Stockholm university

Research project African Women Writers

This project has explored women writers in Nigeria and Tanzania in the context of world literature, with an emphasis on gender, digital media and worldmaking. The research has combined anthropological theory and method with theories on world literature.

The ethnographic study has focused on a select number of female authors and the cultural circumstances of their literary production. In addition to contemporary authors working in Nigeria and Tanzania, the project has also explored the revival of Flora Nwapa's literary legacy. The literary works of these authors span different genres (children's literature, short stories, poetry, novels), with a strong commitment to strengthening the position of women in society, through a creolized aesthetic based on a deep storytelling tradition. The project was carried out in 2016-2021, with short periods of fieldwork in Nigeria and Tanzania from 2016 to 2018. The research results have been published in articles, book chapters and a monograph, as well as a documentary film.

Here is the project web site


Project description

This project was part of a research programme on world literatures (2016-2021): Cosmopolitan and Vernacular Dynamics in World Literatures

This research programme has explored how aesthetic values, genres, forms, literary communities and individual authorships are shaped in a trade-off between the local and the global, between the national and the international, between hegemonic and dominated languages, between the North and the South, the East and the West, and the South and the South. Focusing on such productive tensions between cosmopolitan and vernacular tendencies, the 26 sub-projects also investigated how literature can advance the critical understanding of cosmopolitanism - historically, and in our contemporary moment shaped by globalisation, resurgent nationalisms, regionalisms, and racisms. Research questions clustered around translation and circulation, literary history, migration, multilingualism, and the "world-making" capacity of literature. Methodologically, it engaged with world literature studies, critical theory, postcolonial studies, book history, translation studies, and anthropology. The research programme was led by Prof. Stefan Helgesson, Department of English at Stockholm University and brought together 26 researchers from six Swedish Universities. This multidisciplinary programme was supported by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond (RJ), Dnr. M15-0343:1, Web site.


Project members

Project managers

Paula Uimonen


Department of Social Anthropology
Paula Uimonen