I am an academic literary critic.
I teach and write about transatlantic world literatures of the 20th and 21st centuries. I am especially interested in how narratives from one transatlantic region—Africa, Europe, the Caribbean, and/or the Americas—circulate and are consumed in other regions. For the past few years my main focus has been on African child soldier narratives, a transnational genre of novels, memoirs, films, and graphic media that achieved notable success in Europe and North America, despite the otherwise relative indifference toward African media in Western markets. My research on this genre tends to revolve around predominant literary conventions, e.g. the ambivalent portrayal of humanitarian aid workers or how the texts make claims for the innocence of children who brutalize adults during wartime. I write about these and other features in Research in African Literatures, Journal of Commonwealth Literature, Interventions, Genre, and English Studies. I am currently working on related projects/outputs in this area.
My research encompasses a wide range of genres, including established forms such as novels, short stories, poetry, drama, films, and life writing, as well as non-traditional texts like lyrics, comics, tabletop and board games, PR materials, government reports, and other media. For an example of the latter, here is a talk that I gave in March 2018 on behalf of the West Indiana and Special Collections Division of the Alma Jordan Library at UWI-St. Augustine. The talk is entitled “Touring West Indiana: Maps and/as Narrative.”
I received my PhD in 2015 from the Production of Literature program at Carleton University. Though I am primarily trained in literary criticism, my mentors encouraged me to think about textual production and related matters encompassed by the fields of media studies and book history. These interests greatly influence both my teaching and research agendas. My approach to textual analysis in both contexts is rooted in the theoretical methodology of narratology. I am also attracted to (but not always convinced by) the kind of contemporary ethical criticism advocated by Wayne Booth and Marshall Gregory.