I. Iyi-Eweka Chou
K. W. Kgositsile
Daniel P. Kunene
Ryan Eric Lamb
Sarah L. Manyika
Martin A. Ramos
S. D. Partington
Marcia Lynx Qualey
Marilyn H. Mills
John Stephen Rae
Adesanmi is the winner of the inaugural Penguin
Prize for African Writing (2010) in the non-fiction category.
He is a scholar of Francophone and Anglophone African
and Black Diasporic literatures. He is a two-time Fellow of the
French Institute of South Africa (IFAS). His first book, The Wayfarer and
Other Poems, won the Association of Nigerian Authors Poetry Prize in 2001.
He is currently an Associate professor of Literature, French,
and African Studies at Carleton University, Ottawa Canada, and Director,
Project on New African Literatures (PONAL).
In African Writing:
: In your ‘day job’, you teach in a Canadian University, but you are also a widely-published commentator on Africana. You don’t believe in the need for distance in the practice of academia, then?
Pius Adesanmi: Thank you for your question. I am a public intellectual and a chronicler of Africa. I have wholly embraced that vocation with its generous hassles and miserly joys. The condition of Nigeria and Africa today are too desperate for me to find any joy or personal satisfaction in producing exclusive literary-theoretical jargons that could only be understood by colleagues and advanced doctoral students.
And, no, I do not believe in the need for discursive boundaries between town and gown. My philosophy of intellection and knowledge production has been shaped over the years by a very broad range of populist (I hope one can still use that term in a non-pejorative sense today) traditions. The writer and public intellectual that I am today were shaped by all the big isms of the political and ideological Left even with all their warts. I strive constantly to hone an intellectual praxis marked by its embeddedness in the social, an underlying immersion in volk consciousness, a rootedness in the idioms of the street, and a permanent suspicion of power that cannot in anyway be cocooned in academia. I am just too restless for the epistemic isolation that is academe.
Copyright © African Writing Ltd & respective copyright owners. Enquiries to permissions(at)african-writing.com.