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Sybil Cooksey

Clinical Assistant Professor
(212) 992-7759
1 Wash Pl, Room 715

Office Hours
Monday 2-5
Tuesday By Appt

B.A., Black Studies, Pomona College, 1995
M.S., Urban Studies, University of New Orleans, 1998
Ph.D., American Studies, New York University, 2010

Sybil Newton Cooksey is a scholar of afro-diasporic cultural history whose interests include comparative literature, music and sound studies, and performance philosophy. She has taught courses on obscure autobiography, jazz icons, black existentialism, travel and translation, and Harlem noir. Professor Cooksey is currently working on a book manuscript entitled "The Objective I: Black Autobiography and Inauthenticity in Post-Negrophilia Paris." She is also researching a new project on soundscapes and architecture in 1940s Havana.  

Teaching and Research Interests

black diaspora history and cultural studies; afro-modernism in the americas; black travel narratives and translations; oceanic studies; autobiography and subjectivity; object-oriented ontology; posthumanism  afro-pessimism and africana philosophies of existence; queer theory; black affect: anger  moodiness  depression; surrealism  noir; afrofuturism and speculative fiction; dance  music  performance and sound studies; ethics & erotics of archival research 

Recent News


Gallatin Faculty Research Fellowship, 2023-2024


“Afro-Gothic” (guest editor’s intro to special issue), liquid blackness: a journal of aesthetics and black studies, Vol 6, No. 2 (October 2022), Duke University Press.

“Revenant Motion: Danse Macabre in the Era of #BlackLivesMatter” (as contributor), liquid blackness: a journal of aesthetics and black studies, Vol. 6, No. 2 (October 2022), Duke University Press.

“Aestheticizing the Void: An Afro-Gothic Roundtable” (as moderator), liquid blackness: a journal of aesthetics and black studies, Vol. 6, No. 2 (2022), Duke University Press.


Presenter, “My Black Ass: Fleshy Pronouns and Phenomenology in New Orleans Bounce Music,” American Studies Association meeting, New Orleans, LA, November 5, 2022.

Panelist, “NYU BeTogether Scholars & Innovators Series: A Juneteenth Conversation Reflecting on the Legacy of Ralph Ellison,” New York University (online), June 16, 2021.

Moderator, “Jazz in Exile,” Freedom Abroad: The History of African Americans in Europe, online conference hosted by New York University and Case Western Reserve University, April 21, 2021.

Presenter, “Ellison and Flamenco,” Flamenco in the USA: From the Modernist Vanguard to the 21st Century, a symposium co-sponsored by the Foundation for Iberian Music and the Brook Center for Music Research and Documentation at CUNY, scheduled March 27, 2020 (postponed).

Chair and Commentator, “(Re)Visualizing Value: Explorations in the Black Urban Humanities,” American Studies Association annual meeting, Honolulu, HI, November 10, 2019. 

Invited talk, “On Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am,” 17th annual Reel Voices Film Festival, Ridgewood Public Library, Ridgewood, NJ, October 21, 2019. 



Sybil Cooksey