Keja Valens

Professional Details

Title Professor
Department English
Office Meier Hall 104D
Phone 978.542.7050
Resume Keja Valens
Photo of Keja Valens

Recent and Upcoming Courses

ENG 708 Native American Literature
ENG 709 Literature of the American Dream
ENG 715 Topics in Digital Studies
ENG 725 Introduction to Graduate Studies in Literature I
ENG 875 Directed Study
ENG 880 Internship in College Pedagogy
ENG 994 Portfolio Capstone
ENG 998 Thesis Capstone
ENL 110 Foundations of Writing
ENL 253 Multiethnic American Literature
ENL 290 Fictions of Gender & Sexualiity
ENL 352 U.s. Latinx Literature
ENL 354 Native American Literature
ENL 366 The Caribbean Experience in Literature
ENL 390 Introduction to Literary Criticism and Theory
ENL 460 Postcolonial Literature
IDS 600H Honors Seminar I
IDS 601H Honors Seminar II

Professional Biography

Keja Valens received her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Harvard University in 2004.  She has been at Salem State University since 2005 where she is currently Professor of English.  

Professional Interests

Keja Valens teaches and writes on Caribbean literature, literatures of the Americas, feminisms, literary and queer theory, and food writing.


Graduate Coordinator, MA in English, Salem State University 

Selected Publications


Querying Consent: Beyond Permission and Refusal.  Ed. with Jordana Greenblatt.  Rutgers UP, 2018.

A Barbara Johnson Reader.  Ed. with Melissa Feuerstein, Bill Johnson González, and Lili Porten.  Durham, NC: Duke UP, 2014.

Desire between Women in Caribbean Literature.  New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.

Passing Lines: Sexuality and Immigration. Ed. with Bradley Epps and Bill Johnson González. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 2005.



“Barbara Johnson.”  Oxford Bibliographies of Literary and Critical Theory, 2019.

“Travesti and Trans Activism in Latin America and the Caribbean.” Global Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer History. Eds. Howard Chiang (editor in chief), Anjali Arondekar, Marc Epprecht, Jennifer Evans, Ross Forman, Hanadi al-Samman, Emily Skidmore, Zeb Tortorici. Cengage Learning, 2018.   

 “Consent and the Limits of Abuse.”  Querying Consent: beyond permission and refusal.  Eds Jordana Greenblatt and Keja Valens.  Rutgers UP, 2018.

“Intertwining Ambivalence, Multiplicity, and Contingency: A Review of Kaisa Ilmonen’s Queer Rebellion in the Novels of Michelle CliffSQS Journal 12.1-2 (2018): 68-70.   

“A Little Puerto Rican Food Culture…” Sargasso 2016-2017 I & II, pp 3-22.

“Book Review: Enterprising Women: Gender, Race, and Power in the Revolutionary Atlantic by Kit Candlin and Cassandra Pybus,” Journal of Transatlantic Studies, 14.3 (2016).

"Excruciating Improbability and the Transgender Jamaican."  Trans Studies: The Challenge to Hetero/Homo Normativities.  Eds. Yolanda Martinez-San Miguel and Sarah Tobias.  New Jersey: Rutgers UP, 2016. 65-82.

"Book Review: Omise'eke Natasha Tinsley, Theifing Sugar."  Caribbean Vistas 2.1 (Winter, 2014).

“Afro-Caribbean Ghosts,” “Afro-Caribbean Demons,” and “Afro-Caribbean Witches.”  Ashgate Encyclopedia of Literary and Cinematic Monsters.  Ed. Jeffrey Weinstock.  London: Ashgate,  2014.

“Words Matter.” with J.D. Scrimgeour.  African American Review 46.2-3 (Summer/Fall 2013): 461-480.  

Selected Presentations

“Caribbean Eco-poetics.” 37 Annual West Indian Literature Conference, Miami, Florida, October 3-6, 2018.

“Decolonial Ecopoetics and the Human Animal in the Caribbean Environment” Caribbean Studies Association 43rd Annual Conference, Havana, Cuba, June 5-8, 2018.

“Gender Roles.” Post-show discussion, Actors Shakespeare Project’s Julius Caesar, Boston, November 19, 2017.

“Virgin Islands Cookbooks: Extending National Culture.”  Caribbean Studies Association 42nd Annual Conference, Nassau, Bahamas, June 7, 2017. 

“Abundance and Scarcity: Cuban Food Writing in Digital Archives, 1856-2016.”  Digital Caribbean III, Columbia University, New York, December 3, 2016. 

“Accessing Cuban Food Archives, Archiving Access to Food in Cuban, 1856-2016.” 35th Annual West Indian Literature Conference, Montego Bay, Jamaica, Oct. 5-8, 2016.

“Strategic Transitions and Transitional Strategies in Trans Caribbean Fiction.”  American Comparative Literature Association Annual Meeting, Cambridge, MA, March 18, 2016.

“A Little Bit of Puerto Rican Food Culture.”  34th Annual West Indian Literature Conference.  University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico, October 2, 2015.

“Willful Disorders and Disorders of the Will.”  American Comparative Literature Association Annual Meeting, Seattle, March 28, 2015.


Personal Interests

Food, from seed to stomach.