2020 Keynote Speaker

Kyla Wazana Tompkins investigates aesthetic production, biopolitics and the history of ideas via an interdisciplinary methodology grounded in close reading practices. In all of her writing and teaching on cultural form she seeks to put multiple theories of the political, including queer, feminist, Marxist, Black diasporic, and postcolonial thought, into conversation with each other, while grounding all of her projects in a thorough archival and historical practice.

In her most recent book project Racial Indigestion: Eating Bodies in the 19th Century, she has largely focused on: comparative histories of racialization in the United States; the history of sexuality with a focus on biopolitics and queer (in particular queer of color) theory; nineteenth-century prose literature with an emphasis on the comparative and connected relations between white and African-American writers; science studies; performance studies; and early film and visual media.

She is an Associate Professor at Pomona College, joint appointed to the the Department of English and the Program in Gender and Women’s Studies. Her scholarly writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Callaloo, Gastronomica, Women and PerformanceAmerican Quarterly, J19: The Journal of Nineteenth Century AmericanistsLateral: The Journal of the Cultural Studies AssociationThe Journal of Food, Culture and Society as well as Social TextLateral and ASAP/Journal, while my journalism has appeared in the San Francisco ChronicleThe Globe and MailXtra Magazine7×7 Magazine and journals like Tikkunand Bridges.