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History | Marlene Gaynair

Marlene Gaynair

Wilson-Short Hall 313


Ph.D., Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick, 2021
M.A., York University, 2014
B.A. Spec. Hons., York University, 2013


Dr. Marlene Gaynair is a social and cultural historian of the modern Black Atlantic, with specialization in the United States, Canada, and Anglo Caribbean during the long twentieth century. Her research interests cover twentieth century popular culture, identities, citizenship, diasporas, public memory, immigration, transnational studies, cultural studies, business studies, ethnic groups, Black Feminist Thought, and urban histories and spaces.

She is also the architect of “Islands in the North,” an ongoing, interactive, curated digital exhibit (re) creating Black cultural and spatial identities in Toronto. She continues to engage in digital histories and humanities as a way to explore other dimensions of historical scholarship and public engagement.

She is currently working on her book manuscript, which is a comparative transnational study of Jamaicans in Toronto and New York City during the twentieth century. Dr. Gaynair uses “infrapolitics” to examine the social, cultural, and political building of community institutions in both major cities, and how Jamaicans in the diaspora challenged what it meant to be “Black”, “American”, and “Canadian” on a global scale.

Academic and Research Interests


“A Riot Is The Language Of The Unheard: Centering Black Caribbean Voices in Crown Heights.” (Under Review)

“She Wiggled Her Body In The Most Suggestive And Obscene Manner Sexuality And Respectability In The West Indian Labor Day Parade.” Gotham: A Blog for Scholars of New York City History, April 27, 2021.

“Black Women Were Vital to the UK’s Black Power Movement Even Though Guerrilla Doesn’t Show It.” EBONY Magazine, April 12, 2017.

Review of Marcia Chatelain, Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America. “Marcia Chatelain. Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America. New York: Liveright Publishing Corp., 2020. 336 pp. ISBN 978-1-63149-394-2 $28.95 (cloth).” Enterprise & Society, Summer 2022.

Review of Stuart Hall, Familiar Stranger: A Life Between Two Islands. “Stuart Hall: ‘Familiar Stranger’ of the Black Atlantic.” Black Perspectives, African American Intellectual History Society, July 6, 2018.