Professor Ruth A L Bush

BA, MSc, DPhil

  • BS8 1TE

Personal profile

Research interests

My research and teaching concern African and Diasporic literary and cultural production, with a particular interests in material print cultures (i.e. histories of publishing and reading), translation, gender, institutions, and decolonial thought and practice.

My first academic monograph was Publishing Africa in French: Literary Institutions and Decolonization 1945–67 (LUP, 2016), which received the First Book Award (Scholarship) from the African Literature Association. The book brings together extensive archival material to unpack the impact of decolonization on the post-war French literary field. My second academic book, Translation Imperatives: African Literature and the Labour of Translators (CUP) was published in 2022. It draws on archival material, interviews, and co-production of translation workshops in Cameroon to discuss the politics of literary translation as it occurs on and beyond the African continent.

I have led or collaborated on a number of funded projects. These include the 'Dream to Change the World' project at the George Padmore Institute, where I wrote a history of New Beacon Books, the UK’s first radical black bookshop and publishing house. In 2016-18 I co-produced an exhibition and digital resource about the pioneering Senegalese women’s magazine, Awa: la revue de la femme noire, working with Dr Claire Ducournau (Université Paul Valéry-Montpellier 3) and partners at the Institut Fondamental d'Afrique Noire-Cheikh Anta Diop, the Musée de la Femme Henriette Bathily and the Archives nationales du Sénégal. I currently lead a 5-year ERC-funded project, 'The Creative Lives of African universities', with colleagues in Senegal, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire and Benin. Within current global debates over universities as contested spaces of knowledge production, this project aims to explore the representations and lived experiences of universities in four multilingual, historically francophone, cities.

My research has appeared in journals including Journal of Commonwealth LiteratureFrancosphèresJournal of Postcolonial Writing and Cahiers d’Etudes africaines. I am a founding member of the steering committee for the Centre for Black Humanities and sit on the board of Afrika Eye Festival

I teach a range of topics in African literature, translation, and cultural studies at undergraduate and postgraduate levels and welcome enquiries from prospective students. In recent years I have convened the following units: Introduction to Francophone African Literature, Journeys Through Poetry, African Narratives of Migration, Pan-Africanism: ideas and archives, Theorizing Violence. She also contributes to postgraduate units on Global Cultures of the Book, Migration and Mobility, Cultural Imagination of Gender, Black Humanities, and Research Skills. In 2016/17 I was Programme Director on the Foundation in Arts and Humanities, a 1-year course designed for students without conventional academic qualifications and which provides access to undergraduate degrees.  



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