Name: Uzoma Esonwanne
Title/Position: Professor of Comparative Literature and English
Office Phone : 416-946-3917
Office Location: Jackman Humanities Building, Room 715
Office Hours and/or Leave Status: request appointment by email
Degrees: Ph.D, MA (UNB), B.A. (UNN)


To date, his scholarship has been dominated by three issues: literary reference, the theory and poetics of repetition, and psychopathologies of colonial and racial subjection (what he has called “the crisis of the soul”). These activities have yielded many essays, including the following: “Orality and the Genres of African Postcolonial Poetry: Reading Okigbo’s Juvenilia and Occasional Poems,” The Burden of Several Centuries, ed. Chukwuma Azuonye (Africa World Press, forthcoming); “Text-Context: Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o’s A Grain of Wheat as Testimony,” Approaches to Teaching the Works of Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, ed. Oliver Lovesey (MLA Publications, forthcoming); “Orality and the Genres of African Postcolonial Literatures,” Cambridge History of Postcolonial Literatures, ed. Ato Quayson (Cambridge University Press, 2011); “The Short Century and After: African Literatures and Cultures from 1945–2005,” Canadian Review of Comparative Literature/Revue Canadienne Littérature Comparée (2010); and “The Crisis of the Soul: Psychoanalysis and African Literature,” Research in African Literatures (2007). Earlier publications appeared in New Formations, African American Review, and Cultural Critique. He has also found time to return to Christopher Okigbo, a poet he first explored in Critical Essays on Christopher Okigbo (1990). Recently, SSHRC awarded an Insight Development Grant to a team of scholars for which he serve as Principal Investigator for ““Ifa and Ijala: a feasibility study of Yoruba oral culture.” Underlying the arguments he made in these publications has been a guiding premise: that, in the context of postcolonial African literatures language has felt, and borne, the burdens of myth, history, and prophecy, and that to do them justice criticism cannot ignore this fact. Although over the years he has occasionally undertaken projects indirectly or unrelated to these issues (my Critical Essays on Christopher Okigbo is an example), he would like to believe that such digressions deepen his understanding of these complex issues and afford him a unique scholarly vantage point.