Department of English

University of Toronto

Quayson, Ato

Ato Quayson 2Ato Quayson
University Professor and Director, Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies; Graduate Faculty; Undergraduate Instructor
Office Phone: 416-946-0384
Office Location: Jackman Humanities Building, Room 926
Faculty Bookshelf
Office Hours and/or Leave Status: By appointment only.


Teaching and Research Interests
Postcolonial and Diasporic Writing, Literary Theory, Tragedy (from the Greeks to the present day), Shakespeare, Representations of Disability, Magical Realism and Postmodernism, Urban Studies.

BA (Ghana, 1989), PhD (Cambridge, 1995), FRSC


General Editor, Cambridge Journal of Postcolonial Literary Inquiry.

Oxford St., Accra; Urban Evolution, Street Life and Itineraries of the Transnational (Duke University Press, 2014).

Blackwell Companion to Diaspora and Transnationalism Studies, ed. with Girish Daswani (New York: Blackwell, 2013).

Ed., The Cambridge History of Postcolonial Literature (2 volumes), Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012. 

Labour Migration, Human Trafficking and Multinational Corporations (with Antonela Arhin; New York: Routledge, 2012).

Fathers and Daughters: An Anthology of Exploration, ed., (Oxford: Ayebia Publishers, 2008).

Aesthetic Nervousness: Disability and the Crisis of Representation (New York: Columbia University Press, 2007). 

African Literature: An Anthology of Theory and Criticism (with Tejumola Olaniyan; Oxford: Blackwell, 2007). 

Calibrations: Reading for the Social (Minneapolis: Minnesota University Press, 2003). 

Relocating Postcolonialism (with David Theo Goldberg; Oxford: Blackwell, 2002). 

Postcolonialism: Theory, Practice or Process? (Oxford: Blackwell, 2000). 

Strategic Transformations in Nigerian Writing (Oxford and Bloomington: James Currey and Indiana University Press, 1997).

He also wrote the Introduction and Notes to the Penguin Classics edition of Nelson Mandela's,No Easy Walk to Freedom (London: Penguin, 2002).

Selection of Essays
Winnie’s Penelope: On Solitude and the Comfort of Strangers”, Stanford Arcade.

“If you don’t know Mandela, please shut up!: Victims of Enchantment and the Reign of Emblems”, Stanford Arcade.

I can, therefore I shall: Identifications from the Novel to Facebook”, Stanford Arcade.

Concerning Street Life in the African City" (1). Stanford Arcade.

Concerning Street Life in the African City" (2): Aspects of an Expressive Fragment”, Stanford Arcade.

Transitive Measures: Tragedy and Existentialism in African Literature”, Stanford Arcade.

’I move into the gates, demanding. . .’: A Tribute to Kofi Awoonor”.

“The Sighs of History: Postcolonial Debris and the Question of (Literary) History, New Literary History 43.1, (2012): 359-370.

“Periods versus Concepts: Space Making and the Question of Postcolonial Literary History:, PMLA 127.2 (2012): 342-348.

“Coevalness, Recursivity and the Feet of Lionel Messi”, Special Forum on Jean and John Comaroff, Theory from the South, Cultural Anthropology27.1, 2012.

“Self-Writing and Existential Alienation in African Literature: Chinua Achebe’s Arrow of God”, Research in African Literatures 42.2 (March, 2011): 30-45.

“Kòbòlò Poetics: African Urban Scripts and Readerships”, New Literary History 41.1 (2010): 413-438.

“Signs of the Times: Discourse Ecologies and Street Life”, City & Society 22.1 (2010): 77-96.

“Autism, Narrative, and Emotions: On Samuel Beckett’s Murphy” Special Issue on Narrative and the Emotions, The University of Toronto Quarterly, 79.2 (2010): 838-865.

“Colonial Space-making and hybridizing history, or ‘Are the Indians of East Africa Africans or Indians?’” in Diasporas: Concepts, Intersections, Identities, eds. Kim Knott and Sean McLoughlin, (London: Zed Books, 2010), pp. 243-248.

“Transitive Measures: Tragedy and Existentialism in African Writing”, The Johannesburg Book Salon, Vol. 1 (2009).

Untinkable Nigeriana: The Social Imaginary of District 9” JWTC Blog, October 16, 2009.

“Magical Realism and African Literature” in The Cambridge Companion to the African Novel, edited by Abiola Irele, (Cambridge: Cambridge Univesity Press, 2009), pp. 159-176.

"Bobo, the Snowflake Catcher" in Fathers and Daughters: An Anthology of Exploration, ed. Ato Quayson (Oxford: Ayebia Publishers, 2008), pp. 131-144.

“Diaspora Studies, Area Studies, and Critical Pedagogies”. Guest Editor of special issue of Comparative Studies in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, 27.3 ( 2007): 580-590.

“’I no Be Like You: Accra in Life and Literature”, PMLA, 122.1 (January), 2007.

“Fecundities of the Unexpected: Magical Realism, Narrative and History” in The Novel Vol 1: History, Geography, and Culture, edited by Franco Moretti (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006), pp. 726-758.

“Translations and Transnationals: Pre- and Post-Colonial”, Epilogue to Postcolonial Approaches to the Middle Ages: Translating Cultures, eds Ananya Kabir and Deanne Williams, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2005), pp. 253-268.

Modernism and Postmodernism in African Literature,” Cambridge Companion to African Literature, edited by Abiola Irele and Simon Gikandi, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), pp. 824-852.

Current Research
Currently working on a monograph on Postcolonial Literary Tragedy.

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