Wider academic work
Juanita gained her PhD in the Department of African Studies and Anthropology (formerly the Centre of West African Studies), University of Birmingham, in 2013, and is a winner of the prestigious RE Bradbury Memorial Prize. Her particular expertise lies in post-colonial literature and particularly in 20th-century Anglophone-Caribbean literature, as well as oral history interviewing.
She is the editor of Creole Chips and Other Writings, a compendium of Edgar Mittelholzer’s uncollected writings, and has also written introductions to novels and chapters to collections, and published essays. She has given prestigious key note lectures including in Guyana at the XXVIII Annual West India Literature Conference (2009) on ‘Corentyne Thunder: A Quiet Revolution’; at St Agnes College in India (2019), ‘Crossing Borders of Nations and Self: Migration and Migrant Literature in Theory and Practice’, and more recently at the Oral History Society’s Annual Conference (July 2022) on ‘When Home is a Hostile Environment: Voices of the Windrush Generation and their Descendants’.
In October 2021 she organised an online conference with Dr Elizabeth Williams and Dr Angelina Osbourne, ‘Ain’t I a Woman – The Black Woman in a Historical and Commonwealth Context. The conference, aimed primarily at aspiring young black female scholars, attracted more papers than could be accommodated over the two-day period and an audience of over 200 per day.
She was previously a part-time tutor at the London Metropolitan University teaching the components of two modules: ‘The Modern Caribbean’ and ‘The Making of the Caribbean’. Topics included: ‘Post-Emancipation Society – The Plantocracy and the Freed People, 1838 to ca. 1900’; Origins of Indians in British Guiana and Trinidad’; The Roots of Rastafari in Jamaica; Black People in Britain – The 18th Century Presence; England & Slavery; and Britain’s 1919 Race Riots.
In addition to her scholarly work, Juanita is co-founder of the ground-breaking series Guyana SPEAKS. Founded in 2017, it is an education and networking forum that is now a key monthly event in the calendar of the London-based Guyanese diaspora as well as those joining internationally via zoom.
Juanita is a trustee on the board of the Oral History Society. In line with her commitment to social development in Guyana, she is also a trustee for the Robinson Trust. The fund enables applicants of Arawak/Lokono and Carib descent in Dominica and Guyana to pursue further education and/or community projects.
She was appointed a Judge on the panel of the Guyana Prize for Literature in July 2011 and is a member of a small group of mixed heritage creative writers, Third Space. She has published collections of poetry including in The New Daughters of Africa (ed. Margaret Busby), In Search of Mami Wata (ed. Michelle Asantewa) and Songs of Yemaya (ed. Nichelle Marie Calhoun).