Chair, Department of English and Cultural Studies
B.A. (Queen’s) M.A., Ph.D. (University of Toronto)
Associate Professor, Department of English Literature
Graduate Faculty, M.A. English Literature (Public Texts), PhD Cultural Studies
My principal areas of interest, both as a researcher and as a teacher, are popular music and the literatures of Africa and the West Indies. I’m at work on a book about pop music in Margaret Thatcher’s Britain: it was a politically turbulent period in Britain (race riots, the Falklands War, hunger strikes by imprisoned IRA members, the smashing of the Trade Unions and massive unemployment) and popular music had critical and insightful things to say about it all. I’ve also published articles on Bob Marley, Nigerian Afro-beat pioneer Fela Kuti, Trinidad calypsonian Lord Kitchener, and the dub poet Linton Kwesi Johnson.This is where my interest in music overlaps with my interest in Africa and the West Indies. I regularly offer courses in both African and West Indian literature and they generally include plenty of music, because I don’t think you can separate West Indian literature, say, from reggae, calypso and soca, or Nigerian literature from highlife, juju and Afro-beat. And even if you could, why would you want to? I’ve also written about the Jamaican poets Lorna Goodison and Geoffrey Philp and the Nigerian novelists Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Chris Abani. My book on Jamaican poetry, Soon Come, was published by the University of Virginia Press.
“No, This is Not Redemption: The Legacy of The Biafra War in Chris Abani’s Graceland.” The Nigeria-Biafra War: An Intellectual History. Ed. Toyin Falola and Ogechukwu Ezekwem. James Currey, 2016.
“Fela Versus Craze World: Notes on the Nigerian Grotesque.” Ed. Adam Hansen. Litpop: Writing and Popular Music. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate, 2014.
“Beasts and Abominations in Things Fall Apart and Omenuko.” Ariel: A Review of International English Literature 43:4 (October 2012).
“Trabajo bien hecho”: Una introducción informal al la poesía de Loran Goodison” (“Good Work Dun: An Informal Introduction to the Poetry of Lorna Goodison”) Cuadernos de literature Vol 15, No 30 (Spring 2011). 203-219.
“Marley at the Crossroads: Invocations of Bob Marley in the Poetry of Geoffrey Philp”. Review: Literature and Arts of the Americas 81 (Fall 2010). 208-217.
“Writing Biafra: Adichie, Emecheta and the Dilemmas of Biafran War Fiction.” Postcolonial Text 5:1 (2009).
Soon Come. Jamaican Spirituality, Jamaican Poetics. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 2008.
“Return to Sender: The Small Town in Wole Soyinka’s The Interpreters, Season of Anomy, Aké and Isara”. The Journal of Commonwealth Literature. 42:1 (Spring 2007).
“Kitchener Takes England: The London Calypsos of Aldwyn Roberts.” Wasafiri. 43 (Summer 2005).
“Walk Good: West Indian Oratorical Traditions in Bob Marley’s Uprising.” The Journal of Commonwealth Literature. 40:2 (Summer 2005).