Dr. Nikoli Attai is an Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies, focusing on Black queer and feminist studies. He has taught ETST 201: Introduction to Queer Studies, ETST 412: Africa and the African Diaspora, and ETST 305: Ethnicity, Class and Gender in the US and is excited to develop classes on queer politics in the global south. At CSU, Dr. Attai manages the newly formed Ethnic Studies Collab Lab, a collaborative research project that is keenly attentive to the intersecting of race, gender, and sexuality, that inform a sense of belonging in varied political, cultural, social, economic, and historical contexts. Inspired by Black and transnational feminists, Black queer theory, and Caribbean feminist, queer, trans and sexuality scholarship, it aims to foster an environment that is attentive to the issues affecting varied lives and communities that is refracted through shared experiences and differences.

This semester, Dr. Attai is collaborating with faculty and students on several exciting projects, including The Academy for undergraduate Feminist Scholars in collaboration with Dr. Caridad Souza and six undergraduate students from various programs here at CSU; and The Real Talk Academy in collaboration with Duan Ruff and nine student members of the Black/ African American Cultural Center community. The academies are funded by the College of Liberal Arts and the Office of Inclusive Excellence and allow these amazing students are engaging in feminist and anti-oppression Participatory Action Research to document student experiences at the university. The lab has also begun an exciting community-engaged project to curate The Cyrus Sylvester Archive of Queer Trinidad and Tobago, which consists of approximately 5000 images, videos and other media depicting the country’s queer culture from the 1980s to present.

Dr. Attai’s first book, titled Defiant Bodies: Making Queer Community in the Anglophone Caribbean will be published with Rutgers University Press this summer. It problematizes the neocolonial and homoimperial nature of queer human rights activism in in four Anglophone Caribbean nations – Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago – and thinks critically about the limits of human rights as a tool for seeking queer liberation. It also offers critical insight into the ways that queer people negotiate, resist, and disrupt homophobia, transphobia, and discrimination by mobilizing “on the ground” and creating transgressive communities within the region.