Background

Background

My teaching and research focus on multiple aspects of literature and culture in Africa and the Americas, their historical and cultural ties and divergences, and the factors of colonialism, decolonization, and contemporary political and economic processes. In the African context I have been especially interested in the perceived tension between being "modern" and being "ourselves" and what this implies for understanding the relationship between "indigenous" or "local" resources, such as oral traditions, and contemporary forms such as the novel. The workings of gender and the diasporic consciousness or yearning that exceeds national belonging are themes that also figure in my work and teaching. In this vein, I have begun to explore most recently the distinctive culture of my birthplace, New Orleans, Louisiana.