Associate Professor of Comparative Literature
Ph.D. Cornell University, 2005
Ballantine Hall 906
I am a Nigerian writer and scholar. My first novel, Roots in the Sky (Festac Books), was published in 2004. My research interests are in twentieth- and twenty-first century African and African American/African Diaspora literatures and cultures, global postcoloniality, African cinema and contemporary global cinemas, postcolonial intellectual history, nonfictional prose, and literary and cultural theory. As a citizen of an African country, living in the wake of decolonization, and developing political and intellectual consciousness in the context of the demise of Soviet communism and apartheid rule in southern Africa, I am interested in the aesthetic and ethical dimensions of intellectual work. This interest, I might add, has been deepened by my earlier career as a journalist under military dictatorship in Nigeria, when a means of livelihood doubled as a means of self-expression in an aesthetically satisfying but politically risky sense. Now living and working in postnational United States as an expatriated African, I engage in research, teaching, and writing diversely preoccupied with “the poetics of engaged expatriation.” This is the development of a style suited to the apprehension of an intellectual or social figure whose publics are present but scattered, whose subject is visible in its density, simultaneously resisting and courting representation because s/he does not simply inhabit the primary context of that work. I have attempted a preliminary exploration of this “poetics” in an essay on the cinema of the Malian/Mauritanian filmmaker, Abderrahmane Sissako, published in Screen, the journal of cinema, in 2010.
My latest book, Postcolonial Artists and Global Aesthetics (Indiana University Press, 2011), is a multi-disciplinary work which explores the generic and cultural consequences of globalization by focusing on some conceptual patterns in Nollywood, African cinema, and postcolonial writings. My recent publications include:
“A Lagosian Original: Preliminary Notes on the Speech of the Street,” in Aderonke Adesola Adesanya and Toyin Falola (eds.), Art, Parody and Politics: Dele Jegede’s Creative Activism, Nigeria and the Transnational Space,” Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 2013, 155-167.
“New African Writing and the Question of Audience,” Research in African Literatures, 43: 3 (2012), 1-20.
“Nollywood and the Idea of the Nigerian Cinema,” Journal of African Cinemas, 4: 1 (2012), 81-98.
For samples of my recent short fiction, see:
Monumental Shortcomings of Plastic”, Mail and Guardian, 2011-2012, 24-25
“Knocking Tommy’s Hustle”
Recent courses taught:
CMLT-C670: Biopolitics and Postcolonial Discourse
CMLT-C361: African Literature and Other Arts
CMLT-C291: African Cinema and Politics
CMLT-C318: Introduction to Satire
CMLT-C301: Cosmopolitans and Refugees
New Media and Literary Initiatives in Africa (NEMLIA)
A faculty-led initiative affiliated with Indiana University’s African Studies Program, NEMLIA is a project dedicated to exploring the important-but-little-understood relationships between the different modes of literary and media production in literature, film, photography, art, and music and issues of intellectual property, copyright, piracy and access. For details, go to: