Uzoma Esonwanne

Professor of Comparative Literature and English

PhD UNB Fredricton

esonwanneContact Information

Phone: 647.233.5335
Office: JHB715
Leave Status: January-June 2017

Bio & Research

An Associate Professor in the Department of English and the Centre for Comparative Literature, I specialize in postcolonial literature and psychoanalytic theory and criticism. In my scholarship I focus on three issues: literary reference, the theory and poetics of repetition, and psychopathologies of colonial and racial subjection (what I’ve called “the crisis of the soul”). These activities have yielded many essays, including the following: “Orality and the Genres of African Postcolonial Poetry: Reading Okigbo’s Juvenilia and Occasional Poems,” The Burden of Several Centuries, ed. Chukwuma Azuonye (Africa World Press, forthcoming); “Text-Context: Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o’s A Grain of Wheat as Testimony,” Approaches to Teaching the Works of Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, ed. Oliver Lovesey (MLA Publications, forthcoming); “Orality and the Genres of African Postcolonial Literatures,” Cambridge History of Postcolonial Literatures, ed. Ato Quayson (Cambridge University Press, 2011); “The Short Century and After: African Literatures and Cultures from 1945–2005,” Canadian Review of Comparative Literature/Revue Canadienne Littérature Comparée (2010); and “The Crisis of the Soul: Psychoanalysis and African Literature,” Research in African Literatures (2007). Earlier publications appeared in New Formations, African American Review, and Cultural Critique. I have also found time to return to Christopher Okigbo, a poet I first explored in Critical Essays on Christopher Okigbo (1990). Recently, SSHRC awarded an Insight Development Grant to a team of scholars for which I serve as Principal Investigator for “Ifa and Ijala: a feasibility study of Yoruba oral culture.” Underlying the arguments I make in these publications has been a guiding premise: that, in the context of postcolonial African literatures language has felt, and borne, the burdens of myth, history, and prophecy, and that to do them justice criticism cannot ignore this fact; thus, the analysis I undertook of Chinua Achebe’s prose style in “‘Restraint . . . my style’: deliberative and mournful” PMLA 129.2 (2014), which is part of an ongoing project on literature and popular culture in postwar Nigeria.

CV: here

Recent Publications

Updated: September 2016