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Robert Cancel

Ph.D. (Wisconsin-Madison)

Professor of African and Comparative Literature

Quarterly Office Hours


Affiliated Faculty for Department of Ethnic Studies

Oral Literature; Modern African Literature and Film; Caribbean Literature

Selected Publication:
 ’Heads ‘a go roll down Sandy Gully’: Political Jamaican Reggae of the early 1970s. Journal of Commonwealth and Postcolonial Studies. Vol. 1, no. 2, Fall 2013.
 Storytelling in Northern Zambia: Theory, Method, Practice and Other Necessary Fictions Cambridge:  Open Book Publishers, July 2013. (Book)
 African Diasporas:  Ancestors, Migrations and Boundaries, co-edited with Winifred Woodhull, Trenton, NJ:  Africa World Press, 2008. (Co-Edited Book)
 Asserting/Inventing Traditions on the Luapula: The Lunda Mutomboko Festival. African Arts, 34.3:  12-25, 2006.
 3000 word entry on Lunda folklore, Encyclopedia of World Folklore [Six Volumes].  Greenwood Publishing Co., William M. Clements, ed., 2005.
 "Festivals:  Mutomboko Festival of the Lunda" in African Folklore: An Encyclopedia, Philip M. Peek and Kwesi Yankah, eds.  New York and London:  Routledge, 2004, pp. 123-25.  [Plus four more shorter entries on oral literature]
 "’Come Back South Africa’:  Cinematic Representations of Apartheid over Three Eras of Resistance." Focus on African Film, Francoise Pfaff, ed. Bloomington:  Indiana University Press, 2004. (Book Chapter)
 "Gestures of Belonging and Claiming Birth Rights:  Short Stories by Bessie Head and Ama Ata Aidoo." Critical Perspectives on Bessie Head, Huma Ibrahim, ed. Trenton, New Jersey:  Africa World Press, 2003.  (Book Chapter)
 ’Whose Africa is it, Anyway?’ Or, What Exactly is Skip Gates Signifyin’?" "First Word," African Arts, 33.2: 1, 3, 6, 8, 10, 86-88, 2000. (Solicited Review Essay)
 "Ngugi wa Thiong’o." In African Writers, C. Brian Cox, ed.  Charles Scribner’s Sons; London:  Simon and Schuster Prentice Hall International, 1997, pp. 537-55.
 "Nadine Gordimer Meets Ngugi wa Thiong’o: Text into Film in ‘Oral History’." Research in African Literatures, 26.3:  38-48, 1995.
 Literature in African Languages: Perspectives on Culture and Identity.”  In A History of Twentieth-Century African Literature, Oyekan Owomoyela, ed.  London and Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1993, pp. 285-310. (Book Chapter)
 "Three African (Oral) Narrative Versions: Text, Tradition and Performance." The American Journal of Semiotics, VI, 1, 1988-89, pp. 85-109.
 Allegorical Speculation in an Oral Society: The Tabwa Narrative Tradition.  Series in Modern Philology, no. 122. Berkeley:  University of California Press, 1989. (Book)