My research interests include colonial whiteness, the history and literary representations of British colonial education, first-generation Nigerian Writing, Nigerian Print Cultures, and Life-Writing.
My first book, Achebe and Friends at Umuahia: The Making of a Literary Elite studied the ways in which the secondary education of five first-generation Nigerian writers—Chinua Achebe, Elechi Amadi, Christopher Okigbo, Chike Momah and Chukwuemeka Ike—in the elite British colonial school Government College, Umuahia prompted and influenced their literary careers. Achebe and Friends at Umuahia has just been shortlisted for the African Studies Association UK’s inaugural Fage and Oliver Prize, to be awarded to the author of an outstanding original work published on Africa during the preceding two years. The book has been widely and glowingly reviewed in such periodicals as The Times Literary Supplement, The Times Higher Education, AFRICA: Journal of the International Africa Institute and The Leeds African Studies Bulletin, among other outlets.
I am currently writing my second book, E.H.Duckworth’s Experiments: A Study of Colonial Eccentricity in Nigeria, which examines the life and career of Edward Harland Duckworth, who was originally recruited into Nigeria’s colonial government as Inspector of Education but later made his fame as the founding editor of the cultural and developmental magazine Nigeria. Duckworth was an elusive and liminal figure, upholding Imperial rule while forging alliances with nationalist figures, disseminating a seemingly positive image of Nigeria which was nevertheless fraught with paternalism and unspoken tensions, and championing the country’s youth while at the same time stultifying their possibilities of a university education. Duckworth’s life serves as window into such issues as Nigerian anti-colonial nationalism, print cultures, educational history, colonial domesticity and sexuality, the devolution of power after independence, and British intervention in the Nigerian Civil War.