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Roger Kurtz, Department Head and Professor of English at Drexel University

Roger Kurtz, PhD

Professor of English
Department Head
Department of English and Philosophy
Center for Interdisciplinary Study
Africana Studies
Office: 5016 MacAlister Hall
Phone: 215.895.2446


  • PhD, Comparative Literature, University of Iowa, 1994

Curriculum Vitae:

Download (PDF)

Research Interests:

  • World literatures
  • Postcolonial literature
  • East African literature and culture
  • Trauma theory


Dr. Kurtz is a comparatist whose expertise is in the field of postcolonial literatures, with an emphasis on the literatures of East Africa. He has particular interest in the region’s early nationalist period and in the connection of its liberation movements with literature and culture. He has worked at four universities, offering courses ranging from first-year writing to graduate seminars, and he is the recipient of multiple teaching awards.

Dr. Kurtz’s publications address topics ranging from Joseph Conrad’s influence on the Singaporean novelist Lloyd Fernando, to the nature of the Kenyan urban space and its literary representation, to contemporary trauma theory. His work appears in journals such as Conradiana, the Journal of Commonwealth Literature, Research in African Literatures, The Nairobi Journal of Literature, ARIEL, the Journal of Contemporary African Studies, and the Journal of African Cultural Studies.

His first book, Urban Obsessions, Urban Fears: The Postcolonial Kenyan Novel (James Currey/Africa World Press, 1998), is a study of the Kenyan novel. His second, Nyarloka’s Gift: The Writing of Marjorie Oludhe Macgoye (Mvule Africa Publishers, 2005), examines one of Kenya’s leading writers. Trauma and Literature (Cambridge University Press, 2018) addresses literary trauma theory, and Writing Wrongs: Trauma and Transformation in African Literature (Routledge, 2021), explores the relevance of trauma theory in the African context.

Dr. Kurtz has twice received Fulbright fellowships (once to Kenya, and once to Ethiopia), and has twice been awarded major grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

Dr. Kurtz is presently head of the Drexel’s Department of English and Philosophy. Previously, at SUNY Brockport, he chaired three different academic departments: English, Anthropology, and African and African American Studies.

Selected Publications:

  • Trauma and Transformation in African Literature. Routledge Press, 2021.
  • Trauma and Literature. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2018.
  • Nyarloka’s Gift: The Writing of Marjorie Oludhe Macgoye. Nairobi: Mvule Africa Publishers, 2005.
  • Urban Obsessions, Urban Fears: The Postcolonial Kenyan Novel. Oxford: James Currey Publishers and Trenton NJ: Africa World Press, 1998.

Selected Articles
  • “Marjorie Oludhe Macgoye.” In British Writers Supplement Vol. XXIV. Ed. Jay Parini. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale Group, 2017.
  • “Literature, Trauma, and the African Moral Imagination.” In Writers and Social Thought in Africa, ed. Wale Adebanwi. New York: Routledge, 2015, 17-31. Originally published in Journal of Contemporary African Studies 34.4 (December 2014), 421-435.
  • “Debating the Language of African Literature: Ethiopian Contributions.” In Cultural Dynamics of Globalization and African Literature, ed. Sandra Dixon and Janice Spleth. Trenton NJ: Africa World Press, 2014, 127-154. Originally published in Journal of African Cultural Studies 19.2 (December 2007): 187-209.
  • “Zee Edgell.” In American Writers Supplement Vol. XXIII. Ed. Jay Parini. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale Group, 2013. 83-96.
  • “The Moral Imagination at Work in Haile Selassie’s Ethiopia: Reconsidering The Thirteenth Sun by Daniachew Worku.” Research in African Literatures 41.4 (Winter 2010): 1-25.