Tsitsi Jaji teaches courses on African American, African and Caribbean expressive cultures and the exchanges throughout the global black world. Her research often focuses on representations of sound, music and listening, and engages feminist methods and theory.Her first book, “Africa in Stereo: Modernism, Music and Pan-African Solidarity” accounts for how and why African American music and literature circulated in Ghana, Senegal, and South Africa and contributed so profoundly to African notions of solidarity in the 20th century.
She is currently at work on two new scholarly book projects. The first, “Cassava Westerns: Refiguring the American Frontier Myth in Global Black Imaginaries”, examines the way writers, filmmakers and musicians of Africa and the Black Diaspora have critically engaged with tropes and mythologies of the U.S. West. The second project, “Classic Black: Art Songs of the Black Atlantic” analyzes the literary commentary that composers of color have performed through setting poetry to music.
Prior to coming to Duke, she taught at University of Pennsylvania, and holds a Ph.D. in comparative literature from Cornell University (2009) with work in English, French, and Spanish. Jaji has conducted fieldwork throughout Southern and West Africa, and has been a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow, a Society for the Humanities (Cornell) Mellon Graduate Fellow, a Penn Humanities Forum Junior Faculty Fellow and the Mary I. Bunting Institute Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University.