Stephanie Newell

Stephanie Newell's picture
Professor of English
63 High Street, LC 107, New Haven, CT 06520
Phone number: 

Ph.D., University of Birmingham

My research focuses on the public sphere in colonial West Africa and issues of gender, sexuality, and power as articulated through popular print cultures, including newspapers, pamphlets, posters, and magazines. I study how local intellectuals–ranging from school leavers to nationalist leaders–debated moral and political issues through the medium of print. I am especially interested in the cultural histories of printing and reading in Africa, and the spaces for local creativity and subversive resistance in colonial-era newspapers. My current research project, “The Cultural Politics of Dirt in Africa, 1880-present,” positions these interests in an interdisciplinary and comparative historical perspective, and includes the study of popular discourses about dirt in Nairobi and Lagos in relation to changing ideas about taste and disgust, sexuality, multiculturalism, and urbanization.


- Ghanaian Popular Fiction: ‘Thrilling Discoveries in Conjugal Life’, Oxford and Ohio: James Currey and Ohio University Press, 2000.

- Literary Culture in Colonial Ghana, Manchester and Indiana: Manchester U. P. and Indiana U.P, 2002.

- West African Literatures: Ways of Reading, Oxford Postcolonial Studies Series, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.

- The Forger’s Tale: The Search for Odeziaku, Ohio: Ohio University Press, 2006.

- The Power to Name: A History of Anonymity in Colonial West Africa. Ohio University Press, October 2013 (Finalist for the Herskovits Award, 2014).


- ‘Popular Culture and Postcolonial Literary Production: Popular Writing in Africa,’ The Cambridge History of Postcolonial Literature, ed. Ato Quayson. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012, pp. 1006-23.

- ‘African Literary Histories and History in African Literatures,’ Oxford Companion to Modern African History, eds. Richard Reid and John Parker. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013, pp. 475-91.

- ‘Dirty Familiars: Colonial Encounters in African Cities,’ Global Garbage: Excess, Waste and Abandonment in the Contemporary City, eds. Christoph Lindner and Miriam Meissner. New York and London: Routledge, 2015, forthcoming.

- ‘From Corpse to Corpus: The Printing of Death in Colonial West Africa’, and ‘Afterword,’ African Print Cultures, eds. Derek Peterson et al. Ann Arbor: Michigan UP, 2016, forthcoming.


- ‘Paradoxes of Press Freedom in Colonial West Africa,’ Media History, forthcoming Spring 2016 

- ‘Corresponding with the City: Self-Help Literature in Urban West Africa,’ Journal of Postcolonial Writing, Vol. 44, No.1, pp.15-27, 2008.

- ‘Dirty Whites: “Ruffian-Writing” in Colonial West Africa,’ Research in African Literatures, Vol. 39, No. 4, 1-15, 2008.

- ‘Newspapers, New Spaces, New Writers: The First World War and Print Culture in Colonial Ghana.’ Research in African Literatures Vol. 40, No. 2, pp. 1-15, 2009.

- ‘Local Cosmopolitans in Colonial West Africa,’ Journal of Commonwealth Literature, Vol. 46, No.1, pp.103-117, 2011.

- ‘Articulating Empire: Newspaper Readerships in Colonial West Africa,’ New Formations, Vol. 73, pp.26-42, 2011.


South African Writing After Apartheid (Freshman Seminar); Postcolonial World Literatures, 1945-present (Junior Seminar); Contemporary African Fiction: Challenges to Realism (Senior Seminar); African Urban Cultures: Mediations of the City (Graduate Seminar).