Wesleyan portrait of Ren  Ellis Neyra

Ren Ellis Neyra

Associate Professor of English

Downey House, 294 High Street, 217

Associate Professor, African American Studies

Coordinator, Social, Cultural, and Critical Theory


BA Freed Hardeman College
PHD SUNY at Stony Brook

Ren Ellis Neyra

Professor Ellis Neyra writes about and teaches Caribbean, African diaspora, and Latinx literary studies (focusing especially on poetry, music, and cinema), as well as literary and critical theory. Ellis Neyra is the author of The Cry of the Senses: Listening to Latinx and Caribbean Poetics (Duke University Press, 2020), which was awarded Honorable Mention for the 2022 Outstanding Book Award of the Latinx Studies Section of the Latin American Studies Association (LASA). 

Ellis Neyra is as interested in the possibilities for thought that emerge when reading texts closely, slowly, and resistantly, as in quandaries, impasses, and impossibilities that emerge at the limits of reading. Ellis Neyra has additional interests in deconstruction, Third Cinema, Cine Imperfecto, and translation. At Wesleyan, Ellis Neyra is currently the Coordinator of the Social, Cultural, and Critical Theory Certificate and hosts scholarly talks and events in its name, relevant to questions of theory today. In 2021, Ellis Neyra co-organized the Earth, World, Ethics serial symposium hosted by the Center for the Humanities.

Some recent publications include: "The Question of Ethics in the Semiotics of Brownness" (sx salon); "White Mythologies," a response essay to the the invited, special book forum in Small Axe Journal about The Cry of the Senses; and an interview with Black Agenda Report's Book Forum editor. As a writer, Ellis Neyra publishes scholarly essays, as well as art reviews, and poetry. Invited and/or peer-edited articles or book chapters are published or forthcoming in: Radical Formalisms (Eds. Mario Talo and Sarah Nooter, Bloomsbury 2023), differences, Modern Philology, Radical History Review's online organ The Abusable PastSmall Axe, sx salon, and Obsidian: Literature and Arts in the African DiasporaPeer-reviewed articles have appeared in: Journal of Popular Music Studies, The Cambridge Companion to Queer Studies, Habana Elegante, and Sargasso: A Journal of Caribbean Literature and Culture. "Public facing" criticism, art writing, and interviews have appeared in: Public BooksARTFORUM, BOMB magazine, ASAP/Journal, and Terremoto magazine. Ellis Neyra's debut book of poetry, Meteor Shower/ Días Sin Shower (2017), and a co-edited, collaborative volume of text and images, Caribbean Cautionary Tales (2017), were both edited by and published with La Impresora Press, San Juan, Puerto Rico; poems in English and Spanish translation have appeared in La Gaceta de CubaWomen & Performance JournalSargasso, and elsewhere.

Three new book projects are underway: a manuscript currently titled "Re-reading: The Violence of Relation"; another ms. about the long and violent history of representations of sovereignty in Caribbean literature, for which Ellis Neyra began doing archival research as a John Carter Brown fellow at Brown University in 2020; and a third project about representations of the Kardashians, the Bobbitts, and American domesticity.

Academic Affiliations

Office Hours

Fall 2023 Office Hours: MW 12.30-1.30. 

Schedule meetings here. In-person meetings will be the default this semester (Downey 217) and Zoom meetings if you're symptomatic. Please email me with enough lead time to make the Zoom link if that is the responsible way for us to meet, and I'll gladly do so.

Students: Note, *I do not hold "drop-in" hours* in general. You are welcome to schedule a meeting via Calendly and come prepared to discuss topics relevant to course studies, writing assignments, and conceptual questions emergent from course readings.

Students who would like to discuss questions about graduate school and academic planning, please email me at rellisneyra [at] wesleyan.edu to schedule a time-appropriate meeting for these important intellectual and professional matters.

The professor encourages students experiencing medical, psychological, and/or emotional events to use the appropriate resources (i.e., mutual aid, medical expertise, somatic and/or spirtual guidance) on campus and in the world for such important, sometimes political, and deeply private matters. Please note that the professor is not trained to offer these resources in any professional capacity.


Fall 2023
ENGL 141F - 01
Revolutionary Rupture (FYS)

ENGL 301 - 01
1492: States of War