Matthew Chin

Assistant Professor of Women Gender & Sexuality Studies

212 Levering Hall
PO Box 400172
Charlottesville, VA 22904

Office Hours: Fall 2023: On Research Leave for the 2023-24 academic year

Matthew Chin is an interdisciplinary scholar of race, history, gender, and sexuality trained in Anthropology and Social Work. His book project Fractal Repair: Queer Histories of Modern Jamaica (forthcoming 2024, Duke University Press) proposes queer fractals as theory and method of history making.  Queer fractals synthesizes Caribbean and North Atlantic genealogies of “queer” – to reference raced, gendered, and sexual alterity – and weds it to the concept of fractals – a kind of geometry in which patterns repeat inexactly. This focus on geometry unsettles the centrality of arithmetic in shaping reparative impulses of history making that rely on practices of enumeration that erase, objectify, and violate subaltern subjects. The recursive nature of fractal geometry highlights looping temporalities that sidestep linear, progressive notions of liberation and freedom. Queer Fractals thus proposes a politics of reparations that extends existing discourses of "overcoming the past" and calculating economic compensation for survivors of violence. Fractal Repair is a winner of Duke University Press Scholar of Color First Book Award.

Chin’s work has been published in Public Culture, Interventions, Time & Society, Small Axe, Cultural Studies <-> Critical Methodologies, and Journal of Homosexuality. His research has been funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and supported by fellowships in the Department of Sociology at Columbia University, the Center for Sexuality, Race, and Gender Justice at the University of Kent, and the Center for Black, Brown, and Queer Studies.

Part of Chin’s research involves examining the efforts of Jamaica’s Gay Freedom Movement (GFM), the first self-proclaimed gay activist organization in the Anglophone Caribbean that existed between 1977-1984. Building on the earlier work of the Caribbean International Resource Network, he has helped to construct a digital archive of GFM materials that is now available on the Digital Library of the Caribbean. He also coordinated an online event to launch the digitization of entire corpus of GFM’s newsletter the Jamaica Gaily News that included a panel of former GFM members.  

He received his BA in International Development Studies and Anthropology from the University of Toronto and his MSW, MA (Anthropology), and PhD in Anthropology and Social Work from the University of Michigan.

Select Publications

Chin, M. (2022). Queering Chinese Crossings in Late Twentieth Century Jamaica: Larry Chang and the Gay Freedom Movement. Interventions, 24 (8), 1309-1327. 

Chin, M. (2020). Antihomosexuality and Nationalist Critique in Late Colonial Jamaica: Revisiting the 1951 Police Enquiry. Small Axe, 24(3), 81-96. 

Chin, M. (2019). Tracing “gay liberation” through postindependence Jamaica. Public Culture, 31(2), 323-341.