Paul Watkins

Vancouver Island University

Paul Watkins is Assistant Professor of English at Vancouver Island University. Paul’s areas of interest are CanLit (with a focus on African Canadian literature), Indigenous literatures, jazz and improvisation, African American literature, graphic novels, Digital Humanities, intersections between music and poetry, DJing, and film. His doctoral dissertation, “Soundin’ Canaan: Music, Resistance, and Citizenship in African Canadian Poetry,” addresses the politics and ethics of Canadian multicultural policy and citizenship—focusing on intersections between music and text as a border-crossing praxis—particularly as voiced by African Canadian poets.  

Aside from numerous interviews with writers and book and film reviews, his publications include a paper in Critical Studies in Improvisation titled, “Disruptive Dialogics: Improvised Dissonance in Thelonious Monk and Wu-Tang Clan’s 36 Chambers,” a paper in MaComère focusing on jazz poetics in Dionne Brand’s Ossuaries, and two papers coming out for edited book collections (2018): one on music and sound in David Lynch’s Twin Peaks and another focusing on the poetry of Wayde Compton and Vancouver’s historically Black community of Hogan’s Alley. He has also guest edited a special issue of Critical Studies in Improvisation with Dr. Rebecca Caines that focused on Improvisation and Hip-Hop. At VIU, he is the Artistic Director of the “Writers on Campus” (Nanaimo) series, and he is involved with both the MeTA lab in Nanaimo and the Innovation Lab in Cowichan where he recently built a sound lab. Paul has a longstanding history with ICASP/IICSI, and brings institutional knowledge from his past experiences and project implementations.