I am a Professor and Chair of English at Vancouver Island University. I am also a research team member with the International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation (IICSI). At VIU, I am the Artistic Director of the “Writers on Campus” (Nanaimo) series, and I am involved with the Innovation Lab in Cowichan where I recently built a sound lab. I am a settler of Anglo-Indian (British and South Asian), French Canadian, and mixed European Ancestry. You can view my current course offerings in the teaching menu pulldown at the top of the page.

My areas of interest are CanLit (with a focus on Black Canadian literature), Indigenous literatures, jazz and improvisation, African American literature, graphic novels, Digital Humanities, intersections between music and poetry, hip-hop, DJing, and film. My SSHRC-supported doctoral dissertation is being reworked into a book entitled, SOUNDIN’ CANAAN: Black Canadian Poetry, Music, and Multicultural Citizenship, and is under advanced contract with a tentative 2024 release.

I’ve published reviews and articles on multiculturalism, hip-hop, Canadian poetry, jazz and improvisation, with a paper in Critical Studies in Improvisation titled, “Disruptive Dialogics: Improvised Dissonance in Thelonious Monk and Wu-Tang Clan’s 36 Chambers.” My paper on jazz poetics in Dionne Brand’s Ossuaries was published in a special issue of MaComère. My most recent publications include a paper on remix, DJing, and digital humanities published in The Routledge Handbook of Remix Studies and Digital Humanities and a paper on the poetry of Wayde Compton and Vancouver’s historically Black community of Hogan’s Alley in Unsettling the Great White North. Forthcoming is a paper on music and sound in David Lynch’s Twin Peaks for a special issue publication on the mysterious world of Twin Peaks.

I maintain a blog, Riffings, and have written reviews for The Toronto Review of Books, The Bull Calf, Lemon HoundThe Malahat Review, and Canadian Literatureamong others. I was also a guest editor with Dr. Rebecca Caines on a special issue of Critical Studies in Improvisation focused on Improvisation and Hip-Hop.

Aside from my academic work, this site serves as a space to occasionally showcase projects, events, reviews, poetry, and music. My DJ projects, Dedications (2013) and Dedications II (2019), as well as my latest, Portals (2020), are available for FREE download.

Dedications Cover
Dedications I and II

Send me an email: pauldbwatkins@gmail.com
Bio Photo by Sam Van Hell.