My degrees are in African performance studies, Anglophone African literature and theatre; African cinema, postcolonial theory and criticism and critical race theory. I trained at the University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria.
In the last twenty years, my research has been on Anglophone African literature, especially Nigerian literature, which includes the growing field of what I have described as "the literature of oil in Nigeria's Niger Delta." I have edited and published a number of books and essays in this field of African studies, including an edited volume on the environmental rights activist, Ken Saro-Wiwa, Before I am Hanged: Ken Saro-Wiwa: Literature, Politics and Dissent (2000). In the last ten years, I have been particularly focused on researching African popular culture, working around the idea that the study of this area of African life helps us understand the "art of the everyday" on the continent. In 2012, Stephanie Newell (School of English, University of Sussex, UK) and I extended the theoretical inquiry in this field by revisiting the seminal essay, "Popular Culture in Africa (1987)" by Karin Barber, reexamining its basic arguments in the light of the emergence of new popular art forms in the continent. This resulted in two seminal publications, Popular Culture in Africa: The Episteme of the Everyday (New York: Routlege, 2014) and a special issue of Research in African Literatures (RAL), "Measuring Time: Karin Barber and the Study of Everyday Africa" 43/4, 2012. Onitsha Market Pamphlets and the text of the Nollywood film form a significant part of my case study in this research into the everyday art of Africans who live "at the bottom of the streets." I am currently working on a book length study, Nollywood: Text, Context, Controversy."
I teach race and literature, colonialism and 20th century Africa, African literature, African cinema, postcolonial literature and theory at the graduate and undergraduate levels. I am a deep admirer of Franz Fanon, Langston Hughes and Nagib Mahfouz. They form part of the legion of writers that give the world of the book the sense and contradiction in my empirical world.
I am currently working as part of the research project, "Expressive Cultures of the African Diaspora," with a group of researchers headed by Professor Christopher Innes and Professor Paul Lovejoy, both of York University, Ontario. See: http//www.expressivecultures.com/