Vanessa Evans, M.Litt.

Oct 2019 – Sep 2020: Exchange Lecturer (York University, Toronto, Canada)


Vanessa Evans is no longer an active faculty member at the Obama Institute. For matters regarding second and third term paper attempts, please contact other colleagues at Prof. Banerjee’s chair. In urgent matters regarding past courses and exams, you can direct your query to

I am a Doctoral Candidate from the traditional territory of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation at York University in Toronto, Canada. My dissertation investigates three research objectives: (i) ascertain how processes of memory and storytelling interact with bonds of kinship toward establishing Indigenous resurgence, (ii) conceptualize how literary study can meaningfully contribute to decolonization without reducing it to metaphor, and (iii) introduce a new methodology aimed at decolonizing the way we study Indigenous world literatures. While a focus on literature and culture alone will never achieve decolonization absent the return of lands and economic sovereignty, I believe literary scholars can do differently and do better by centering Indigenous voices. My other teaching and research interests include: Indigenous temporalities, postcolonialism, African literature, transnational American studies, and carceral geography.

I hold a B.A. in English from the University of Calgary (2009), an M.Litt in Modernities from the University of Glasgow (2011), and a Diploma in World Literature from York University. I am a recipient of the SSHRC Doctoral Award (2019-2020), Mitacs Globalink Research Award (2019), Ontario Graduate Scholarship (2018-2019), multiple York University International Mobility Awards (2017-2019), and the Liberal Arts & Professional Studies International Study Abroad Award (2017). I have presented papers at conferences for the Law and Society Association (2019), the Association of Canadian College and University Teachers (2018), the Canadian Comparative Literature Association (2018), the American Comparative Literature Association (2018), the Harvard Institute for World Literature (2017), and the Canadian Association of Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies (2017). My forthcoming work “Carceral Imaginaries in Science Fiction: Toward a Palimpsestic Understanding of Penality,” co-authored with Kaitlyn Quinn and Erika Canossini, is set to appear in The Palgrave Handbook of Incarceration in Popular Media.



Vanessa Evans, M.Litt.