Neil ten Kortenaar

Neil ten Kortenaar

Professor and Chair


Neil ten Kortenaar grew up in Toronto and Montreal and attended the University of Toronto. He has taught high school in Nigeria and adult literacy in Nicaragua. He has taught university in Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Uganda. He first taught Caribbean and African literature at UTSC in 1986, when he was a PhD student.

Research Interests: 

African literature (especially West and Southern African); Caribbean literature; South Asian literature (especially Salman Rushdie); the relation of orality to writing; political philosophy and literature. His current research reads African literature as if it were political philosophy and looks at the ways Nigerian novelists imagined the nation-state at independence.

Teaching Interests: 

African literature, Caribbean literature, South Asian literature, the immigrant experience in literature, the Bible in literature, Introduction to Poetry

Awards and Grants: 

SSHRC Insight and Connections grants. 

Mellon grant for “Aesthetic Education,” a collaboration between the Jackman Humanities Institute at the University of Toronto and the Centre for Humanities Research at the University of the Western Cape. 


Select Accomplishments:
President, CACLALS (Canadian Association of Commonwealth Literature and
Language Studies), 2007-2010
Director of the Centre for Comparative Literature, University of Toronto, 2009-
Associate editor, Cambridge Journal of Postcolonial Literary Inquiry
Editorial board of ARIEL, Canadian Literature
Organizer of the ACLA (American Comparative Literature Association)
General Meeting, “Global Positioning Systems,” University of Toronto,
April 4-7, 2013.
Select Publications/Conference Presentation Titles:
Postcolonial Literature and the Impact of Literacy: Reading and Writing in
African and Caribbean Fiction. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2011. 224 pp.
Self, Nation, Text in Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children. Montreal: McGill
-Queen’s UP, 2004. 317 pp.
“Delhi/Ahmednagar Fort - Washington DC/Birmingham Jail - Pretoria/Robben
Island 1947-1994; or, Race, Colonialism, Postcolonialism.” A
Companion to Critical and Cultural Theory. Ed. Imre Szeman, Sarah Blacker, and Justin Sully. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2017. 115-28.
“The Novel in English in Africa to 1950.” The Oxford History of the Novel in
English. Vol. 9 The World Novel to 1950. Ed. Ralph Crane, Jane Stafford, and Mark Williams. Oxford: OUP, 2016. 91-114.
“Multiculturalism and Globalization.” The Cambridge History of Canadian
Literature. Ed. Eva-Marie Kroller and Coral Ann Howells. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 2009. 556-79.


Centre for Comparative Literature. Associate faculty in the Departments of Religion, French, and Critical Development Studies.


PhD University of Toronto