Stephanie Newell

Stephanie Newell's picture
George M. Bodman Professor of English

Ph.D., University of Birmingham

My research focuses on media audiences in colonial West Africa and creative writing as articulated through local print cultures, including newspapers, pamphlets, novels, and magazines. 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 book project, Newsprint Worlds: Local Literary Creativity in Colonial West Africa, focuses on the central role of African-owned newspapers in creating platforms and publics for the earliest West African creative writers in English.

Selected Publications

- Histories of Dirt in West Africa: Media and Urban Life in Colonial and Postcolonial Lagos (Duke University Press, 2020).

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

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

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

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

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

Recent Book Chapters

“Disconnecting the ’Phone: Anglo-Scribes and Anglo-Literates in Early Twentieth-Century West African Newspapers.” In Grace Musila (ed.), Routledge Handbook of African Popular Culture. Forthcoming, 2021.

- “Henry Ofori, Interviewed by Stephanie Newell.” Obsidian: Literature and Arts in the African Diaspora 44 (2), pp. 154-160, 2018.

- ‘Narrative,’ in Critical Terms for the Study of Africa, eds. Guarav Desai and Adeline Masquelier. Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2018, pp. 245-259.

- Stephanie Newell et al., ‘Dirty Methods as Ethical Methods? In the Field with “The Cultural Politics of Dirt in Africa, 1880-present”.’ Routledge International Handbook of Interdisciplinary Research Methods, eds. Celia Lury et al. London and NY: Routledge, 2018, pp. 248-265.

- ‘Researching the Cultural Politics of Dirt in Lagos,’ Theorizing Fieldwork in the Humanities: Undisciplined Approaches to the Global South, eds. Shalini Puri and Debra A. Castillo, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 193-211, 2016.

- ‘Afterword,’ African Print Cultures, eds. Derek Peterson et al., Ann Arbor: Michigan UP, pp. 425-433, 2016.

- ‘From Corpse to Corpus: The Printing of Death in Colonial West Africa,’ African Print Cultures, eds. Derek Peterson et al., Ann Arbor: Michigan UP, pp. 389-424, 2016.

- ‘Dirty Familiars: Colonial Encounters in African Cities,’ Global Garbage: Urban Imaginaries of Excess, Waste and Abandonment in the Contemporary City, eds. Christoph Lindner and Miriam Meissner. New York and London: Routledge, pp. 44-64, 2015.

- Karin Barber & Stephanie Newell, ‘Speaking Out: Dissent and Creativity in the Colonial Era and Beyond,’ West Africa: Word, Symbol, Song, eds. Gus Casely-Hayford, Janet Topp-Fargion and Marion Wallace, London: The British Library, pp. 100-131, 2015.

- ‘African Literary Histories and History in African Literatures,’ Oxford Companion to Modern African History, eds. Richard Reid and John Parker. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 475-491, 2013.

- ‘Remembering J. M. Stuart-Young of Onitsha, Colonial Nigeria,’ Onitsha at the Millenium, ed. Uwecha Nzegwu. New York: Africa Resource Press, pp. 221-233, 2013.

- ‘African Popular Literature and the Postcolonial Literary Imagination,’ The History of Postcolonial Literature, ed. Ato Quayson. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 106-23, 2012.

- ‘West African Literature,’ The Encyclopedia of Twentieth-Century Fiction, ed. Brian Shaffer. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012.

Recent Articles

- “Newsprint Worlds and Reading Publics in Colonial Contexts.” Itinerario: Journal of Imperial and Global Interactions (Special Issue on Colonial Public Spheres and the Worlds of Print), forthcoming, 2020.

- “Graphic Fictions: Reader Research and the Making of a Comic Strip in 1950s ‘British West Africa.’” Research in African Literatures, forthcoming, 2020.

- ‘Introduction: Interview with Henri Ofori,’ Obsidian: Literature and Arts in the African Diaspora (1,600 words)2018.

‘Screening Dirt: Colonial Film Audiences and the Problem of Spectatorship,’ Social Dynamics (7,500 words), Vol. 44, No. 1, pp. 6-20, 2018.

- ‘The Last Laugh: African Audience Responses to Colonial Health Propaganda Films,’ Cambridge Journal of Postcolonial Literary Inquiry, Vol. 4, No.3, pp. 347-361, 2017.

- ‘Life Writing in the Colonial Archives: The Case of Nnamdi Azikiwe (1904-96) of Colonial Nigeria’, Life Writing, Vol. 33, No. 3, pp. 307-321, 2016.

- ‘Paradoxes of Press Freedom in Colonial West Africa,’ Journal of Media History, Vol. 22, No. 1, pp. 101-112, 2016.

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

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