I am now at work on a second book project called The African Novel of Ideas: Intellection in the Age of Global Writing. It charts the relationship between the novel and philosophy at key junctures of African intellectual life, from the early 20th century through the present day. Starting with the tradition of Fante statesmanship in Ghana; moving through liberationist thought in the mid-century Zimbabwean mission school; mapping recent experiments with incorporating indigenous belief systems into narrative form; and arriving, finally, at a genre I call the “global philosophical novel” in works from the continent’s southern region, I construct a narrative that contrasts the early marginality of the African novel vis-à-vis philosophy with the later marginality of philosophy in literary discourse. Whereas philosophy “naturalizes” the novel at the turn of the twentieth century, I argue that the global era sees this relationship reversed.
In addition, I have two essays forthcoming: one on aviation, metonymy, and a renewed formal emphasis on progress in contemporary southern African regional novels by Eben Venter and Jamala Safari (in Research in African Literatures), and one on Zimbabwean novelistic structures of argument (in NOVEL: A Forum on Fiction).
Along with my colleague Nathan Suhr-Sytsma (Emory University), I recently co-edited a special issue of Research in African Literatures on religion and secularity. It features contributions from scholars working across a wide range of African traditions, located in the United States, Africa, and Europe.