Associate Professor of Comparative Literature
Ph.D. Cornell University, 2005
Ballantine Hall 906
I am an African writer and scholar. My first novel, Roots in the Sky, 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 an African 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 new 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. Other recent publications include:
“Anticipating Nollywood: Lagos circa 1996,” Social Dynamics 37: 1 (2011), 96-110.
“Notes Toward a Hypothetical Film Practice,” in Udo Kittelmann, Chika Okeke-Agulu and Brittan Schmitz (eds.), Who Knows Tomorrow, Koln, Germany: Walther König, 2010, 421-432.
“Baldwin, Paris, and the ‘conundrum of Africa’,” Textual Practice 23: 1 (2009), 73-97.
For samples of my recent short fiction, see:
“Knocking Tommy’s Hustle”