I’m delighted to announce the publication of African Literatures as World Literature, an essay volume that I’ve co-edited with Madhu Krishnan. It is part of Bloomsbury Academic’s “Literature as World Literature” series, and features pieces by a number of scholars and writers in the field of African literatures. The full contents list is below and you can find more information about the book here.
1. Introduction: African Literatures and the Problem of ‘the World’
Alexander Fyfe (University of Georgia, USA) and Madhu Krishnan (University of Bristol, UK)
2. ‘African Borders Are Unnatural’: Nairobi and the Rise of a World Literature
Bhakti Shringarpure (University of Connecticut, USA)
3. Can Nairobi ‘World’ without the ‘Great Kenyan Novel’?
Billy Kahora (University of Bristol, UK)
4. The Problem with French and the World: Imagining the Province and the Global in Francophone African Fiction
Sarah Arens (University of Liverpool, UK)
5. The First Ethiopian Novel in Amharic (1908) and the World: Critical and Theoretical Legacies
Sara Marzagora (King’s College London, UK)
6. The Kaiser, Angoche and the World at Large: Swahili Poetry from Mozambique as World (War) Literature
Clarissa Vierke (University of Bayreuth, Germany) and Chapane Mutiua (Universidade Eduardo Mondlane, Mozambique)
7. Early Sesotho, isiXhosa and isiZulu Novels as World Literature
Ashleigh Harris (Uppsala University, Sweden)
8. African Multilingualism as an Asset in World Literature: A Case against Cultural Conformity and Uniformity
Munyao Kilolo (Writer, Editor and Journalist, Kenya)
9. New Cartographies for World Literary Space: Locating Pan-African Publishing and Prizing
Zamda R. Geuza (University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania) and Kate Wallis (University of Exeter, UK)
10. Aké Festival and the African World Stage
Lola Shoneyin (Poet and Novelist, Nigeria)
11. Contemporary African Literature and Celebrity Capital
Doseline Kiguru (University of Bristol, UK)
12. Reversing the Global Media Lens: Colonial Spectacularization in the Writing of Binyavanga Wainaina
Penny Cartwright (University of Bristol, UK)
13. The Facts at the Heart of the Matter: Character and Objectivity in the Making of the Fante Intelligentsia
Jeanne-Marie Jackson (Johns Hopkins University, USA)
After a good stint in preprint, my article on Fiston Mwanza Mujila’s Tram 83 has now been placed the latest issue of Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction. You can find it here.
Social Dynamics has published my article on the literary blogger Ikhide R. Ikheloa and the questions that his work raises for the academic field of African literary studies. You can view the abstract and read the full essay here.
I will be presenting at several conferences in the coming months, all of which have been moved online.
Modern Language Association, 7-10 Jan (on teaching Amos Tutuola as part of a decolonized syllabus)
British Commonwealth and Postcolonial Studies Conference, 15-19 Feb (on Gabriel Okara and the question of the human)
American Comparative Literature Association, 8-11 April (the paper that I was scheduled to present at last year’s canceled conference on the poetry of Susan Kiguli)
African Literature Association, 26-29 May (presenting a paper on Okara and part of a panel discussion on “Career Trajectories and the Job Market in African Literary Studies”)
African Identities has now published a double issue that I have guest-edited on the intersections between Marxism and African literatures. Inspired by George M. Gugelberger’s well-known 1985 volume, Marxism and African Literature, the issue aims to explore and highlight the myriad connections between Marxist thought and the field of African literary studies.
It has been wonderful to work on this project over the last two years with a number of terrific scholars and I’m really pleased with the final result. In addition to my introduction, the issue includes essays by John Masterson, Hayley Toth & Brendon Nicholls, Peter Maurits, Amy Riddle, Adam Mayer, Thomas Waller, Mugo Muhia, Brahim El Guabli, and Aaron Bartels-Swindells. Neil Lazarus also contributed a very insightful Afterword. You can find the full issue on the African Identities website here.
I will be presenting at the ACLA meeting in Chicago (March 19 – 22), where I’m on a fantastic panel called “Poetics from the Global South,” organized by Nathan Suhr-Sytsma and Ryan Topper.
I will also be at the EACLALS (European Association for Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies) conference in Cardiff (May 18 – 22) and the African Literature Association meeting in Washington DC (May 27 – June 1).
UPDATE 4/19: All three of these events have been canceled or postponed due to Covid-19. Many thanks to the organizers for their hard work. I very much hope to be able to attend next year’s iterations.
My latest article, “The Archival Politics of the Postcolonial Writer’s Collection: A Case Study in Literary Value and Amos Tutuola,” has been published by Ariel and can be found on Project MUSE here. It considers what Amos Tutuola’s collected papers (housed at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin) can tell us about the ways in which postcolonial scholars might productively and responsibly engage with writers’ archives—all via a discussion of the relations between the archive and literary value.
My review of Sylvestre Amoussou’s latest film, L’Orage Africain: Un continent sous influence (2017), is available here on the Cambridge UP website. It will also appear in the print version of African Studies Review within the next few months. As you will see if you read the review, I really enjoyed the film!
This spring I will be attending the British Commonwealth and Postcolonial Studies Conference in Savannah, GA (Feb 15-16) and the ACLA meeting in Washington D.C. (March 7-10), where I will be part of a fantastic seminar organized by Ericka Beckman and Oded Nir on “Peripheral Novels and the History of Capitalism.”
I will also be at the African Literature Association in Ohio in May, where the ALA Graduate Caucus (of which I am currently chair) is hosting several panels and events.
A special issue of the Cambridge Journal of Postcolonial Literary Inquiry that I co-edited with Rosemary Jolly on animisms and theories of the material has recently been published. In addition to our introduction and my own essay on Ben Okri, the issue contains superb articles by Louise Green, Warren Cariou, Alison Ravenscroft, and Alfred J. López. You can find it here.