Prof Grace Musila

Associate Professor
MA African Literature, DLitt African Literature (Wits)
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Tel: +2721 808 2046


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).
  • Rethinking Eastern African Literary and Intellectual Landscapes eds. James Ogude, Grace A. Musila and Dina Ligaga, Trenton, N.J: Africa World Press, 2012.
  • 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)
  • “Part-Time Africans, Europolitans and ‘Africa Lite.'” Journal of African Cultural Studies 28.9 (2016): 109 -113.
  • “Familial Cartographies in Contemporary East African Short Stories” Journal of African Cultural Studies Vol.25.3 (2013): 349-363
  • “Writing History’s Silences: Interview with Parselelo Kantai” Kunapipi: Journal of Postcolonial Writing Vol. xxxiv Issue 1(2012): 71-80
  • “Britain, Kenya and a Murder Mystery: Complicities in the Julie Ward Case” Kunapipi: Journal of Postcolonial Writing Vol. xxxiv Issue 1(2012): 42-59
  • “Bibliography of East and Central African Literature 2011” Journal of Commonwealth Literature Vol. 46.4 (2012)97-107
  • “African Humanities and the Global Academy: A Reflection on the North-South Intellectual Landscape” Africa Insight Vol. 41(2):1-14.
  • “The Redykyulass Generation’s Intellectual Interventions in Kenyan Public Life” Young: Nordic Journal of Youth Vol. 18.3(2010): 279-299.
  •  “Phallocracies and Gynocratic Transgressions: Gender, State Power and Kenyan Public Life” Africa Insight Vol. 39.1(2009): 39-57.
  • “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.
  • “Between Wildebeest, Noble Savages and Moi’s Kenya: Deceit and Cultural Illiteracies in the Quest for Julie Ward’s Killers” Journal of Commonwealth LiteratureVol. 43.1(2008): 115-133
  • “Remapping Urban Modernities: Julie Ward’s Death and the Kenyan Grapevine” Journal of Postcolonial Writing Vol. 44.1 (2008):37-47
  • “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
  • “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
  • Age, Power and Sex in Modern Kenya: A Tale of Two Marriages” Social Identities Vol. 11.2 (2005):113-129
  • [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.
  • “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.
  • “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
  • “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
  • “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
  •  “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
  • “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
  • ‘”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.
  • “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
  • “Remapping Urban Modernities: Julie Ward’s Death and the Kenyan Grapevine” in African City Textualities ed. Ranka Primorac, New York: Routledge, 2009 p39-50
  • “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.
  •  “A Man Can Try’: Negotiating Manhoods in Colonial Urban Spaces in Dambudzo Marechera’s House of Hunger and Yvonne Vera’s Butterfly Burning”  Manning the Nation:  Father figures in Zimbabwean Literature and Society  Eds. Robert Muponde and Kizito Muchemwa, Harare: Weaver Press,  2007, p142-15
  • ”’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
  • Eastern African Literary and Cultural Studies conference series. Partners: Makerere University, University of Nairobi and University of Dar es Salaam  (2013–ongoing)
  • 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)



  • “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”


  • “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”