Assistant Professor


  • Office Hours:

    Mondays and Wednesdays 1-2 PM or by Appointment
  • Role:

  • Position:

    • Assistant Professor
  • Department:

    • Ethnic Studies
  • Education:

    • PhD Women and Gender Studies. University of Toronto
    • MPhil Cultural Studies, University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Trinidad and Tobago
    • BA Media and Communication, University of the West Indies, Mona Jamaica


Dr. Nikoli Attai is an Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies, focusing on Black queer and feminist studies. He received his PhD in Women and Gender Studies at the University of Toronto, a Master of Philosophy in Cultural Studies and a Bachelor of Arts in Media and Communication from the University of the West Indies. His first book titled Defiant Bodies: Making Queer Community in the Anglophone Caribbean, published by Rutgers University Press, explores queer politics in Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Toronto. Utilizing transnational feminist, Black queer studies, Queer Caribbean studies, and transgender studies frameworks, He examines how working-class queer and trans people are co-opting, re-imagining and re-articulating space in these Caribbean sites that are often hostile for persons who fail to adhere to dominant expectations of legible gender and sexuality. He also considers how experiences in these sites allow us to better understand queer life in the Caribbean beyond narratives of mortality, disease, and a need to flee violence.

Alongside his colleague Dr. Caridad Souza, he co-manages the CSU Collab Lab, a collaborative research hub that investigates the ways in which race, gender, and sexuality inform a sense of belonging in varied political, cultural, social, economic, and historical contexts in the US and beyond. Here he works closely with students by providing a space to nurture and inspire innovative and exciting research. One of the lab’s main projects is the Undergraduate Academy of Feminist Scholars (UGAFS), which provides training in transnational feminist research and students are now embarking on a study to document the experiences of trans and gender diverse students at the university.


Attai, Nikoli. 2023. Defiant Bodies: Making Queer Community in the Anglophone Caribbean. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.

Attai, Nikoli, Krystal Nandini Ghisyawan, Rajanie Preity Kumar and Carla Moore. 2020. "Tales from the Field: Myths and Methodologies for Researching Same Sex–Desiring People in the Caribbean." In Beyond Homophobia: Centring LGBTQ Experiences in the Anglophone Caribbean. Edited by Mojitos Anderson and Erin MacCleod. Kingston: University of the West Indies Press.

Cornel Grey and Nikoli Attai. 2019. “Revisiting LGBT Rights in the Caribbean: Talking Across Difference”. In The Oxford Handbook of Global LGBT and Sexual Diversity Studies. Edited by Michael J. BosiaSandra M. McEvoy and Momin Rahman. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Attai, Nikoli. 2017. “Let’s Liberate the Bullers! Toronto Human Rights Activism and Implications for Caribbean Strategies.” In The Journal of Eastern Caribbean Studies Volume 42(3):97-121.


  • ETST 201 Intro to Queer Studies

    This course provides an intersectional framework for understanding theoretical, historical, and contemporary applications of queer theory and queer studies in a transnational context. By analyzing multiple perspectives, we will engage in an overview of queer culture, politics, and social justice activism across social, political, cultural and spatial geographies.

  • ETST 412 Africa and the African Diaspora

    An Interdisciplinary investigation of retention, transformation, and creation of culture in plantation economies of Americas.

  • ETST 305 Ethnicity Class and Gender in the US

  • ETST 411 Black Feminisms