

    “New Empires: The Caribbean and the United States.” Caribbean Literature in Transition, 1920–1970, edited by Raphael Dalleo and Curdella Forbes, vol. 2, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2021, pp. 225–240.

    Toward a ‘Truly Indigenous Theatre’: Sylvia Wynter Adapts Federico García Lorca.” Postcolonial Reading Publics, special issue of Cambridge Journal of Postcolonial Literary Inquiry. 4.1 (2017): 49-67.

     “Hard Reading: U.S. Empire and Black Modernist Aesthetics in Eric Walrond’s Tropic Death.” MELUS 41.4 (2016): 96-115.

    “Beyond Authenticity: The U.S. Occupation of Haiti and the Politics of Folk Culture.” Journal of Haitian Studies21.2 (2015): 350-370.


    The Transnational Labor of Black Resistance: Caribbean Intellectuals Protest the East St. Louis Riots.” small axe salon 26, Oct 2017


    “The Most Talked About Voice in America.”Review of Queen of Bebop: The Musical Lives of Sarah Vaughan by Elaine Hayes. Women’s Review of Books, May/June 2018

  • Education:


    • Phd Columbia University
    •  MA/MPhil Columbia University
    • BA, Rutgers University-New Brunswick