Professor James Ogude

Academic Qualifications and Research Trajectory:

Professor Ogude is the Director at the Centre for the Advancement of Scholarship, University of Pretoria, a position he assumed in 2017, having been with the Centre since May 2013. He is an “A2” rated researcher by the National Research Foundation (NRF). He has just concluded a five year project on the Southern African philosophical concept of Ubuntu funded by the Templeton World Charity Foundation. He is currently leading a Mellon funded supra-national project involving the Universities of Ghana, Makerere, Cape Town and Pretoria. He is also the Director of the African Observatory for Environmental Humanities located at the Centre for the Advancement of Scholarship at the University of Pretoria.

Until his appointment to the Centre, he was a Professor of African Literature and Cultures in the School of Literature, Language and Media Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand, where he worked since 1994, serving as the Head of African Literature and also Assistant Dean – Research, in the Faculty of Humanities.

His research interests include the broad area of African literature in English and Postcolonial theories, with a specific focus on issues of memory and reconstruction of African history and identities. More recently, his research focus has shifted to popular cultures and literature in Africa, in an attempt to understand how these cultures produced from below help us to understand issues of power and its uses on the continent. He is also working in the area of Black intellectual traditions.

He is the author of Ngugi's Novels and African History: Narrating the Nation (1999). He has edited a total of eight books and one anthology of African stories. His most recent edited books are: Ubuntu and Personhood (2018); Ubuntu and the Everyday (co-edited with Uni Dyer, 2019); Ubuntu and the Reconstitution of Community (2019). In addition, he has edited a number of books in literature and related areas and these include:  Chinua Achebe’s Legacy: Illuminations from Africa (2015); Rethinking Eastern African Literary and Intellectual Landscapes (2012), and Urban Legends, Colonial Myths: Popular Culture and Literature in East Africa (2007). Ogude has published numerous articles in peer reviewed journals in the area of African Literature and Popular Culture in East Africa.


Recent articles

James Ogude and Unifier Dyer, “Auf der Suche nach Gerechtigkeit und Versohnung angesichts der Gewalt im Nachfeld der kenianischen Wahlen 2007” (The Search for Justice and Reconciliation in the Aftermath of the 2007 Post-election Violence in Kenya). Polylog, 34 (2015): 3 – 12.

“Reading No Longer at Ease as a Text That Performs Local Cosmopolitanism,” in PMLA, Vol. 129, No. 2 (2014): 251-253.

“Whose Africa? Whose Culture? Reflections on Agency, Travelling Theory and Cultural Studies in Africa,” in Kunapipi: Journal of Postcolonial Writing and Culture, Vol. XXXIV, No. 1 (2012): 12-27

The Invention of Traditional Music in the City: Exploring History and Meaning in Urban Music in Contemporary Kenya,” in Okome, Onookome and Stephanie Newell (eds). Measuring Time: Karin Barber and The Study of Everyday Africa. Research in African Literatures, 43. 4 (Winter 2012): 147-165.

“E. S. Atieno Odhiambo and the Revisioning of Conventional Approaches to African History” in Jahazi: Culture, Arts and Performance. 1. 4 (2011): 4 -9.


Recent Book chapters

With Uni Dyer, “Utu/Ubuntu and Community Restoration: Narratives of Survivors in Kenya’s 2007 Postelection Violence” in Ogude, James (ed.). Ubuntu and the Reconstitution of Community. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2019. (ISBN:9780253042118).

“Introduction: Theorising Ubuntu and the Everyday (with Unifier Dyer), in Ogude, James and Unifier Dyer (eds.). Ubuntu and the Everyday. Trenton NJ: Africa World Press, 2019: 1 – 23.

“Homecoming: The Idea of Return in the Works of Ngugi wa Thiongo” in Gikandi, Simon and Ndirangu Wachanga (eds.). Ngugi: Reflections on his life of Writing. London: James Currey, 2018):163 -167. (ISBN:978-1-84701-214-2.

“Introduction: Ubuntu and Personhood” in Ogude, James (ed.). Ubuntu and Personhood. Trento NJ: Africa World Press, 2018: 1 -11.

“Epilogue: Reflections on Personhood through the Eyes of A. C. Jordan’s The Wrath of Ancestors in Ogude, James (ed.). Ubuntu and Personhood. Trenton NJ: Africa World Press, 2018: 253 – 262. ISBN: 9781569025826.

“Oral and Popular Cultures in the African Novel”. In Simon Gikandi (ed.). The Oxford History of the Novel in English Volume Eleven: The Novel in Africa and the Caribbean since 1950 .New York: Oxford UP, 2016: 236 – 249.

“Revisiting the African Archive: Chinua Achebe, Sol Plaatje and the Re-making of African History” in James Ogude (ed.). Chinua Achebe’s Legacy: Illuminations from Africa. Pretoria: African Institute of South Africa, 2015: 138 – 144.

“An Academic Journey: Reflections on a Research Trajectory in Relation to Contemporary Debates in Literature and Culture” in Mahmood Mamdani (ed.). Getting the Question Right: Interdisciplinary Explorations at Makerere University. Kampala, Makerere Institute of Social Research (MISR Book Series No. 1), 2013:221 – 242.

“Cultural Resistance,” in Patrick L. Mason (ed.) Encyclopedia of Race and Racism, Vol. 1, 2nd Ed. New York: Macmillan Reference, 2013: 479 -484.

“Location and History: Salient Issues in Teaching Ngugi to Black South African Students,” in Oliver Lovesey (ed.). Approaches to Teaching the Works of Ngugi wa Thiong’o. New York, Modern Languiage Association, 2012: 315 – 337.


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