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    Title of Keynote: Retrospectives and Projections: lgbo Cosmogony and Sustaining Epistemologies for the Future”

    Professor Chimalum Nwankwo, Professor of African Literature, African-American Literature, American literature and World Literature studied at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and Texas A & M University, USA. His teaching stable includes Post-Colonial Literature, African and African American Literature, World Literature, Creative Writing, and Dramatic Literature. Professor Nwankwo was right there in Philadelphia in 2009, when the decision was made by Igbo professors gathered at the African Literature Association conference to begin an Igbo Studies Association. In his teaching, Nwankwọ’s recurrent contention is that no literature operates in a political vacuum, adding that everything is in a flux, because without fail no cultural or ideological fixation ever endures.

    Popularly known among friends, colleagues and acquaintances as “Mmọ,” a term that could only very broadly be interpreted in English as “Spirit,” he is in reality as complex as can be. In his essay on Igbo cosmology, Chinua Achebe has attempted to explicate the term, “mmọ,” by saying that every person has his or her Chi or spirit being in spiritland to complement his or her human being, adding that “nothing can stand alone, there must be something standing beside it (…)”. Then, Achebe continues: “There are two clearly distinct meanings of the word chi in Igbo. The first is often translated as god, guardian angel, personal spirit, soul, spirit-double etc. the second meaning is day or daylight but is most commonly used for those transitional periods between day and night or night and day. Thus we speak of chi ofufo meaning daybreak and chi ojiji, nightfall. We also have the word mgbachi for that most potent hour of noon that splits the day in two, a time favoured in folklore by itinerant spirits and feared by children.” Indeed, whenever Chimalum Nwankwọ moves on this earthly plane his chi is right there, behind, beside and in front of him, directing, guiding, supporting and cheering him! There is no better way to explain the polyvalence of Professor Chimalum Nwankwo family man, professor, essayist, orator, speaker and poet.

    Besides his enormous teaching load, Professor Nwankwọ has also engaged in creative professional work, including journal reading, reviewing and consultancy. At the North Carolina State University Summer Institute for State High School World Literature teachers, he gave two lectures on African Drama and African Literature now permanently video-archived for Institute use. The between 1989-2000, he taught and/or led discussions on African Literature in a total of twenty Middle schools and High Schools in the Raleigh-Durham Triangle area and beyond, as part of the University outreach program. He is on the editorial board of African Literature Today, the oldest journal of African literature, which publishes annually in Nigeria, United Kingdom and the United States of America, and was the guest editor of its Number 30 focused on . He has also worked in various capacities with other journals and publishing houses, such as World Literature Today that publishes out of Oklahoma, Igbo Studies Review, African Studies Review out of Columbia, South Carolina, African Books Publishing Record, London, Obsidian II in Raleigh, North Carolina, Post-Modern Culture in Charlottesville, North Carolina, PMLA, Journal of the Modern Language association, Edwin Mellen Publishers, University Press of Florida, Routledge in London, Africa World Press in Trenton, New Jersey, and Peter Lang, New York. Since 2002, Professor Nwankwo has been writing journalistic columns for out of Houston, Texas and for AmericaMiDream out of Washington, DC.

    Professor Nwankwo has taught at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, East Carolina University, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Nigeria, Turkish University, Abuja, Nigeria and North Carolina A & T State University. Currently, he holds membership of several professional organizations, including the Modern Language Association of America, African Literature Association of America, African Studies Association of America, and Southern Conference on African-American Studies, Association of Nigerian Authors, Igbo Studies Association, and South East Region Conference on African Studies, Canadian Association of African Studies, and Amnesty International.

    Professor Nwankwo has received several awards, honors and nomination in recognition of his contributions to society, the Letters and sundry fields of studies where he has served as examiner and advisor for college undergraduate and graduate students. These include 2003 Nominee for Civitella Ranieri Fellowship, 2002 Research Grant for North Carolina State University International Programs, 2002 ANA-CADBURY Poetry Prize, 2001 Senior Fulbright Fellowship, 1996-97 and 1997-98 Nominee of Outstanding Teacher Award at North Carolina State University, 1995 College of Humanities and Social Sciences Research Grant at North Carolina State University,1998 Winner of the Association of Nigerian Authors Poetry Prize, 1987 Runner-up in All Nigeria Poetry Contest and all Africa poetry Contest, 1977/78 Certificate of Merit for minority students at the University of Texas at Austin,1971-1977 University of Nigeria Undergraduate Federal Scholarship, and 1977-1982 Nigeria Federal Scholarship for Graduate Studies.

    Professor Nwankwo’s guest appearances and presentations are numerous, attesting to demands on his time from varied institutions for his expertise:

    • 2016. Chairman. “Flora Nwapa’s Efuru at 50.” 2016 African Literature Association annual conference, Atlanta, Georgia.

    Lead Presenter. “Life and Culture in African Literature and the Humanities” International Conference. Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Nigeria.

    Guest Commentator. “The Lamb of God as a paradigm in African Religion, and Culture.” Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Nigeria.

    • 2015. Chairman. ANYA FULU UGO: International Conference on the Works of Obiora Udechukwu and El Anatsui, celebrated African Artists. University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria.

    • 2013. Guest Speaker. Chinua Achebe Memorial Lectures. An Association of Nigeria Authors event. International Conference Center, Abuja, Nigeria.

    Guest Poet. Remembering Chinua Achebe. Godfrey Okoye University Humanities Conference in collaboration with the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

    Guest Speaker. The contributions of Chinua Achebe to African Literature. Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu.

    Keynote Speaker. University of Nigeria special conference on the memory and contributions of Chinua Achebe to African Literature and thought.

    • 2012. Guest Speaker: “What is Trending in African Writing and Scholarship?” Exclusive Faculty Only Meeting. Faculty of Arts, University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

    Guest Speaker, Imo State University, Owerri. “The Modern, Nihilism, and African Literature and Society.”

    Lead Presenter: Anambra State University, Igbariam. “Eco-Imagination, African Literature and Society.”

    • 2009. Jessie Obidiegwu Memorial Lecture, one of two plenaries at the Women in Africa and the African Diaspora (WAAD) conference, August 3-8, Abuja, Nigeria.

    • 2008. Special Guest Poet reading “Bird of Distances”, a tribute for Chinua Achebe celebrating the fiftieth Anniversary of Things Fall Apart, America online& Class Special Presentations, Houston Texas, August 8.

    Special Guest, Okigbo Poetry Society, Abuja, Nigeria, May 23.

    Myth and Folktales in African Literature, presented at the Department of English, University of Nigeria, June 15.

    African Poets Roundtable at the African Literature Association annual convention, Western Illinois University, Macomb

    • 2007. African Literature association Guest Poet at the Accra Convention.

    Keynote Speaker, Albany State University, Albany, Georgia. Global Education Week.

    Keynote Speaker, University of Calabar ICALEL conference

    • 2006. “Elite Speaker” University of Calabar ICALEL Conference

    • 2005. Special Event, University of Nigeria Guest Poet.

    Guest Poet, Howard University, Igbo Studies Association, April 1-2.

    Keynote Speaker. International Conference on Literature and Languages, University of Calabar, Nigeria, Summer.

    Guest poet, Arab Women’s Activists Association Conference convened by Nawal el Saadawi. Cairo, Egypt.

    • 2004. University of South Carolina at Spartanburg. Poetry Reading

    Guest, Nigerian National Television Program’s “A.M. Express”

    Igbo Studies Association, Howard University. Poetry Reading and Panel Chair.

    Keynote Speaker. Dallas Sheraton Pan-Igbo CULTURAL Convention

    • 2003. Virginia Tech University. Poetry Reading

    Keynote Speaker, Association of Nigerian Authors Guest Speaker, Lagos

    Guest Artist, “Kakaki.” Africa Independent Television.

    Keynote Speaker. San Antonio World Igbo Convention

    • 2002. Berlin African literature Conference. Humboldt University. Book Signing GUEST, The Womb in the Heart and Other Poems. Versions and Subversions.

    African Literature Association Conference, San Diego.

    Book Signing GUEST, The Womb in the Heart and Other Poems.

    Auspices: African Books Collective and African Heritage Press.

    • 2001. Guest Speaker, Nigerian National Museum special event, Enugu.

    WAAD Conference. Madagascar. Host of Town Hall Meeting on 9/11 terror strike in New York & Guest Poet.

    • 2000. Achebe at 70. Keynote Speaker and Guest poet, German Embassy’s Goethe Institute, Lagos.

    Keynote Speaker, University of Nigeria Arts Festival.

    • 1998. Delivered THE FOUST LECTURE. Kutztown University, PA

    • 1995. Post-coloniality and the African Author. Guest Speaker Comparative Area Studies Symposium. Duke University, Durham.

    • 1994. African Literature: Critical Implications from the Cold War, University of Tulsa Conference on Post-coloniality. Guest with Bernth Lindfors, Gayatri Spivak, Ngugi wa Thiong’o

    Pennsylvania State University, Reading. Texts & Contexts conference.

    Guest poet with Gitahi Gitati, Imamu Baraka, Sonia Sanchez, Kamau Braithwaite, Sam Mbure, Frank Chipasula.


    Post-modernism, Post-coloniality, Nihilism and African Literature: Ohio State University African Literature Association Conference, 1995.

    Panel Chair on Flora Nwapa and presentation of “Flora Nwapa: The Lineaments of Her Politics.” Modern Language Association Conference, San Diego, 1994.

    Panel Chair on Women and Children’s Literature, University of Calabar, Nigeria. International Conference on African Literature, 1990.

    Puritanism in Igbo Children’s Literature. University of Calabar, Nigeria. International conference on African Literature, 1990.

    “Ngugi’s Short Stories: A Socio-Political Window on Post-Independence Kenya”. African Literature Association, Urbana, Illinois, 1983.

    “Development as Regression in the works of Ngugi”. African Literature Association Conference, Washington, D.C., 1982.

    The New Kingdom of man and Woman in The Trial of Dedan Kimathi,” African Studies Association Conference, Washington D.C. 1981.



    A D.I. Nwoga posthumous anthology, with afterword by Chimalum Nwankwo.

    Of the Deepest Shadows and the Prisons of Fire, African Heritage Press, 2010.

    Toward the Kingdom of Woman and Man: A Study of the Works of Ngugi Wa Thiong’o: Longman Publishers. 1992.


    Harsh Flutes (Forthcoming)

    The Womb in the Heart and Other Poems. African Heritage Press. 2002. ANA-CADBURY PRIZE

    Toward the Aerial Zone ASP, 1988. ANA PRIZE

    Feet of the Limping Dancers, ABIC, 1981.

    “A Walk into the Sea” and “Silent Steps” in Sandra Grayson’s ed. Revolution, Selections from In the Spirit of the Harlem Renaissance. Spring 2008/2009.

    “Water Spirits” in Poems About Water, Ed. Greg Mbajorgu, 2008.

    “Poem” and “Asphalt” in The New African Poetry. Ojaide and Sallah, Three Continents Press 1999: 187-190.

    “The Spirits of Volubilis”.ALA Bulletin.25:2. 1999: 55-56

    “Ivory Befits Her Ankles”. In Emerging Perspectives on Flora Nwapa. Ed. Marie Umeh, Africa World Press, 1998. 28.

    “Obutu,” “What Freedom,” and “The Elephants War” in Ed. Stewart Brown, African New Voices, Harlow: Longman, 1997.

    “In the Shelter of Spirits,” Texts & Contexts. Ed. Charles Cantalupo, Pearson Publishers, 1996: 305-308.

    Voices From Deep Water. Malthouse Press, 1996.

    “To a Lost Fire-bearer” in New Poets of West Africa. Lagos, Malthouse Press, 1995.

    “Asphalt” in the ALA Bulletin & West Africa, January 92, 1992: 215

    “The Difference” & “The Iroko” in The Griot, Fall 1990

    “Re-union” in Poets in their Youth. Lagos: Osiris Books, 1989: 35.

    “ Fragments,” etc. in A Harvest of New Nigerian Poetry, Nsukka: Anthill Press. 1988: 42-44

    “Woman of Our Dreams” etc. in Jungle Muse, 1987.

    “Word in the Craft” and “Valley of Lost Slaves” in West Africa, August 22, 1985.

    “The Lost Wind” and “Spirit Cycle” in Okike, No. 25, 1983.

    “Bush Dirge” in Okike, No. 18, 1981. Also in Angolan “Agostinho Neto Memorial Manuscript Collections,” in Rhythms of Creation edited by Prof. D. Nwoga.

    "Song of our Songs", "Homesickness", "Short Lines and Long Lines of Poetry" in Okike, No. 18, 1981.

    "Bush Talk" in the Greenfield Review, Vol. 8, Nos. 3&4, 1980.

    "Strange Bishop" and 'Massa's Vision" in Ufahamu, Vol. IX, No. 3, 1979/1980.


    The Trumpet Parable. (a play). ABIC, 1986. (Co-directed with L.O. Rafua for Nov. 28, 29, & 30, 1985, at the Arts Theater, University of Nigeria.) The play was chosen for the University of Nigeria Silver Jubilee Celebrations. December, 1986.

    Book Chapters

    “The Prevalence of the Failed Hero in the Igbo Consciousness” in The Hero in Igbo Life and Literature. ed. Chukwuma Azuonye and Donatus Nwoga. Enugu: Fourth Dimension Publishers, 2002. 277-286

    “The Metaphysical as Tangible Presence: Elechi Amadi’s The Concubine and the Great Ponds. Ed. Alan MacLeod. Subjects Worthy Fame, Sterling, 1988. 88-96.

    “The Feminist Impulse and Social Realism in Ama Ata Aidoo’s Our Sister Killjoy and No Sweetness Here. Ed. Carol Boyce Davies and Anne Adams. Ngambika: Studies of Women in African Literature. New Jersey: Africa World Press, 1986. 141-59.

    “Richard Wright: A Dubious Legacy” in Of Dreams Deferred: African Perspectives on African American Literature. Ed. Femi Ojo-Ade. Westport: Greenwood Press, 1996. 53-64.

    “‘I is’, The Past, Africa and Toni Morrison’s Novels” in Of Dreams Deferred, Dead or Alive: Perspectives on African and African American Literature. Westport: Greenwood Press,1996. 171-180.

    “Historicity and the un-Eve-ing of African Womanhood in Achebe’s Fiction” in Meditations on African Literature. Ed. Dubem Okafor. Westport: Greenwood Press, 2001. 79-88.

    “The Lake Goddess: The Roots of Nwapa’s Art,” in Emerging Perspectives on Flora Nwapa. Marie Umeh. Ed. Trenton: Africa World Press, 1998. 335-352.

    “Parallax Sightlines: Alice Walker’s Sisterhood and Key to Dreams.” In Obioma Nnaemeka. Ed. Re-focusing the Circumcision Debate: African Women and Imperialism. Trenton: Africa World Press, 2002 (forthcoming).


    Globalization, Literature and Languages: An All-knowing Subject and the Insentient Object in Currents in African Literature and the English Language, Vol. IV. May 2006: 32-42

    “Chinua Achebe and the Word: The Odenigbo Lecture, Cultural Imperialism and its Defensor Fidei.” In The Eagle in Ascendance: Papers from the Achebe International Symposium. Heinemann Educational Books, Ibadan, 2005: 103-115.

    Women and Dissidence in African Literature: Challenging the Great Imaginary” in Meridians, Fall 2006.

    “The Dilemma of Representation of Female Characters in African Literature” in Proceedings of the First International Conference on Women in Africa and the African Diaspora: Bridges Across Activism in the Academy.” Ed. Obioma Nnaemeka. Vol. 5. New Jersey: Africa World Press, 2002: 51-63.

    “Thinking African, Thinking Igbo.” In Sisterhood, Feminisms, and Power. Ed. Obioma Nnaemeka. Trenton: Africa World Press: 1998: 256-257

    “The Igbo Word in Flora Nwapa’s Craft.” Research in African Literatures. 26: 2, 1995: 42-53.

    “Emecheta’s Social Vision. Ufahamu, Vol. XVII: 1, 1988: 35-43.

    “Power and the New African Woman in Achebe’s Anthills of the Savannah in Critical Approaches to Achebe’s Anthills in the Savannah, Ed. Holger G. Ehling. Matatu Special Edition Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1991: 55-65.

    “Chinua Achebe and the Deep Dance.” ALA Bulletin. Vol 26. No. 4: 37-42.

    “African Literary Criticism: Critical imperatives from the Cold War.” The Literary Griot. Vol. 9 Reprinted in Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies.

    “Ngugi wa Thiong’o: The Limits of Pontification in Politics of Language in African Literature,” Annual Publication of the African Literature Association of America, 1988.

    “The Progressive Vision of womanhood in African Literature: Toward a Typology” The Literary Griot. Summer 1987. 6:2: 46-57.

    “Ngugi’s Devil on the Cross: A feminization of Chaos” Commonwealth 10: 2, 1988.

    “Text and Context: Oral Poetry as Performance” (co-authored).Uwa Ndi Igbo, No. 2. 1985.

    “From Passivity to Social Responsibility: The Role of Women in Ngugi’s Plays. Ufahamu Vol. XIV, No. 3.

    “Sifting the Grain from the Husk: An Overview of Ngugi’s Writings”. Literary Half Yearly Vol. XXV, No. 1, 1984: 2-15.

    “Uhuru Sasa, Freedom Now” Kunnappipi. Vol. IV, No.21, 1984.

    To Trans-emote a Cosmos : The Holistic Feminist Vision in Yvonne Vera’s Butterfly Burning. African Literature Today, Vol. 24: 2006 43-54

    The Muted Index of War in African Literature. African Literature Today. Vol 25, 2007:1-16.

    Globalization, Literature and Languages: An All-knowing Subject and the Insentient Object in Currents in African Literature and the English Language, Vol. IV, May 2006: 32-42


    Modernity, Nihilism: African Literature and Society

    A Confluence of Ontologies: Reading Jehovah, Wole Soyinka, and the West.

    Eco-Imagination: Myth, Literature, and Scientific Knowledge; and the Inexorable Triumph of the Eschatological.

    Teaching African Literature: Deductions, Leap of Faith, and Hypostasis

    A Typology of Imaginaries: African Literary Productions and Modernity

    Christopher Okigbo, African Writers and the Diffident Detours into Western Myths: A Post-Colonial Syndrome.

    Ethnic Politics and the Will to Power: Lessons from Other Ontologies.

    History and Ontology: The Evolving Worlds of Womanhood in Achebe’s Fiction.

    Culture, the Primordial and Governance in African Societies.


    Ogbeh, Epitaph for Simon Kisulu, Okike No. 26, 1984.

    Umeh, Songs of the Harmattan, Okike No. 26, 1984.

    Ngugi, Devil on the Cross, Obsidian, Winter, 1982.

    Heron, The Poetry of Okot P’Bitek, Umoja, 1980.

    Cox, Robert Elliot, Masters of the Drum. Obsidian II, 1996.

    Codjoe-Swayne, N. Otua, The Dancing Tortoise, African Book Publishing Record, 1996.

    Osofisan, Femi, Yungba Yungba and the Dance Contest, African Book Publishing Record. 1996.

    Kanengoni, Alexander, Effortless Tears. World Literature Today, 1995.

    Zeleeza, Paul, The Joys of Exile. World Literature Today, 1995.

    Jones, Durosimi, The Question of Language in African Literature. World Literature Today, 1994.

    Jones, Durosimi, Orature in African Literature. World Literature Today. 1994

    Cheyney-Coker, The Last Harmattan of Alusine Dunbar, African Studies Review, 1992.

    Nwagboso, Message from the Madhouse, World Literature Today, 1993.

    Jowitt, David, Nigerian English Usage: An Introduction, African Book Publishing Record, 1995.

    Saro-Wiwa, Ken, Pita Dumbrock’s Prison, World Literature Today, 1993.

    Uriom, The Adventures of Ikperikpeogu Warriors, African Book Publishing Record, 1992.

    Udenta O Udenta, Revolutionary Aesthetics in the African literary Process. African Book Publishing Record, 1992.

    Okechukwu, Chinwe. The Predicament. World Literature Today. Winter,1998.

    Okonjo, Chikwenye Ogunyemi. African Wo/man Palava. Signs (26) 1, 2000.

    Johnson-Odim, Cheryl and Nina Mba. For Women and the Nation: Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti. Signs (26) 1,2000.

    Anyidoho, K and J. Gibbs. Fontomfrom. Contemporary Ghanaian Literature, Film and Theater. Jouvert. 2000.


    THE GODDESS PROGRAM: Writing Flora Nwapa into the Global Picture (forthcoming critical study)

    COUNTER-SERENADE: Tangents and Perspectives on African Cultural Productions. (Editing)


    Love Song for Julian Assange and Poems from Love Mountain




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