Faculty and Staff | UCF Africana Studies
Obi Nwakanma

Obi Nwakanma, Ph.D.

Poet, journalist, biographer and literary critic, Obi Nwakanma was born in Nigeria. Thirsting for Sunlight, his biography of the tragic modernist poet, Christopher Okigbo, was published by James Currey (UK) in 2010. His collection of poems, The Horsemen & Other Poems, was published by Africa World Press (New Jersey) in 2007, and Birthcry (Poems) by Kraft Books (Ibadan) in 2016. Nwakanma’s first collection of poems, The Roped Urn, was awarded the Cadbury Prize in 1996 by the Association of Nigerian Authors, and he received the Walter J. Ong Award for Distinguished Achievement in 2008 from Saint Louis University. His poetry, fiction and essays have appeared in various anthologies and publications including Okike, Vanguard Review, WSQ, Callaloo, Ariel, Brick, Adelaide, Antiphon,and Wasafiri. His poetry has been translated into Spanish, Dutch, German, and Turkish. Obi Nwakanma has also worked as a professional journalist, reporting internationally for Newsweek, Neue Zurcher Zeitung, and as Group Literary editor for the Vanguard, one of the major national newspapers in Nigeria, for which he continues to write a weekly column, “The Orbit” in the Sunday Vanguard. He is currently working on a novel, a new collection of poems, and a book on The Mbari Movement, Transnationalism and Modern African Literature.

Education

  • Ph.D. in English from Saint Louis University, Missouri
  • M.F.A. in Poetry from Washington University in St. Louis
  • B.A. in English from University of Jos, Nigeria (1989)

Research Interests

Creative Writing - Poetry, fiction, the biography, Journalism, History of Ideas/Black intellectual experience, Modernity, post-colonial, National, Cultural & literary theories; African, African-American, Diaspora, and contemporary Trans-Atlantic Literatures.

Courses

Course Number Course Title Mode Session Date and Time Syllabus
61212 LIT3931 Topics in World Literature Web B - Unavailable
LIT3931.BW61: Topics in World Literature
(Nwakanma)

PR: Grade of C (2.0) or better required in ENC 1102

Themes, modes, and genres form literature outside of the U.S.
Course Number Course Title Mode Date and Time Syllabus
81629 AFA3006 The African Diaspora: Theories Face2Face M,W 10:30AM - 11:45AM Unavailable
No Description Available
91567 AML3614 Topics in African American Lit Rdce Time M,W 1:30PM - 2:20PM Unavailable
AML3614.0M01: Topics in African American Literature
(Nwakanma)

PR: Grade of C (2.0) or better requires in ENC 1102

Literature by and about African-American culture in the United States.
81841 CRW3013 Creative Writing for English M Rdce Time M,W 2:30PM - 3:20PM Unavailable
CRW3013.0M01: Creative Writing for English Majors
(Nwakanma)

PR: English major or minor, junior standing, and grade of C (2.0) or better required in ENC 1102

Literary genres; practice and critique of peer writing; critical reading of established authors.
Course Number Course Title Mode Date and Time Syllabus
10356 AFA3104 Black Intellectual Experience Face2Face Tu,Th 10:30AM - 11:45AM Unavailable
No Description Available
11529 AML3614 Topics in African American Lit Face2Face Tu,Th 3:00PM - 4:15PM Unavailable
AML3614.0001: Topics in African American Literature
(Nwakanma)

PR: Grade of C (2.0) or better required in ENC 1102

Literature by and about African-American culture in the United States.
Course Number Course Title Mode Session Date and Time Syllabus
51084 LIT3931 Topics in World Literature Web B - Unavailable
LIT3931.BW61: Topics in World Literature
(Nwakanma)

PR: Grade of C (2.0) or better required in ENC 1102

This course introduces students to world literary masterpieces. It seeks to examine world literature as a field of cross-cultural and transnational systems of thought and production. We will study representative works of world literature from the Twentieth century to the present. We will put into consideration the literary, cultural, and political significance of selected works of a global literary tradition, including women’s writing speaking to a dialogue of the western and the non-western tradition intersecting on the issues of colonialism, nationalism, and self-representation. This class aims to interrogate and expand an understanding of these canonical works in their cultural/historical contexts and hopefully situate the enduring human values which connect the different literary traditions. We will pay special attention to critical thinking and writing within a framework of cultural theories as well as comparative and interdisciplinary analysis.
Course Number Course Title Mode Date and Time Syllabus
81497 AFA3006 The African Diaspora: Theories Face2Face M,W 10:30AM - 11:45AM Unavailable
No Description Available
92873 LIT3931 Topics in World Literature Web - Unavailable
No Description Available
Course Number Course Title Mode Date and Time Syllabus
10352 AFA3104 Black Intellectual Experience Face2Face Tu,Th 10:30AM - 11:45AM Unavailable
No Description Available
11407 AML3614 Topics in African American Lit Face2Face Tu,Th 1:30PM - 2:45PM Unavailable

AML 3614: Topics in African American Literature (Nwakanma)

Spring 2018

We can generally situate an African-American literary canon from the achievements of the poet Phyllis Wheatley writing in colonial America, and the slave narratives and fiction of the early to mid-19th century, and the surge of new black expressive culture through the Harlem Renaissance in the twentieth century, down to current or contemporary developments in that culture that is now specifically tagged African-American culture in America. African-American Literature thus occupies a space in the larger culture of a global/ Diasporic Black world that claims its own specific tradition, and thus allows us entry behind the “veil” of African-American culture into centuries of the lived life through the middle passage and beyond. The goal of this course is to at-tempt to answer certain questions raised by the African-American presence in American life through its literature by addressing issues of identity and ethnicity; in other words, looking at the implications of what it means to be “African American” as explored through literature, tied to the larger construct of the relationship between race and art. How does the African-American or Black artist negotiate what Du Bois again concluded to be the “strangeness of being black in America?” At the end of this semester we may come to some understanding of the aesthetic as well as historical, and even political dimensions of African-American literature by examining how African American writers have used different artistic and narrative techniques to raise questions, explore, and even expand the relationship be-tween history and art.


11594 LIT3931 Topics in World Literature Web - Unavailable

LIT 3931.0001: Topics in World Literature (Nwakanma)

Spring 2018

This course introduces students to world literary masterpieces. It seeks to examine world literature as a field of cross-cultural and transnational systems of thought and production. We will study representative works of world literature from the Twentieth century to the present. We will put into consideration the literary, cultural, and political significance of selected works of a global literary tradition, including women’s writing speaking to a dialogue of the western and the non-western tradition intersecting on the issues of colonialism, nationalism, and self-representation. This class aims to interrogate and expand an understanding of these canonical works in their cultural/historical contexts and hopefully situate the enduring human values which connect the different literary traditions. We will pay special attention to critical thinking and writing within a framework of cultural theories as well as comparative and interdisciplinary analysis.


Updated: Oct 30, 2017