Academic Articles and Book Chapters

"'Five Dusky Phantoms': Gothic Form and Cosmopolitan Shipwreck in Melville's Moby-Dick," Studies in American Fiction (Spring 2017): 1-26.

Winner of the Melville Society's annual Hennig Cohen award for "for the best article, book chapter, or essay in a book about Herman Melville" in 2017.

Here is the prize committee's comment on the essay:

"Tricker’s compelling analysis of the figure of the Malay in Moby-Dick richly complicates the continuing inquiry into Melville’s literary engagement with racialization and imperialism. Combining biopolitical theory with archival research, Tricker surveys portrayals of the composite, fictive “Malay” – alternatively, “Lascar” or “Manilla-man”– in antebellum print culture. Itself “a product of scientific racism,” the term “Malay,” came to refer to different groups of maritime contract laborers from South Asia and the Asian Pacific. Much as the menacing Fedallah supplants the amiable Queequeg in Moby-Dick, Tricker suggests, Melville’s gothic figuration of the former disrupts the promising global community represented by the latter. “Rather than symptomatically expressing the racial anxieties of America’s collective unconscious,” Tricker demonstrates, “Melville’s Gothic itself constructs Malays as symbols of irreclaimable communitarian exception who pose a unique threat to projections of cosmopolitan futurity.” Culminating in a brilliant reading of Manilla rope in “The Line,” Tricker’s fascinating, ambitious essay recontextualizes race across the Pacific. His analysis of how Melville’s Pacific Gothic “vision of contested global futurity registers the vanishing point at which humanist desires and racial antagonisms dissonantly converge” initiates a radical reassessment of race in Melville’s fiction."

"Respite on the Brink: Complicating the Crisis of Caribbean Identity in Andrew Salkey's Escape to an Autumn Pavement," Diasporic Identities and Empire: Cultural Contentions and Literary Landscapes, ed. Anastasia Nicéphore and David Brooks, (Cambridge Scholars, Jan 2013), 138-56.

A study of the Jamaican-Panamanian author's second novel, this essay synthesizes postcolonial theory, Marxist feminist theory, Black diaspora studies, and queer theory to illustrate the liminality of exilic Caribbean identity in the era of Post-WWII decolonization. I presented an early version of the essay at the British Commonwealth and Postcolonial Studies Conference in February 2013.

Selected Journalism


"Wonder: The Photos of Stephanie Chernikowski," PopMatters, October 28, 2009

[The Village Voice and New York Times photographer discusses her years photographing the New York Downtown Scene, including such luminaries as Jean-Michel Basquiat, the Sex Pistols' Sid Vicious, Nico, and Big Star's Alex Chilton.]

"Re-Pressed Music," Elmore, March 1, 2009

[This feature takes a look at small reissue labels, illuminating their role in preserving American musical history. It includes interviews with SIRIUS/XM DJ Justin Gage (founder of the blog Aquarium Drunkard and Autumn Tone Records), Josh Rosenthal (Tompkins Square Records), Roger Maglio (Gear Fab Records), and Luke Mosling (Porter Records).]

"Orphans and Vandals," PopMatters, September 2, 2008

[An interview feature with Orphans and Vandals: the short-lived, magnificent London band. Singer and songwriter Al Joshua discusses songs from the group's lone album, I Am Alive and You Are Dead, whose sprawling, ten-minute centerpiece "Mysterious Skin" pays tribute to the nineteenth-century French poet Arthur Rimbaud.]


Review of Brotherman (Original Soundtrack) (The Final Solution, Numero), PopMatters, October 14, 2008

[The unfortunately-named Chicago group Final Solution, led by songwriter/guitarist Carl Wolfolk, created a lost classic in this original soundtrack to the abandoned 1975 blaxploitation film Brotherman. For fans of Isaac Hayes's Shaft (1971), Curtis Mayfield's Superfly (1972), and Marvin Gaye's Trouble Man (1972).]

Review of The Coral Sea (Patti Smith and Kevin Shields, Pask), PopMatters, July 9, 2008

[A review of the double-album, which contains two separate live performances of Smith's poetic tribute to her late friend photographer Robert Mapplethorpe (1946-1989). Kevin Shields of the Irish band My Bloody Valentine accompanies Smith on these two distinct and moving performances, which were recorded at London's Queen Elizabeth Hall in 2005 and 2006.]

For more of my writings on pop culture from 2008-10 visit PopMatters