Postdoctoral Fellows

Alyssa A. L. James

Alyssa James

2024–2026 Postdoctoral Fellow, Anthropology
PhD in Sociocultural Anthropology, Columbia University

Alyssa A. L. James is a sociocultural anthropologist with research interests in colonial and commodity histories and their material reverberations through time in the French Caribbean. She uses ethnographic and archival methods to carry out immersive and historically grounded fieldwork in France and the Caribbean. The heart of her research is on the heritage coffee revival project in Martinique. Her current book project, Vexed Temporality: Coffee Pasts and Parallel Futures in the French Caribbean, examines how Martinicans experience and articulate this revival of the past and the production of new futures. While theorization on Caribbean temporality often addresses the ways futures are constructed and constrained by the past and its afterlives, Vexed Temporality traces how our interpretations of the past and present are shaped by the ends we pursue.

Alyssa is a Jamaican Canadian scholar and writer from Toronto, Canada. She is a PhD Candidate in Sociocultural Anthropology at Columbia University and holds an M.A. in Social Anthropology from York University, and an Honours B.Sc. with distinction in Psychology and Equity Studies from the University of Toronto. Her research has received generous support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the Wenner-Gren Foundation. She is the 2023 recipient of the Setha M. Low Engaged Anthropology Award from the American Anthropological Association for her work on the Black feminist anthropology podcast Zora’s Daughters. In her free time, you can find Alyssa dancing, travelling, or hanging with her rescue dog Frankie.