Dr. Rita Nnodim

Associate Professor, Department Chair, Interdisciplinary Studies

Rita Nnodim
(413) 662-5378
94 Porter Street


Ph.D., West African Studies, University of
Birmingham, England, 2002

M.A., African Studies, Sociocultural
Anthropology, Education
, Johannes
Gutenberg University, 1996

D.A.F., Teaching German as a Foreign
Johannes Gutenberg
University Mainz, 1997

Courses Taught

IDST 150: Introduction to Cross-Cultural & Social Justice Studies

IDST 299: Prison, Punishment, and Society

IDST 360: Humor, Laughter, and Comedy

IDST 360: Bollywood:Popular Cinema in India and the Diaspora

IDST 360: Global Refugees of the 21st Century

IDST 360: Madness & Society

IDST 360: African Cinema

IDST 360: Globalization

IDST 401: Senior Seminar

About Me

At MCLA, I coordinate the Interdisciplinary Studies program and the Minor in Cross-cultural and Social Justice Studies. I also teach in both programs. With a broad range of academic interests ranging from Anglophone African and South Asian Literatures; Urban Studies and Cultural Geography; to Transnational and Global Studies, I am passionate about teaching across the disciplines, and engaging students in the analysis of important issues in culture and society, drawing on insights, concepts, and approaches from disciplines such as sociology, psychology, cultural anthropology, history, literature, and cultural studies.

My research focuses on city fiction in postcolonial Anglophone African and South Asian literature. In particular, I am interested in literary imaginings of urban spaces and identities, and in literary configurations of urban, national, and diasporic (un)belonging in contexts of marginalization, displacement, and dispossession in metropoles such as Bombay (Mumbai), Lagos, and London.

Selected Publications

(book chapter) R.Nnodim. “Female Alter-Native Publics, ImagiNations, and Cityness in Sefi Atta’s Lagos Novels. Ch. 5 in: Collins III, Walter P. (ed). Writing Contemporary Nigeria. How Sefi Atta illuminates African Culture and Tradition. Amherst, NY: Cambria Press, 2015.

(book chapter) R.NNODIM. “City, Identity and Dystopia: Writing Lagos in Contemporary Nigerian Novels.” African City Textualities. Ed. Ranka Primorac. Abingdon, Oxon, UK, and New York, USA: Routledge Publishers, 2010. 103-114.

(journal article) R. Nnodim. “Configuring Audiences in Yorùbá Novels, Print and Media Poetry.” Research in African Literatures, Special Issue “Creative Writing in African Languages.” Indiana University Press, Fall 2006, 37 (3). 156-177.

(book chapter) R. Nnodim.“Yorùbá Neotraditional Media Poetry: A Poetics of Interface.” Interfaces between the oral and the written / Interfaces entre l’écrit et l’oral. Versions and Subversions in African Literatures 2. Ed. Alain Ricard, and Flora Veit-Wild. Amsterdam, New York, NY: Rodopi Publishers, 2005. 247-266.

Selected Conference Presentations

“Outcast Voices in the Underbelly of the City – Anosh Irani’s The Cripple and his Talismans. Navigating Bombay’s streets and finding a humanism in ‘awe of the other’ while searching for a lost arm” MLA (Modern Language Association) International Symposium, at the Universidada Catolica Portuguesa, Lisbon 23-25 July 2019.

“Streetchildren, Pavement Dwellers, and Bombay’s Urban Poor – Literary Imaginings of (Dis)Placements, (Dis)Embodiments, and the ‘Right to Stay Put’,” 16th triennial EACLALS (European Association for Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies) conference, University of Oviedo, Spain, April 3-7, 2017.

“Expulsions, Dispossessions, and Displacements. Voice, Performance, and the Politics of Naming in NoViolet Bulawayo’s We Need New Names. African Literature Association (ALA) 42nd Annual Conference, Atlanta, GA, Kennesaw State & Emory University, April 6-9, 2016.

“Mongrel Cities, Cultural Citizenship, and Questions of Difference – Lagos, London, and Nigeria’s Urban Middle Class in Sefi Atta’s A Bit of Difference,” paper presented at the African Literature Association (ALA) 41st Annual Conference (“African Futures and Beyond: Visions and Transitions”), University of Bayreuth, Germany, June 3rd-6th 2015.

“Emotional Geographies, Memory Practices, and Urban Outcasts. Perspectives from Rohinton Mistry’s, Thrity Umrigar’s, and Anosh Irani’s Bombay Novels,” paper presented at the Modern Language Association (MLA) Annual Conference, Vancouver, Canada, January 8th-11th 2015.

(invited speaker). “The City Writ Small: Neighborhoods, Streets, and Apartments. ‘Cityness’ and Urban Conviviality in the Literary Imagining of Bombay and Lagos,” paper presented at the ASNEL (Association for the Study of the New Literatures in English) conference on “Re-Inventing the Postcolonial (in the) Metropolis” at Chemnitz University of Technology, Germany (May 9-11, 2013).

“Pens, Guns, and Words: Postcolonial Liberation Struggles and the (Re-)Making of History in Helon Habila’s Measuring Time” paper presented at the 39th Annual Meeting of the African Literature Association, College of Charleston, SC, March 20-24, 2013.

“Human Rights in a Carceral Society – Helon Habila’s Waiting for an Angel,” paper presented at the 38th Annual Meeting of the African Literature Association, SMU, Southern Methodist University, Dedman College, Dallas, Texas, April 11-15, 2012 on Human Rights, Literature, and the Visual Arts in Africa and the Diaspora.

Research Interests

Anglophone African and South Asian Literatures; Postcolonial Studies; Urban Studies and Cultural Geography; Transnational and Global Studies; Yoruba Language and Literature; World Cinema; Cultural Studies.

Office Hours

Monday, Wednesday, Friday 11-12
by appointment