Areas of Research
20th-century African literature, ecocriticism, postcolonial theory and literature, environmental studies, critical theory.
Environment at the Margins: Literary and Environmental Studies in Africa (Ohio UP, 2011).
African Fiction and Joseph Conrad: Reading Postcolonial Intertextuality (SUNY Press, 2005).
“Shifting the Center: A Tradition of Environmental Literary Discourse from Africa.” Environmental Criticism for the Twenty-First Century (Routledge, 2011).
“In Place: Tourism, Cosmopolitan Bioregionalism, and Zakes Mda’s Heart of Redness.” Postcolonial Ecologies: Literatures of the Environment (Oxford UP, 2011)
"Different Shades of Green: Ecocriticism and African Literature" Anthology of African Literary Theory and Criticism (Blackwell, 2007);
"Of Freedom and Oil: Nation, Globalization, and Civil Liberties in the Writing of Ken Saro-Wiwa." Research in English and American Literature (2006).
I have also published other articles on 20th-Century African literature, 19th- and 20th-Century British literature, and Colonial Discourse.
Kemper Teaching Fellowship, Hall Center Research Fellow, Louise Byrd Graduate Educator Award, Keeler Intra-University Professor, Conger-Gabel Teaching Professor, Mabel Fry Teaching Award
My research and teaching focuses on the relationship between literature and pressing issues of justice, freedom, and sustainability in the recently colonized world (especially Africa). Currently, I am working on a book project which posits that a legacy of environmental (literary) writing from Africa becomes apparent if we shift our focus from a theoretical framework derived from predominate models of environmentalism, often focused on the preservation of wilderness and biodiversity, to one shaped by what is often called “environmentalism of the poor” which is centered on the intersection of environmental degradation and social justice. Such writing becomes a means not only to explore some of the limitations of mainstream environmentalism, particularly in postcolonial contexts, but also to imagine what environmental justice might mean and how it might develop in specific situations. As is true of ecocriticism and postcolonialism more generally, my work is interdisciplinary, drawing on work from environmental studies, history, and geography. In fact, I work closely both in my research and my teaching with faculty members across the university. I would like to think of myself as a “nomadic” intellectual, crossing the boundaries of academic fields and cultures and seeking ways to make the connections between literary studies and “the world” more apparent.