My research considers contemporary African writing in the context of transnational literary production. I am particularly interested in the ways in which literary writing contributes to, subverts and is shaped by a broader, a priori image of 'Africa' circulating in a global imaginary. By exploring the contours of representation, in both its aesthetic and sociopolitical facets, my research considers the demarcations of the global and the local in the context of postcolonial writing. My monograph, Contemporary African Literature in English: Global Locations, Postcolonial Identifications explores these issues, drawing on a broad range of African literary works published in Europe, North America and on the continent itself.
I am currently working on a project which considers the performance of space in Anglophone and Francophone West African literature written from 1952 to the present day. This project is particularly concerned with literature's active role in the shaping of space, drawing widely on archival, textual and historical research. The first output from that project, a study of cosmopolitanism, neoliberalism and postcoloniality in Teju Cole's Open City, was published in Textual Practice in early 2015 and a second output, a chapter on Tutuola, Beti, Kane and Ekwensi, is in press. I am additionally in the early stages of a project which considers the modes of self-fashioning perpetuated through independent literary networks and small magazines on the continent.
I have published widely in the overlapping fields of postcolonial criticism and African literary studies, and my work has appeared in journals including Research in African Literatures, Journal of Postcolonial Writing, Textual Practice, Journal of Commonwealth Literature and ARIEL: A Review of International English Literature. I serve as a peer reviewer for a number of journals, publishing houses and funding bodies, and I have written reviews for publications including Wasafiri and Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies. While my primary focus falls under the remit of postcolonial studies and African literatures, I have additional interests in narrative theory, space and spatiality, representation, contemporary British and American writing, prize culture and cultural materiality.
From October 2014, I have served as the Director for the Centre for the Study of Colonial and Postcolonial Societies at the University of Bristol. I am also on the board of the Bristol Poetry Institute and am an active participant in Afrika Eye.
I would welcome applications from students working on any area of postcolonial studies, African literatures or world literatures. I especially welcome applications which consider the intersection of literary criticism and material cultures.
In 2015/2016 I will be on research leave.