Stacy J. Lettman

Dr. Stacy J. Lettman is as an Associate Professor of English with a specialization in Caribbean literature and cultural studies at Florida Atlantic University. More broadly, she’s interested in postcolonial literature, Africana studies, performance studies, interdisciplinary research, oral literatures, and fairytales. Her classes explore issues of identity, aesthetics, folklore, orality, Afro-diasporic spirituality, violence, and decolonization. Her interdisciplinary research on language and violence has been published as a peer-reviewed journal article in Encounters: An International Journal for the Study of Culture and Society and as a book chapter in The Black and Green Atlantic: Cross-Currents of the Black and Irish Diasporas

Dr. Lettman’s recent book, The Slave Sublime: The Language of Violence in Caribbean Literature and Music (UNC Press 2022), extends her reflections on language to the violence stemming from plantations structures as she traces the legacies of slavery and colonialism in the Caribbean to its current iterations under globalization. More specifically, in The Slave Sublime, she explores real and imagined violence as depicted in Caribbean and Jamaican text and music, how that violence repeats itself in both art and in the actions of the state, and what that means for Caribbean cultural identity. Jamaica is known for having one of the highest per capita murder rates in the world, a fact that Dr. Lettman links to remnants of the plantation era—namely the economic dispossession and structural violence that still haunt the island. Dr. Lettman contends that the impact of colonial violence is so embedded in the language of Jamaican literature and music that violence has become a separate language itself, one that paradoxically can offer cultural modes of resistance. Dr. Lettman codifies Paul Gilroy’s concept of the “slave sublime” as a remix of Kantian philosophy through a Caribbean lens to take a broad view of Jamaica, the Caribbean, and their political and literary history that challenges Eurocentric ideas of slavery, Blackness, and resistance. Living at the intersection of philosophy, literary and musical analysis, and postcolonial theory, this book sheds new light on the lingering ghosts of the plantation and slavery in the Caribbean. Dr. Lettman was interviewed on The Slave Sublime in BAR Book Forum

Dr. Lettman received her Ph.D. in English from the University of Southern California, where she was an Irvine Foundation Research Fellow with the Department of American Studies and Ethnicity.