Get to Know Dr. Pat Emenyonu of Africana Studies and the English Department!

Dr. Pat Emenyonu was the Thompson Center For Learning & Teaching’s February 2015 Faculty Focus. Her article, titled “’Glocal’ Agent: Building Bridges Across Campus and Continent” is available across UM-Flint and on the TCLT site.

Dr. Emenyonu is also a driving member of the African/African Diaspora Visiting Artist Series which is bringing South African author Sindiwe Magona to campus and the Flint community March 18th-20th.

Dr. Pat Emenyonu of the Africana Studies Department and the English Department at UM-Flint.

 Name: Dr. Pat Emenyonu
Title: Lecturer II
Department: Africana Studies and English

Classes I teach:
• Women Writers of the African World (AFA 318W1)
• Survey of African Literature (AFA 206/ENG 209W1)
• Afro/Latino/Caribbean Women Writers (AFA/CPL/WGS 216W1)
• Teaching Africana Studies (AFA 399M1)
• Improving Reading in Mid & Sec School (ENG 410/510)

Professional Interests, Activities, or Publications:
Attendance at the Annual African Literature Association Conferences has helped to focus my research on themes and directions that the panels are organized around. Publications have resulted from some of the papers presented at past conferences. As Assistant Editor of the journal African Literature Today, I have also helped to direct the themes of the issues which often reflect interests and concerns that I have. Bringing African writers to campus also has brought their works and analysis of their writing up close and personal. (see chapters in the book below)

“Teenage Readers in Conversation with Nawal el Saadawi,” in Emerging Perspectives on Nawal el Saadawi. Ernest N. Emenyonu & Maureen N. Eke (Eds.).Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 2010.

“Nawal el Saadawi and Creativity, Dissodence and Women: An International Conference Report,” in Emerging Perspectives on Nawal el Saadwi. Ernest N. Emenyonu & Maureen N. Eke (Eds.).Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 2010.

“Teaching African Literature Online in America: A University of Michigan-Flint Initiative.” African Literature Today, #29. 2011. Edited by Ernest N. Emenyonu.

Girls at War: Achebe’s Short Stories.” Achebe’s Women: Imagism and Power. Helen Chukwuma (Ed.). Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 2012.

Research or Specific Areas of Interest:
African children’s literature and African/African Diasporan women’s writing

• BA History, Oberlin College
• MA African Lang & Lit, University of Wisconsin, Madison
• EdS University of Colorado, Curriculum & Reding
• PhD University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Curriculum & Reading

• African Literature Association
• DKG, MU Chapter, Chair of Personal Growth Committee
• Board member, GCLC (Genesee County Literacy Coalition)

How I fell in love with my field:
In the Peace Corps while teaching at a secondary school in Kenya, I was sent to a school that didn’t offer History (my major), so I was given the A stream (as in A-D ability levels) English classes and we started a writers’ club that organized a workshop that was sponsored by the East African Publishing House and brought several well-known writers to our campus for the day. Ngugi wa Thion’go had recently published his book Weep Not Child as part of the African Writers Series from Heinemann and Things Fall Apart was being widely read. I took 6 months traveling home from Kenya – going south through Africa including South Africa where I met Alan Paton (my mother insisted, as he had been given an honorary degree at Kenyon College where my Dad taught) and across the Pacific. Reaching East Lansing, my home, with a letter of admission to a masters program in African literature at Wisconsin, I dumped my MSU program (MAT) and left for Madison. My MA thesis was on Ngugi.

What I hope for my time at UM-Flint: As the world shrinks, I hope to bring the African writers and their works closer to Michigan readers. My students find the stories they read in class quite memorable. Linking similarities and differences in situations, plot, characterization, and themes helps to bring a “glocal” perspective to my courses which in the long run is the only way to break stereotypes and myths and eventually [bring] trust and harmony between people.

What I hope for students in my field: That they gain in self-confidence and self- esteem as they read about others who are more similar than different from them. That they become life-long learners/readers who retain their curiosity and willingness to be vulnerable by stepping outside their comfort zones at least through literature. That they can be culturally competent so that conversations are genuine and allow for good listening as well as personal sharing.

Three things you should know about me:

I love to travel especially with family and friends.

I like spending time with my 3 granddaughters.

I like to read and go to the FIA films.