Grace A. Musila

MA African Literature, DLitt African Literature (WITS) . Associate Professor


Postcolonial literatures
African literatures and popular cultures
East African fiction and popular media
Gender studies
Film studies
Literatures of the black Diaspora. 


Eastern and Southern African literary and cultural studies
African encounters with modernity
Masculinities, femininities and power in Africa
Power and the postcolonial state in Africa
Postcolonial Whiteness in Africa
African Intellectual Traditions and the Literary Archive




A Death Retold in Truth and Rumour: Kenya, Britain and the Julie Ward Murder. James Currey/Boydell &

 Brewer (2015)


Co-edited book

Rethinking Eastern African Literary and Intellectual Landscapes eds. James Ogude, Grace A. Musila and Dina Ligaga, Trenton, N.J: Africa World Press, 2012.


Guest –edited journals

  • Kunapipi: Journal of Postcolonial Writing Vol. xxxiv Issue 1(2012) [with Prof. Maria Olaussen]
  • African Studies  Vol 75.2: Special Issue. Eastern African Interventions (co-editor: Dina Ligaga)
  • Journal of African Cultural Studies (forthcoming)


Articles in peer-reviewed journals

1.       "Part-Time Africans, Europolitans and 'Africa Lite.'" Journal of African Cultural Studies 28.9 (2016): 109 -113.


2.        "Familial Cartographies in Contemporary East African Short Stories" Journal of African Cultural Studies Vol.25.3 (2013): 349-363


3.        "Writing History's Silences: Interview with Parselelo Kantai" Kunapipi: Journal of Postcolonial Writing Vol. xxxiv Issue 1(2012): 71-80


4.        "Britain, Kenya and a Murder Mystery: Complicities in the Julie Ward Case" Kunapipi: Journal of Postcolonial Writing Vol. xxxiv Issue 1(2012): 42-59


5.        "Bibliography of East and Central African Literature 2011" Journal of Commonwealth Literature Vol. 46.4 (2012)97-107


6.        "African Humanities and the Global Academy: A Reflection on the North-South Intellectual Landscape" Africa Insight Vol. 41(2):1-14.

7.       "The Redykyulass Generation's Intellectual Interventions in Kenyan Public Life" Young: Nordic Journal of Youth Vol. 18.3(2010): 279-299.

8.        "Phallocracies and Gynocratic Transgressions: Gender, State Power and Kenyan Public Life" Africa Insight Vol. 39.1(2009): 39-57.

9.       "Inscribing Memories on Dead Bodies: Sex Gender and State Power in the Julie Ward Death in Kenya" Journal of Eastern African Studies Vol. 2.3(2008): 439-455.

10.     "Between Wildebeest, Noble Savages and Moi's Kenya: Deceit and Cultural Illiteracies in the Quest for Julie Ward's Killers" Journal of Commonwealth Literature Vol. 43.1(2008): 115-133

11.    "Remapping Urban Modernities: Julie Ward's Death and the Kenyan Grapevine" Journal of Postcolonial Writing Vol. 44.1 (2008):37-47

12.     "Between Seventh Street, Goblins and Ordinary People: Textures of Resilience in Brian Chikwava's Short Fiction" English Studies in Africa Vol. 50.2 (2007):133-150

13.    "Embodying Experience and Agency in Yvonne Vera's Without a Name and Butterfly Burning" in Research in African Literatures Vol. 38.2 (2007):49-63

14.     "Age, Power and Sex in Modern Kenya: A Tale of Two Marriages" Social Identities Vol. 11.2 (2005):113-129

Chapters in books

  1.  [Forthcoming] "Mothers, Widows and the Burden of Representation: The Life Stories of Wambui Waiyaki-Otieno and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela" in Feminist Perspectives on Winnie Madikizela-Mandela ed. Pumla Dineo Gqola.
  2.  "Unoka, Okonkwo and Ezeulu's Grandsons in Taiye Selasi's Ghana Must Go and Dinaw Mengestu's How to Read the Air." In Achebe and His Legacies ed. James Ogude HSRC Press, 2015.

  3. "Archives of the present in Parselelo Kantai's Writing" in Popular Arts and the Episteme of the Everyday eds. Stephanie Newell and Onookome Okome, Routledge, 2014. p244-265

  4.  "Laughing at the Rainbow's Cracks? Blackness, Whiteness and the Ambivalences of South African Stand-up Comedy" in Arts of Resistance eds. Wendy Willlems and Ebenezer Obadare, James Currey, 2014. p147-166

  5. "Beyond the Frame of History: Colonial Modernity, Love and Freedom in Yvonne Vera's Without a Name, Butterfly Burning and The Stone Virgins' in Emerging Perspectives on Yvonne Vera ed. Pauline Hodgson-Katiyo and Helen Cousins, Africa World Press, 2012. p3-22

  6.  "Subterranean Faultlines: Representations of Robert Mugabe in South African Press Cartoons" [with Dumisani Moyo] in The Multiple Dimensions of the Zimbabwean Crisis eds. Sarah Chiumbu and Muchaparara Musemwa, HSRC Press, 2012. p199-224

  7. "Violent Masculinities and the Phallocratic Aesthetics of Power in Kenya" in The New Violent Cartography: Geoanalysis after the Aesthetic Turn eds. Samson Opondo and Michael Shapiro, Routledge, 2012. p151-170

  8.  '"Farms in Africa': Wildlife Tourism, Conservation and Whiteness in Postcolonial Kenya" in Rethinking Eastern African Literary and Intellectual Landscapes eds. James Ogude, Grace A. Musila and Dina Ligaga, Trenton, N.J: Africa World Press, 2012, p223-244.

  9. "Women in the Arts in Kenya+21 Nairobi"in Promises and Realities: Taking Stock of the 3rd UN International Women's Conference ed Sara Ruto et al, Nairobi: African Woman and Child Feature, 2009 p147-174

  10. "Remapping Urban Modernities: Julie Ward's Death and the Kenyan Grapevine" in African City Textualities ed. Ranka Primorac, New York: Routledge, 2009 p39-50

  11. "Representations of Africa in the Western Imagination: Out of Africa (1985) and The Constant Gardener (2005)" Towards Africa-Oriented Risk Analysis Models  Eds. Korwa Adar and Richard Iroanya: Africa Institute of South Africa: Pretoria, 2008.

  12.  "A Man Can Try': Negotiating Manhoods in Colonial Urban Spaces in Dambudzo Marechera's House of Hunger and Yvonne Vera's Butterfly BurningManning the Nation:  Father figures in Zimbabwean Literature and Society  Eds. Robert Muponde and Kizito Muchemwa, Harare: Weaver Press,  2007, p142-15

  13.  '''Democrazy': Laughter in GADO's Editorial Cartoons 1992 – 1999" In Urban Legends, Colonial Myths: Popular Culture and Literature in East Africa Eds. James Ogude and Joyce Nyairo, New Jersey, Trenton:  Africa World Press, 2007 p 97-124


Postgraduate supervision

  • Doctoral
    • "Narrated Histories in the Kenyan Novel, 1963 – 2013" 
    • "Trauma in Selected East African Fiction and Life Writing of Civil War
    • "Contemporary Textual Configurations of Maasainess" (co-supervisor)
    •  "Representations of Troubled Childhoods in Post-1990 African Fiction"
    • "Depictions of Disability in Contemporary African Imaginaries"
    •  "The Making and Re-making of Gender in Tanzanian Fiction"
  • MA (full thesis)
    • "Representations of Disability in Late 20th Century American Women's Writing"
    • "The Zimbabwean Crisis and Locations of Writing Zimbabwe's 'Lost Decade'"
    • "Configurations of Identity in Literary Portraits of Conflict in the Horn of Africa"


Collaborative projects

  • Eastern African Literary and Cultural Studies conference series

                   Partners: Makerere University, University of Nairobi and University of Dar es Salaam  (2013 –


  • Arts of Survival: Recasting Lives in African Cities

          Partners: Indiana University, Bloomington, University of Pretoria, Stellenbosch University (2016)

  • Globalisation and the Body: Gender and Nationalism

                   Partners: Abo Akademi University, University of Lapland, University of the Western Cape,

                    Stellenbosch University, Makerere University, University of Nairobi, Addis Ababa University,

                   (2009 - 2014)


Section Editor   – Postcolonial Text

Bibliographer - Journal of Commonwealth Literature

Editorial Advisory Board Member: Journal of African Cultural Studies

Board member: Agenda: Feminist Media

EC Member – African Literature Association


Reviews, Tributes, Interviews

Review: Creating Postcolonial Literature: African Writers and British Publishers Caroline Davis in Africa Vol 85.2(2015)

Review: "An Invitation to Imagine Africa Otherwise: Imagine Africa" [Review] [2011]

Review: "Old Stereotypes, New Robes: The Constant Gardener"Jahazi: Journal of Arts Culture and Performance Vol. 1.2 (2007):37-38

 Interview: "We want to boost African Studies on the continent" [2015]

Tribute: 'Soundtracks of our Youth: How (Not) to Remember Wambui Waiyaki-Otieno' Pambazuka News [2011].

"Gossiping with Nkrumah in Accra"

"Me, Obama and Sarah Baartman in Istanbul" (2013)

"Black Laughter and Suing Pontius Pilate"

"Sex Education on a Street Kerb"