Rare books and the stories they tell

When literary scholar, Nathan Suhr-Sytsma recently posted on Twitter that he had inherited a “legendary poetry anthology, edited by the much-missed Harry Garuba and published in 1988,” it occurred to me that this bequest, if we may call it that, was a rare book I may never find in Lagos, the original home of Malthouse…More

Where the Baedeker Leads: Interview with Uche Umezurike

In Where the Baedeker Leads, James Yékú explores in language precise and mellifluous the particulars of longing and love, home and diaspora. He takes the reader along routes of memory and immediacy, traversing time and space, mapping geographies far and wide—geographies of belonging, intimacy, loss, and alienation—all the while revealing what connects, what severs, what roots,…More

England’s Racial Scapegoating and the Burden of an Apology

As Gareth Southgate gave instructions to Manchester United forwards Jordan Sancho and Marcus Rashford on the touchlines in the 120th minute of the Euro 2020 final against Italy last Sunday, the first thought I had was how the coach’s substitutions signaled his tactical readings of a game headed for a penalty shootout. In a match…More

#TwitterBan and the Techno-Politics of VPNs

Before the Nigerian state announced its Twitter ban on Friday, June 4, 2021, it was commonplace among internet users disenchanted by Nigerian economic conditions to speak of migrating to countries in the Global North. Canada became the most mythologized of these Western locations in internet discourses, becoming the subject of many a meme and comic…More

Language and the Lagos Men That Become Useless

He is about to slump before her, overpowered by the strong hands that knot a grip around his neck. He struggles to fight back, seeking redemption in the eyes of onlookers in their face-me-I-face-you bungalow in the heart of Oshodi in Lagos. Before his erratic punches could land on her, she lets go of his shirt, stepping…More

Diaspora and My Unpackable Library

The loss of books is often one of the many effects of the mobility of African scholars, especially when they travel permanently for education in the West. I reflect on this, thinking with Walter Benjamin’s “Unpacking My Library”More

Double Consciousness and the African Junior Scholar Abroad

It appears the African junior scholar abroad, let’s call him Saka, also has his own crises of Duboisian double consciousness, although I realize, in agreement with Ernest Allen, Jr., that Du Bois had a far narrower use of this term than how many scholars have recently deployed it without its specific historical context. The protocols…More

Where the Baedeker Leads

Where the Baedeker Leads uncovers the many delicate layers that lie in the spaces between departures and arrivals, offering memories and stories. As a historically specific guidebook for travels, the Baedeker emerges as a cultural metaphor of navigating multiple geographies, even as it leads both to and away from the obvious meanings in the poems; but…More

Reading Shola Adenekan’s African Literature in the Digital Age

  Shola Adenekan’s African Literature in the Digital Age characterizes itself as “the first book-length study on the relationship between African literature and new media.” For a fascinating and inventive volume, this description is both apt and reticent, even if a reminder of the tad neglect of an area of African literary studies that still…More

Instagram Comedy and the Shadow of Nollywood

A scathing review of the political comedy Your Excellency, by Funke Akindele, written by an anonymous critic describes her directorial debut as a bunch of Instagram skits and not a movie. Rather than encountering ‘an amazing political comedy’ that satirizes Nigeria’s practice of democracy in a digital era, the audience, according to the anonymous reviewer,…More