Toni Pressley-Sanon

A photo of Toni Pressley-Sanon

Associate Professor of Africology and African American Studies

Africology and African American Studies

614L Pray Harrold


[email protected]


  • Ph.D., African Languages and Literature (minor in Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian studies), University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • MA, liberal studies and anthropology,  New School for Social Research
  • BA, Comparative Literature (minor in African-American Studies), Hamilton College

Interests and Expertise

Her work dwells on the intersections of memory, history and cultural production in both Africa and the African diaspora.

Publications and Presentations

  • Lifting As They Climb: Black Women Buddhists and Collective Liberation (Forthcoming, Shambhala Publications, February 2024)
  • Istwa across the Water: Haitian History, Memory, and the Cultural Imagination (Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida, 2017) Honorable Mention, Latin American Studies Association Isis Duarte Book Prize (2018)
  • Zombifying a Nation: Race, Gender and the Haitian Loas on Screen (McFarland Press, 2016)
  • The Haitian Peasantry through Oral and Written Literature: Roumain, Alexis, Endore, Carpentier, and Fountain (Caribbean Studies Press, 2016)
  • Raoul Peck: Power, Politics, and the Cinematic Imagination, co-editor (Lexington Books, 2016)
Peer-Reviewed Journal Publications
  • “Of Bosal and Kongo: Exploring the Evolution of the Vernacular in Contemporary Haiti.” Ufahamu: A Journal of African Studies 41.1 (2018): 47-64.
  • "Reading the Spirits in Julia Alvarez's A Wedding in Haiti." Tesserae: Journal of Iberian and Latin American Studies 23.2 (2017): 233-254.
  • "'Addressing the Negro Problem': Rethinking the 'Coon' and the 'Mammy' in King of the Zombies and Revenge of the Zombies." Black Camera: An International Film Journal 8.1 (Fall 2016): 27-54.
  • "Wounds Seen and Unseen: The Workings of Trauma in Raoul Peck's Haitian Corner and Edwidge Danticat's The Dew Breaker." Journal of Haitian Studies vol. 22, no. 1 (Fall, 2016): 40–66.
  • "'A Lion at Pendleton': Charles Johnson's Reimagining of a Moment." Obsidian: Literature and Arts of the African Diaspora 41.12 (Spring, 2016): 195208.
  • "The Fight for the Nation in Arnold Antonin's Zombi candidat à la présidence ... ou les amours d'un zombi." Sites: Contemporary French and Francophone Studies. Special Issue, Eds. Martin Munro and Charles Forsdick. 19. 3 (June, 2015): 284292.
  • "Haitian (Pre)Occupations: Ideology and Discursive Repetitions: 1915-1934 and 2004 to Present" Caribbean Studies Journal (JuneDecember, 2014): 115153.
  • "Up Through the Cracks: Raoul Peck's Moloch Tropical and the Ghosts of Haitian History." Cultural Dynamics (November, 2014): 127.
  • "Watching You Watching Me: The Work of the Gaze in Two Dany Laferrière Films." Quarterly Review of Film and Video, 31:6 (2014): 597610.
  • "Witnessing as Revolutionary Praxis in Raoul Peck's Films." Black Camera: An International Film Journal. 5.1 (October, 2013): 3455.
  • "One Plus One Equals Three: Marasa Consciousness, the Lwa and Three Stories." Research in African Literatures, 44.3 (Fall, 2013):118137.
  • "Exile, Return, Ouidah, and Haiti: Vodun's Workings on the Art of Edouard Duval-Carrié." African Arts Journal. 46.3 (August, 2013): 4053.
  • "Lucid Cameras: Imaging Haiti After the Earthquake." Journal of Haitian Studies. 17.2 (Fall, 2011): 631.
  • "Raoul Peck's The Man by the Shore": Orality, Film and Repression." Critical Interventions: Journal of African Art History and Visual Culture. No. 8 (Fall, 2011): 154168.
  • "Acting Out: Performing Memory of the Slave Trade in Ouidah, Benin Republic." Journal of Pan-African Studies, 4.5 (September, 2011): 5779
Other Journal Publications
  • "Imagining the Unimaginable: Visual Art and Memory in Ouidah, Benin Republic." Africa e Mediterraneo: Cultura e Societa, 67.1 (2009): 3438.
Book Chapters
  • “Looking for Transwonderland: Noo Saro-Wiwa’s Migration of the Heart” in The Contemporary African Migration Narrative, Eds. Cajetan Iheka and Jack Taylor. Rochester: University of Rochester Press, 2018: 160-172.
  • “Under the Photographer’s Gaze.” in Remembrance. After the Quake / Re-Mémoire. Après le Séisme, eds. Claudine Michel, Nadège Clitandre, Marlène Racine-Toussaint, and Florence Bellande Robertson. UCSB Center for Black Studies Research, 2017: 223-228. 
  • Lòt Bò and Anba Dlo: The Dialectics of Raoul Peck’s Désounen: Dialogue with Death” in Raoul Peck: Power, Politics and the Cinematic Imagination, eds. Toni Pressley-Sanon and Sophie Saint-Just. Lantham: Lexington Books, 2015: 217-231.
Published Artwork
  • "Sacred Stillness" ProudFlesh: Body Politics: Representations and the Impact of Black Women in Music. Ed. Cherise Charleswell (Forthcoming Fall, 2016)
  • Cover Art as well as several works within the journal, ProudFlesh: New Afrikan Journal of Culture, Politics and Consciousness. Issue 8. Ed. Opal Palmer Adisa, October, 2013.
  • World Literature Today. University of Oklahoma, May/June Vol. 89, No. 3 (2013): 36, 3940.

You can find some of her reviews of African and African diasporic literature at Alligator Woods.