Dr. Keith E. McNeal

Senior Lecturer, Cultural Studies

St. Augustine

Trinidad and Tobago

Telephone: 868-662-2002

I am an anthropologist with specialization in Caribbean ethnology and Atlantic cultural history and a long-term focus on Trinidad and Tobago. My first book—Trance and Modernity in the Southern Caribbean: African and Hindu Popular Religions in Trinidad & Tobago (2011, 2nd ed 2015) is a comparative historical ethnography of African and Hindu traditions of trance performance and spirit mediumship in the southern Caribbean, as well as the postcolonial politics of race, religion, diaspora, nationalism, and multiculturalism. I have also reconstructed the history and politics of Indo-Trinidadian mortuary ritual, including the postcolonial revitalization of pyreside cremation, “Death and the Problem of Orthopraxy in Caribbean Hinduism: Reconsidering the Politics and Poetics of Indo-Trinidadian Mortuary Ritual,” which is the subject of my first documentary film project. I am currently completing a book on men, sexuality, queer globalization and the politics of citizenship in TT, entitled Queering the Citizen: Dispatches from Trinidad and Tobago, in relation to which I have also conducted research in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands and published several papers on queer and trans refugeeism and the political economy of Caribbean asylum-seeking in Europe.  I am also working on a third book project on Trinbagonian Hinduism, The Lotus in the Oil Drum: Anthropocene Hinduism in a Caribbean Petrostate. My research, teaching, and activist interests have been moving steadily in the direction of climate change and the Anthropocene in the Caribbean. Finally, growing out of my engagement with migration and asylum studies, I am also now starting to work on Venezuelan migratory movements and the political economy of im/mobility in the hemisphere in collaboration with an Ecuadorian geographer: https://www.uh.edu/class/ccs/events/2021/symposium-venezuelan-crisis/ and https://uh.edu/class/ccs/events/live/.



  • PhD Anthropology, Emory University
  • MA Anthropology, Emory University
  • BA Religious Studies, Boston University

Research Interests

  • Caribbean ethnology
  • Atlantic history
  • Caribbean religious studies
  • Ritual and performance studies
  • Indian and African diasporas
  • Historical anthropology
  • Person-centered ethnography
  • Queer and Trans studies
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Migration and asylum

Featured Work

Courses Taught

  • CLTR 3101: Race, Nationalism, and Culture
  • CLTR 6281: Post-Graduate Research Seminar

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