Black Excellence: Ghanaian Professor Appointed As The Head Of Department Of English In Stanford University

by Duke Magazine

Ghanaian author cum professor has just been appointed the head of the Department of English at Stanford University. Ato Quayson is currently the Jean G. and Morris M. Doyle Professor in Interdisciplinary Studies and Professor of English at the University. He is set to resume office in September 2021. 

Quayson had his basic education and undergraduate in Ghana before moving to the UK to further his academic pursuit. Quayson graduated with first-class honors in English and Arabic from the University of Ghana and went on to the University of Cambridge for his Ph.D.

He began his career in academic as a Junior Research Fellowship at Wolfson College, Oxford before returning to Cambridge to become Reader in Commonwealth and Postcolonial Literature in the Faculty of English from 1995-2005.

During his time at Cambridge, Quayson was the Director of the Centre for African Studies and a Fellow of Pembroke College.

With an avid passion to impart knowledge has seen the scholar through upholding different offices at several institutions of higher learning.

Quayson left England for Canada where he became the Professor of English and inaugural Director of the Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies at the University of Toronto from 2005 to 2017. In 2016, he became University Professor at the University of Toronto, the highest distinction that the university can confer on an individual. 

Between 2017 and 2019, he was the Professor of African and Postcolonial Literature at New York University before joining Stanford where he currently works as the Jean G. and Morris M. Doyle Professor in Interdisciplinary Studies and Professor of English.

Quayson has authored many books and featured in several publications, including six monographs and eight edited volumes. Some of his works include, An Anthology of Literary Criticism and Theory (with Tejumola Olaniyan, 2007), Fathers and Daughters: An Anthology of Exploration (2008), Labor Migration, Human Trafficking, and Multinational Corporations, (with Antonela Arhin, 2012). His most recent work is Tragedy and Postcolonial Literature, published by Cambridge University Press, 2021.

Professor Quayson has also served in various capacities for institutions, boards, and fellowships. He was the President of the African Studies Association up until last year and was an elected fellow of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences, The British Academy, and the Royal Society of Canada.

In furtherance, he has held fellowships at the W.E.B Dubois Institute at Harvard University and the Research Centre in the Humanities at the Australian National University.

The Cambridge alumnus was also Chief Examiner in English of the International Baccalaureate and chair of the judges for the 2015 Etisalat Prize for Literature.

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