The University of Western Australia

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Gareth Griffiths

E/Prof Gareth Griffiths

Emeritus Professor/Senior Honorary Research Fellow
English and Cultural Studies

Contact details
English and Cultural Studies
The University of Western Australia (M200)
35 Stirling Highway
+61 2 4388 5497
BA PhD Wales, FAHA
Educated at Cyfarthfa Castle Grammar School, Merthyr Tydfil and the University of Wales, Cardiff (Senior University Scholarship 1961). Retired 2013. Emeritus Professorship awarded September 2013.
Married with three sons.
Key research
Narrative and Human Rights
Mission texts and colonial resistance
Textual Representation of Africa and Africans
The intersections of secular and sacral discourses and practices in the post-Enlightenment period and the implications of changes in these engagements for cultural, social and political practices in the 21st century.
Post-colonial theory and literature.
Issues of identity, culture and land.
Drama, Performance and Cultural representation
Recent Research Publication (since 2000)

"Clothing the Borders: Dress as a Signifier in Colonial and Post-Colonial Space" in Postcolonial Gateways and Walls Under Construction, eds. Daria Tunca and Janet Wilson, Brill/Rodopi, 2017.
"Conversion, identity and Resistance in Colonial and Postcolonial Spaces: The Writings of Tiyo Soga 1829-1871" in The Future of Postcolonial Studies, ed. Chantal Zabus, Routledge, NY and London, 2015, 69-85.
"Postcolonialism and the Post-Secular: Sacred and Secular Transactions" in After Writing Back:Perspectives in Postcolonial Studies, ed. Flaminea Nicora,L'Harmattan Italia srl, 2015, 57-83.
"The Reverend Joseph Jackson Fuller: A 'Native' Evangelist and 'Black' Identity in the Camerooons" African Literatures and Beyond, eds. Bernth Lindfors and Geoffrey V. Davis, Amsterdam/New York, Rodopi, 2013, 69-89.
"Silenced Worlds: Language and Experience in Amitav Ghosh's 'The Hungry Tide'"Kunapipi, XXXIV, 2,2012, 105-113.
"Narrative, Identity and Social Practice in Tanzania: Abdulrazak Gurnah's Ironic Paradise" in Engaging with Literatures of Commitment Vol 1., Ed. G. Collier, M. Delrez, A, Fuchs and B. Ledent, Cross Currents No 148, Rodopi, Amsterdam and New York, 2012.
"Postcolonialism and Travel Writing" in The Cambridge History of Postcolonial Literature Vol 1, Edited Ato Quayson, CUP, Cambridge, 2012.
"Saving Africa": Narrative Persistence, Missions, Development, and the "Freeing" of Sub-Saharan Africa" in Experiences of Freedom in Postcolonial Literatures and Cultures, ads. Annalisa Oboe and Shaul Bassi, Routledge, London and New York, 2011.

"Open Spaces, Contested Places: Writing and the Fundamentalist Inscription of Territory" in Writing Fundamentalism, eds. Axel Stahler and Klaus Stierstorfer, Cambridge Scholars Publishing,2009, PP. 55-76.
"'The Boys from the bark Liberia'Liberian Life
Narratives in Late 19th Century America" Liberian Studies Journal, Vol. 33, No.2, 2008, pp.2-24. (Actually published 2010)
"The Other Mr. Wilberforce: role conflict and colonial governance in Sierra Leone 1878-1913"" African Identities, Vol. 7, No. 4, Nov. 2009, pp. 435-449.
"Coming to America: 'African Princes'in America 1866 to the Present Day", Journal of the African Literature Association (JALA) Vol.3, No.2, Summer/Fall 2009, pp. 123-143.
Trained to tell the truth': Missionary Narratives and Christian Converts" in Missions and Imperialism edited by Norman Etherington, Companion Volume, Oxford History of The British Empire, Oxford 2006.

The Post-Colonial Studies Reader (with Bill Ashcroft and Helen Tiffin), Routledge, London and New York, 1995. Second expanded edition with new sections and bibliography, 2006

"The World, The Text and Said" Introduction Esaay to Paradoxical Citizenship; Edward Said, edited Sylvia Nagy-Zekmi, Lexington Books, Landham, Md, 2006

"Sites of Purchase: Slavery, Missions and Tourism on Two Tanzanian Sites" in Leigh Dale and Helen Gilbert eds. Economies of Representation 1790-2000, Colonies and Commerce, London, Ashgate. 2007.

African Literatures in English: East and West, Longman Literature in English series, Longman, London, 2000. pp.414

The Empire Writes Back: the theory and practice of post-colonial literatures; (with W.D. Ashcroft & Helen Tiffin); New Accents Series, Routledge; London, 2002, pp.283. Second edition with upgraded bibliography and new chapter on recent developments in the field was published in 2002 as one of twelve texts in the series selected to be reissued for the 25 year celebration of this prestigious international series.

Disputed Territories: Land, Culture and Identity in Settler Societies edited David Trigger and Gareth Griffiths, Hong Kong University Press, Hong Kong, 2003, pp 340

Guanya Pau: A Story of an African Princess by J.J. Walters (1891), edited Gareth Griffiths and John V. Singler, Broadview Editions, Broadview Press, Calgary and Toronto, 2004. Edition with introduction, full notes and scholarly apparatus. pp.205.

Mixed Messages: Materialities, Textualities, Missions, edited Gareth Griffiths and Jamie S. Scott, Palgrave, London and New York, 2005, pp 268.

Earlier Research Publications
Green Days by the River by Michael Anthony; Edition with intoduction Heinemann, Caribbean Writer's Series, No.9, 1973. pp. 191

A Double Exile: African and West Indian Writing Between Two Cultures: Boyars; London 1978. pp. 205
Arabic Language Edition, Afaq 'arabijay; Baghdad 1987.

John Osborne's "Look Back in Anger": Notes and Commentary; York Notes; Longman's 1981 pp 72.

The Empire Writes Back: the theory and practice of post-colonial literatures; (with W.D. Ashcroft & Helen Tiffin); New Accents Series, Routledge; London, 1989, pp. 246. There were nine reprints of this edition
Translations of this text:
Korean Language Edition, Minumsa Publications, Seoul, 1996.
Japanese Language Edition, The English Agency, Tokyo, Japan. 1998.
Chinese (Mandarin) Language Edition, Ban qiao: Luo tuo chu ban she, (Camel Publishing Co.), 1998

John Romeril edited, Australian Playwright Series, Rodopi, Amsterdam, 1993, pp. 228

The Post-Colonial Studies Reader edited (with Bill Ashcroft and Helen Tiffin), Routledge, 1995, pp. 526.

Key Concepts in Post-Colonial Studies (with Bill Ashcroft and Helen Tiffin), Routledge, London 1998, pp. 275.

Pamphlets and Short texts

English Literature Since 1940 Introductory pamphlet accompanying boxed selection of 30 contemporary British texts selected by me; British Council in India; New Delhi, 1971, pp 11.

Representations of Race/Ethnicity and Class in Literature (with Ian Saunders), English, UWA 1997, pp 47.

Special Issues of Journals
Post-colonial Drama (editor) Special Issue New Literatures Review, No. 19, Summer South, 1990 pp. 119.

Sections of Chapters in Books

"The Language of Disillusion in the African Novel" in commonwealth, ed. Anna Rutherford; Aarhus Akademisk Boghandel, Aarhus, 1971, pp. 62-72.

Entries in A Dictionary of Modern Critical Terms; ed. Roger Fowler; Routledge, 1973. (Reissued in an enlarged version 1987). New entries written for the reissued edition now in press.

"Traditional Practices and Contemporary Concerns in the Plays of Wole Soyinka" in Individual and Community in Commonwealth Literature ed. Daniel Massa: Univ. of Malta, Msida, 1979, pp. 45-50.

"Adamic Visions: Culture and Discourse in Michael Anthony's "Sandra Street" in New Literatures in English: a Critical Perspective; ed. Wolfgang Zach; Peter Lang; Berne/New York, 1991, pp. 131-139.

"Post-Colonial Space and Time: Wilson Harris and Caribbean Criticism" in Wilson Harris: The Uncompromising Imagination ed. Hena Maes-Jelinek, Dangaroo Press, Aarhus/London/Sydney, 1991.

"Unhappy the Land That has a Need of Heroes': John Romeril's Asian plays" in Myths, Heroes and Anti-Heroes, ed. Bruce Bennett and Dennis Haskell, CSAL, 1992, pp. 142-154.

"The Myth of Authenticity: representation, discourse and social practice" in De-Scribing Empire: Post-coloniality and textuality ed. Chris Tiffin and Alan Lawson, Routledge, London, 1994, pp. 70-85.

"Representing Difference in Sam Watson's 'The Kadaitcha Sung'", in a Talent(ed) Digger, ed. H. Maes-Jelintek, G. Collier and G.V. Davis, Rodopi, Amsterdam, 1996, pp. 471-484.

"The Post-Colonial Project: Critical Approaches and Problems" in New National and Post-Colonial Literatures, ed. Bruce King, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1996, pp. 164-177.

"Writing, literacy and history in Africa" in Writing and Africa, eds. Mpalive-Hangson Msiska and Paul Hyland, Longmans, London, 1997, pp. 139-158.

"Islands of Community: Autobiographical Accounts of Indian Displaced Communities - Subject, Community and Nation" in The Contact and the Culmination, ed. Marc Delrez and Benedicte Ledent, Liege Studies in Language and Literature, University of Liege, 1997, pp. 321-332.

"Tradition, Decolonisation and Gender: Achebe and Emecheta" in "and Gladly Wolde She Teche", Festschrift for Professor Yasmine Gooneratne, Argus Press, London, 1999.

"Afterword: Post-Coloniality, Religion, Geography: Keeping Our Feet on the Ground and Our Heads Up." In Jamie S Scott and Paul Simpson-Housley, eds. Mapping the Sacred: Religion, Geography and Post-colonial Literatures, Cross/Cultures Series No.48, Editions Rodopi BV. Amsterdam and Atlanta, 2001, pp. 445-462.

"Appropriation and Control, the Role of the Missionary Text" in Missions and Colonies in the English-speaking World, ed. Gerhard Stilz, Stauffenberg Verlag, Tubingen, 2001, pp. 13-23.

"The Novelists and the Historians: Fiction and the Gendering of the Nigerian Past" African Writers and Their Readers, Vol 2, edited by Toyin Falola and Barbara Harlow, Africa World Press, Trenton. NJ, 2002. pp 91-116.

Refereed Artlicles

"Language and Action in the Novels of Chinua Achebe" in African Literature Today No. 5; 1971, pp. 88-105. (reissued in Critical Perspectives on Achebe ed. C.L. Innes and Bernth Lindfors; Three Continents Press; Washington, 1978, pp. 67-85.

"Structure and Image in Ayi Kwei Armah's 'The Beautiful Ones Are Not Yet Born" in Studies in Black Literature, Vol. 2, No. 2, Summer 1971, pp. 1-9 (double columned), (Reissued in Critical Perspectives on Ayi Kwei Armah ed. Derek Wright; Three Continents Press; Washington, 1992, pp. 75-91).

"New Lines- English Theatre in the Sixties and After" in Kansas Quarterly 3,2, Spring 1971, pp. 77-88.

"Experiments with Form in recent Australian Drama" Kunapipi, 2,1, 1980, pp. 70-95

"Theatre Reviewing in Australia" Meanjin Special Issue, The Performing Arts in Australia, ed. Jack Hibberd; 43, 1, March, 1984, pp. 460-472.

"Australian Subject and Australian Style: the Plays of Louis Nowra" in Commonwealth: Essays and Studies; 6, 2, spring, 1984, pp. 42-48. (Reissued in Louis Nowra ed. Veronica Kelly; Australian Playwrights, Rodopi, Amsterdam, 1987, pp. 91-98.)

"Imitation, Abrogation and Appropriation: the production of the post-colonial text" Kunapipi, 9, 1, 1987, pp. 13-20.
"Chinua Achebe When Did You Last See Your Father? World Literature Written in English 27,1, Spring 1987, pp. 18-26.
"Of Marx and Missionaries: Soyinka and the Survival of Universalism in Post-colonial Literary Theory" (with David Moody) Kunapipi, 11,1,1989, pp.74-85, (Reissued in H Tiffin and S Slemon (eds.) After Europe: Postcolonial Literary Theory, Dangaroo Press, Aarhus, 1989)

"Being there, being There: Kosinsky and Malouf: Post-modernism and post-colonialism", Ariel, Vol 20, No. 4, 1989, pp 132-148, (Reissued in Past the Last Post: Essays in the Theory of Post-Colonialism and Post-Modernism, University of Calgary Press, 1990).
"Malouf's 'An Imaginary Life': The Post-colonial Text as Transformative Representation" Commonwealth: Essays and Studies, 16,2, spring 1993, pp. 61-69.
"The Parochial Metropolis: A View from the West", Special Issue, 'Pearls before Swine, Theatre Reviewing in Australia', ed. Alison Richards and Geoffrey Milne, Meanjin, 43,3 Spring, 1994, pp. 460-466.
"Radical Messages: Content, Form and Agency in the Drama of Femi Osofisan" Essays in theatre/Etudes Theatrales, Vol 14, No. 1, Nov. 1995, pp. 15-24.
"John Romeril's Wars: The Dissenting View" Kunapipi, Vol. xvii, Nos 2 and 3, 1996, pp 261-273 (Special issue simultaneously published as a book War: Australia's Creative Response ed. Anna Rutherford and James Wieland, Dangaroo, Aarhus/Condon/Sydney, 1997)
"Documentation and Communication in Post-Colonial Societies: The Politics of Control" in The Yearbook of English Studies, (The Politics of Postcolonial Criticism, ed. Andrew Gurr), MHRA, Vol 27,1997, pp. 130-136.
Roles, responsibilities and expertise
Expertise in Post-colonial literature and theory, African English Literatures, Theatre and Drama.
Future research
Narrative and Mental Health

Literary engagements with race and gender issues in the enforcement of and opposition to apartheid in late 20th century South Africa
Funding received
Most recent funding:
ARC Discovery Grant 2007-2009
ARC Discovery Grant 2007-10
Member of the Editorial Advisory Boards for the following journals Kunapipi, Postcolonial Text, Africa Identities and The Australasian Review of African Studies.
Honours and awards
Fellowship of Australian Humanities Academy
Hugh LeMay Fellow, Rhodes University 2006
French National Distinguished Visiting Professorship, University de Bourgogne, Dijon, 1995.
Winegard Distinguished Visiting Professorship, University of Guelph, 1995.
Previous positions
Taught at the University of East Anglia 1967-72, University of Missouri 1972-3, Macquarie University, Sydney 1973-88, University of Western Australia 1989-2002, University at Albany, New York (SUNY Albany) 2002-4, University of Western Australia 2005-2013. Retired 2013.
New and noteworthy
I presented a keynote paper at a conference on Future Postcolonialisms at the Sorbonne III in May 2011. The Conference was held to celebrate the 20th anniversary of a book that I co-wrote in 2010. See This paper is listed above in the book edited by Chnatal Zabus published in 2015. The paper published in the collection in the same year edited by Flaminea Nicors and also listed above was the result of an earlier conference celebrating the anniversary of the text I co=-wrote in 1989 "The Empire Writes Back". Thus two European universities, the Sorbonne and the University of Bergamo held conferences to celebrate this event and both resulted in published proceedings.
Current projects
I have just completed editing a book with Professor Philip Mead on "The Social Role of Narrative: Human Rights and the Cultural Imaginary" that Ibidem and Columbia U.P. will release in 2017. I am beginning work on a similar edited book on Narrative and Mental Health Issues. I am also continuing work on the impact of the South African poet, novelist and critic Stephen Gray.
Research profile
Research profile and publications

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Last updated:
Tuesday, 3 November, 2015 2:39 PM