Tao Leigh Goffe

Assistant Professor


Tao Leigh Goffe is a tenure-track assistant professor of literary theory and cultural history. She has held a joint appointment between the Department of Africana Studies and Program in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Cornell University since 2019. She is also an award-winning writer and a sound artist specializing in the narratives that emerge from transatlantic and transpacific histories of imperialism, migration, and globalization. She is affiliated with Performing and Media Arts, English, and Media Studies at Cornell. She has taught classes for Cornell Tech, Architecture School, and Global Migrations initiative (Einaudi Center).

She received her bachelor’s degree in English literature from Princeton University and an MA, MPhil, and PhD from Yale University. She has held research positions at Princeton University, New York University, Johns Hopkins University, and Leiden University in the Netherlands. 

She is the PI of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Grant in collaboration with PI- Dr. Eddie Bruce-Jones as part of a transnational grant with the UK-government funded AHRC, called Towards an Integrated Colonial Archive. Her research and community-engaged initiatives have been supported by the Mellon Foundation, the Ruth Foundation, and the New Museum where Dr. Goffe is a member of their art and technology incubator.

At the intersections of the environmental humanities and science and technology studies, her interdisciplinary research and creative practice examines the unfolding relationship between technology, cultural memory, and nature. She leads the Dark Laboratory and Afro-Asia Group to cultivate transformative creative and theoretical engagement on racial justice and future coalition building. Her writing has been published in South Atlantic Quarterly, New York Magazine, Small AxeWomen and Performance, Amerasia Journal, and Asian Diasporic Visual Cultures and the Americas.

She is at work on a book on the economics and culture of the plantation called Black Capital, Chinese Debt. Her second book After Eden is a manifesto on climate and racial justice under contract with Doubleday in the US and Hamish Hamilton (Penguin UK). Other book projects include research on digital technology and Black feminist DJ culture. 


Dr. Goffe has given invited lectures at the Guggenheim, Harvard University, the National Archive of the Netherlands, the bell hooks Institute in Kentucky, the Boys Club of New York, Brown University, University of London, UCL, Princeton University, and the California College of the Arts. She has given keynotes at the AGU national conference in Geoscience and diversity, at UCLA in performance studies, and on mangrove epistemologies at Stanford Global Studies. She has done workshops and commissioned work at Google Headquarters in NY, and for Apple, and Hulu.

Research Focus

  • Environmental Humanities
  • Science and Technology Studies
  • Poetics and Philosophies of the Caribbean
  • Media Studies 
  • Sound Technologies and Infrastructures
  • Intellectual Genealogies 
  • Afro-Asia
  • Afropean Studies
  • Gender and Sexuality Studies


Selected Peer Reviewed Publications

  1. “Dirge: Black and Indigenous Hemispheric Burial, a Sound Sculpture,” ASAP / Journal, 2022.
  2. “The World We Became: MapQuest 2350: A Speculative Design Digital Atlas Beyond Climate Crisis,” Asian Diasporic Visual Cultures in the Americas, 2022.
  3. “Stolen Life, Stolen Time: Black Temporality and Racial Capitalism as Speculation,” South Atlantic Quarterly, January 2022. Special Issue on Black Temporality and Crisis.
  4. “I’m New Here: Black and Indigenous Media Ecologies,” Refract: A Visual Studies Journal.
  5. “Unmapping the Caribbean: Toward a Digital Praxis of Archipelagic Sounding,” archipelagoes, December 2020.
  6. “Bigger than the Sound: Jamaican Chinese Infrastructure of Reggae," Small Axe, November 2020.
  7. “Chop Suey Surplus: Chinese Food, Sex, and the Political Economy of Afro-Asia,” Women & Performance: A Journal in Feminist Theory, August 2020.
  8. "‘Guano in their destiny’: Race, Geology, and a Philosophy of Indenture," Amerasia Journal, June 2019.
  9. “Sugarwork: The Gastropoetics of Afro-Asia After the Plantation,” Asian Diasporic Visual Cultures and the Americas, April, 2019.
  10. "Albums of Inclusion: The Photographic Poetics of Caribbean Chinese Visual Kinship," Small Axe, 56, July 2018.
  11. “007 versus the Darker Races: Black and Yellow Peril in Dr. No,” Anthurium: A Caribbean Studies Journal, 2015.
  12. “Intimate Occupations: The Afterlife of the ‘Coolie’” Transforming Anthropology, 22 (1), 2014.

Reviews and Curatorial Writing


“Afro-Asian Feminist Art: Futurist Genealogies,” Asia Art Archive, October 2022.

“Silence as Fermentation: Listening Underwater,” Shift Space, (March 2022).

“The Poetics of Afro-Asian Cuisine,” “Recipe for Vegan Jamaican Patties,” Black Food, ed. Bryant Terry, October 2021.

“Andrea Chung’s Ornate Collages Defy the Colonial Gaze by Celebrating Black Women’s Friendships,” Artsy, October 2021.

“Sounding South Asian, Sounding Black: The Sonic Politics of Appreciation or Appropriation,” Black Perspectives, AAIHS, October 2021.

“Scratching the Photograph’s Surface: An Afro-Chinese Woman in 1950s London,” The Other Windrush, Pluto Press, June 2021. 

“On Being Prone in the Archive: Black British Erotic Power and Sexual Healing,” Inward Outward, National Archives of the Netherlands, December 10, 2020.

“Human Resources: Art’s History and the Ecology of Black Extraction,” British Art Studies, Yale Center for British Art and the Paul Mellon Centre, November 30, 2020

Global Debt Syllabus, “Debt Peonage and Prisons,” Contributor, Columbia University, 2020.

Exhibition Review of “Relational Undercurrents, Asian Diasporic Visual Cultures and the Americas, April 2019.

Entangled Genealogies of Women’s Work,” essay on the artwork of Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons, as part of the exhibition catalogue for Women’s Work, Pen and Brush, April 2019.

Dress-Up Play,” essay on the Photography of Ming Smith, as part of the exhibition Race, Art, Myth, and Justice, CCADI, November 2018- June 2019.

Caribbean Debt Syllabus, “Intimate Bonds and Bonded Labor: Indenture and Debt Peonage in the Caribbean,” #NoMoreDebt, Contributor, Unit 4, October 2018.

Review of Wildlife of the Caribbean, Caribbean Quarterly, March 2018.

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