Assoc. Prof. Christopher Ouma
BA (1st Class Hons) Moi university, MA, PHD (University of the Witwatersrand)
Office: Arts Block 124
Tel: +27 (0)21 650 5366
After my PhD in the Department of African Literature at University of the Witwatersrand, I joined UCT in 2012 as a lecturer in African and African Diasporic literatures and Cultures. My research has recently consolidated itself into two major projects:
The first project is on literary childhood studies and it looks at childhood as a set of ideas that shapes the imagination of identity in contemporary Africa and its diasporas. It examines various facets of childhood, which include childhoods of war, queer childhoods, diaspora childhoods and various spatio-temporalities of childhood in Cold War and late twentieth Century Africa and its diasporas. This project has recently been the subject of the book Childhood in Contemporary African Diasporic Literature: Memories and Futures Past (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020) under the series on African Histories and Modernities at Palgrave.
The second project titled Small/Little/Literary Magazines and Pan-African Imagination, 1955-1975, looks at the small magazine in Africa as a platform that helped triangulate the encounter between decolonization, anti-apartheid activism and the Cold War, through fostering Pan-African cultural practices. This archival project situates itself between literary history and cultural studies and is currently developing as my second monograph.
Contemporary African and African Diasporic Literature
African Popular Culture
Black Print Cultures
Childhood in Contemporary Diasporic African Literature: Memories and Futures Past (African Histories and Modernities, Palgrave Macmillan, 2020)
The Spoken Word Project: Stories Travelling Through Africa (Lektora Verlag, 2014)
Edited Journal Special Issue
After Madiba: Black Studies in South Africa” The Black Scholar 47 (2) May 2017.
(Forthcoming 2021) “ Small Magazines and modes of self-fashioning in Africa and its Diaspora, Social Dynamics: A Journal of African Studies.
Peer Reviewed Journal Articles
“African Novel Genealogies: Language and the problem of Canon Formation” (Forthcoming, The Black Scholar 2021)
With Madhu Krishnan “Small Magazines in Africa: Ecologies and Genealogies” (Forthcoming, Social Dynamics2021)
With Litheko Modisane & Victoria Collis-Buthelezi, V “Introduction: South Africa, Black Studies and the Mythology of Mandela” in The Black Scholar 47 (2) May 2017: 1-6
“Popular Cultural Memory in Chris Abani’s Graceland” in Eastern African Literary and Cultural Studies 2 (3-4): 2016. 101-110.
“Countries of the Mind: Spacetime Chronotopes in Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus” in Matatu: Journal of African Culture and Society 45. 2014: 163-181
“Reading the Diasporic Abiku in Helen Oyeyemi’s The Icarus Girl” in Research in African Literatures 45 (3) Fall 2014. 188-205 (Special issue on “Africa and the Black Atlantic edited by Yogita Goyal with an afterword by Simon Gikandi)
“Navigating the Lagos Cityscape in Chris Abani’s Graceland” in Kunapipi: Journal of Postcolonial Writing & Culture Vol XXXIV No. 1 2012. 141-154. Published May 2013
“In the Name of the Son: Fatherhood(s), Critical (Il)legitmacy, Sonhood(s) and Masculinities in Chris Abani’s Graceland and The Virgin of Flames” in English in Africa 38(2) August 2011. 77-93.
“Composite Consciousness and Memories of War in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun” in English Academy Review 28(2) October 2011. 15-30
“Childhoods in Purple Hibiscus” in English Academy Review 26 (2) October 2009: 48-59.
Peer Reviewed Book Chapters
(Forthcoming, with Harry Garuba ) “West African Literature as World Literature.” Handbook of Anglophone Global World Literatures Edited by Stefan Helgeson, Birgit Neumann and Gabriele Rippl. Berlin: De Gruyter 2020.
“The Text in the Classroom: Decolonial Reading Practices” in Literacies, Literature and Learning: Reading Classrooms Differently. Edited by Karin Murris & Joanna Haynes. London: Routledge. 117-186, 2018.
(Republished) “In the Name of the Son: Fatherhood(s), Critical (Il)legitmacy, Sonhood(s) and Masculinities in Chris Abani’s Graceland and The Virgin of Flames” in Contemporary Literary Criticism (CLC 336): 230-238 New York: Cengage Publishing.
“Late Achebe: Biafra as Literary Geneology” in Chinua Achebe’s Legacy: Illuminations from Africa. James Ogude (ed). 2015. 50-60 HSRC Press.
With Mbongiseni Buthelezi & Katleho Shoro “Introduction. Spoken Word in Sub-Saharan Africa: Past, present and Future” in The Spoken Word Project: Stories Travelling Through Africa. Mbongiseni Buthelezi, Christopher Ouma &Katleho Shoro (eds). 2014. 18-33. Lektora Verlag.
Performing Queer “In Time and Space”: a “politics of the event” in Reclaiming Afrikan: Queer Perspectives on Sexual and Gender Identities. Zethu Matebeni (ed). 2014. 37-46. Johannesburg, Modjaji (with and introduction by Jack Halberstam.
Dialogic Childhoods: Chronotopicity in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun” in The New Violent Cartographies: Geo-analysis after the Aesthetic Turn. Michael J. Shapiro and Samson Okoth Opondo (eds) 2012: 33-48.
Daughters of Sentiment, Genealogies, and Conversations Between Things Fall Apart and Purple Hibiscus” in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart. 1958-2008. David Whittaker (ed) (2011). 89-106 Amsterdam: Rodopi.
“They Blossom, they wither” a short story in Howard University’s (USA) The Amistad. https://www.theamistad.com/2006
“Literacy and Three Dimensionality” a book review in Scrutiny 2: Issues in English studies in Southern Africa 17 Vol 2 September 2012: 138-143
Kwani? 5 (1) a book review in Africa Insight Vol 39 (1) June 2009: 101-104.
Selected Public Lectures/Engagements
On Small Magazines and Pan-African Imagination: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_OCzFrEkaS0&t=4130s
On Modern African Literature: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ALekLaKZrAQ&t=1480s
On New Ugandan Writing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKC9e2CRb-w&t=627s