Photo of Pius Adesanmi

Pius Adesanmi

Degrees:B.A. University of Ilorin, Nigeria, 1992 M.A. French, University of Ibadan, Nigeria, 1998 Ph.D. French Studies, University of British Columbia, 2002
Phone:613-520-2600 x 2422
Office:438 Paterson Hall (currently Director of the Institute of African Studies)

Research interests

  • Postcolonial writing and social media
  • African & Black Diasporic literatures and Cultures in English and French
  • Popular Culture, Street Culture in Africa
  • Postcolonial and cultural theory
  • Third World feminist discourses
  • African Language literature (Yoruba)
  • Current Research

I have a very eclectic research and writing scope, ranging from recent trends in theoretical approaches to African and postcolonial literatures to new political and cultural life-worlds in Africa and the Black Diaspora. My scholarship overlaps with an active career as an African public intellectual interested in a broad range of issues such as the role of culture in shaping citizenship, subjectivity, human rights, identity, and the environment in ex-colonial societies affected globalization and fragile modern statehood. Lately, I’ve been reflecting, studying, and writing about the social media revolution in Africa and the postcolonial world. I’ve been exploring how social media affects the materiality of literature and culture, how it affects our understanding of the (literary) text, and inflects old categories of postcolonial knowledge and cultures. With the blogosphere now a universe of interactions, allowing postcolonial literati and culturati to produce new forms of texts and meaning irrespective of location, when/where is home? When/where is diaspora? My forthcoming book in 2014, Africa’s Many Lovers, is a collection of some fifteen keynote lectures that I have delivered in recent years, exploring these and many other issues.


Winner, The Penguin Prize for African Writing (Non-Fiction), 2010

Nominated for a 2012 Capital Educators’ Award.

The Erasmus Teaching Award, Penn State University, Spring 2006

Association of Nigerian Authors’ Poetry Prize. 2001.



You are Not a Country, Africa (2011) 

(Winner of the Penguin Prize for African Writing)

Edited Volumes

Pius Adesanmi, Thomas Hale, and Irene D’Almeida (eds) “Theories and Literatures of Africa” A special issue of Comparative Literature Studies (Spring 2009)

Pius Adesanmi and Chris Dunton (eds) “Third Generation Nigerian Novel” Special Issue of Research in African Literatures 39.2 (Summer 2008)

Pius Adesanmi and Chris Dunton (eds) “New Nigerian Writing” Special Issue of English in Africa 32.1 (May 2005)

Pius Adesanmi and Georges Hérault (eds) Proceedings of the International Symposium on Youth, Street Culture, and Urban Violence in Africa. Ibadan: IFRA and African Book Builders, 1997. 419 pages

Recent Essays (select)

“Ngugi and the Postcolonial.” Approaches to Teaching the Works of Ngugi wa Thiong’o.” Ed. Oliver Lovesey. New York: The Modern Language Association of America, 2012. 53-59.

“Arrested Nationalism, Imposed Transnationalism, and the African Literature Classroom: A Nigerian Writer’s Learning Curve.”  West African Migrations: Transnational and Global Pathways in a New Century. Eds. Mojubaolu Okome and Olufemi Vaughn. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012. 247-261

“Reshaping Power and the Public Sphere: The Political Voices of African Writers.”  Reframing Contemporary Africa: Politics, Economics, and Culture in the Contemporary Era. Eds. Peyi Soyinka-Airewele and Rita Kiki-Edozie. Washington: CQ Press, 2010 (110-128)

Invited Lectures and Keynotes (selection from 2011-2013 only)

“Dowry: Managing Africa’s Many Lovers.” Keynote Lecture Delivered at the Annual Conference of the African Studies Course Union, University of Toronto, February 15, 2013.

“The Hunt for Francophonism.” Lecture delivered at the Anglophone-Francophone Cultural Conversations Conference Convened by the African Studies Programme and the Department of Comparative Literature, Penn State University, USA, February 27, 2013.

“The Malian Crisis: Causes and Consequences for the West African Sub-Region.” Panel Convened by the Human Rights Research and Education Centre, University of Ottawa, March 13, 2013.

“I’m Endowed: Hip-Hop, Twittertainment, and Black Musical Internationalism.” Lecture delivered at the Cultural Transfers series of the Institute for Comparative Studies in Literature, Art, and Culture and the Centre for Transnational Cultural Analysis, Carleton University, January 26, 2012.

“Walter Rodney’s How Europe Underdeveloped Africa: Reconsidering a Classic.” Lectured delivered at the Vanderbilt History Seminar, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, March 19, 2012.

“When is the African Diaspora in Canada?”. Keynote Lecture delivered at a Forum convened by the Africa Society of Guelph, the Department of History, and the School of English and Theatre Studies, University of Guelph, March 24, 2012.

“America, My Africa”. Lecture delivered at the Bowdoin Africana Speakers Series, Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine, April 9, 2012.

“Face Me, I Book You: Writing Africa’s Agency in the Age of the Netizen”. Keynote Lecture delivered at the 38th annual convention of the African Literature Association, Dallas, Texas, April 12, 2012.

“What Does Nigerian Literature Secure?” Keynote lecture delivered at the annual convention of the Association of Nigeria Authors, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria, November 9, 2012

“Nigeria 101 for the Canadian Policy Maker.” Lecture delivered to the Africa Study Group, Ottawa, Canada, March 2011

“The Impala Generation: Youth Culture and the Imperatives of Democracy in Nigeria in the Age of the Arab Protests.” Lecture delivered at a colloquium convened jointly by the Nigerian Advancement Institute and the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, April 2, 2011.

“Capitalism and Memory: Of Golf Courses and Massage Parlors in Badagry, Nigeria.” Keynote lecture delivered at the annual conference of the Stanford Forum for African Studies, Stanford University, Palo Alto, California. Saturday, October 29, 2011

“Social Media, the Public Sphere, and the Anxieties of Power in Nigeria.” Lecture  delivered at the Keynote Speaker Series, SUNY Oswego’s Artswego Series, State University of New York at Oswego, November 2, 2011

“Africa is People, Nigeria is Nigerians: Provocations on Post-Mendicant Economies”. Lecture delivered at Aga Khan Foundation’s Symposium, “Africa’s Promise, Canada’s Opportunity”, Ottawa, Monday, November 28, 2011.