Jak joined the Department in 2011 while completing his doctorate at Essex, which formed part of the AHRC-funded ‘American Tropics’ project. His principal research covers American literature in the continental sense, including United States and Caribbean literature in particular, from around the nineteenth century to the twenty first century. His research interests also include the ‘New Negro’, the Black or Harlem Renaissance, postcolonialism, colonialism, black diaspora and black British writing, travel writing and ecocriticism.
His book, Between the Bocas: A Literary Geography of Western Trinidad, examines writing of and about Trinidad from the nineteenth to the twenty first century. This study places works by well-known authors such as V. S. Naipaul and Samuel Selvon, alongside writing by Michel Maxwell Philip, Marcella Fanny Wilkins, E. L. Joseph, Earl Lovelace, Ismith Khan, Monique Roffey, Arthur Calder-Marshall and the largely neglected novelist, Yseult Bridges, who is almost entirely forgotten today.
His most recent research focuses on the New Negro and Black Modernism (or the Harlem Renaissance) in the 1910-1940 period – what’s commonly termed the jazz age. In particular he is interested in trans-American connections and networks between the United States and the Caribbean as manifested in early twentieth-century print culture: illustrated magazines, journals, anthologies, books, newspapers, pamphlets and so on.
Jak would particularly welcome PhD applications in the following areas:
• Caribbean literature
• United States literature
• Black Modernism or the Harlem Renaissance (1910s-1940s)
• Twentieth-Century Print Culture
• Postcolonial/Colonial Studies
• Black diaspora / Black British writing
• Travel Writing