Congratulations to Frieda Ekotto who was named Lorna Goodison Collegiate Professor of Afroamerican and African Studies, Comparative Literature, and Francophone Studies! This professorship was established through the Provost Office and was originally named the Max Loehr Collegiate Professorship in the History of Art in July 2012. It was renamed as the Lorna Goodison Collegiate Professorship in Afroamerican and African Studies in June 2020. Lorna Goodison received her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 1980 and was a visiting assistant professor in the Department of History at Michigan from 1986 to 1987.
Publishing in both French and English, Professor Ekotto has an international reputation as a scholar specializing in film and literature of the Francophone world (spanning France, Africa, the Caribbean, and the Maghreb), with an emphasis on race theory, the interrogation of gender and sexuality, and ongoing research on the cultural productions of African women. Professor Ekotto is a bold and courageous thinker whose critical work extends into her own creative work in multiple media.
Professor Ekotto has lectured throughout the United States and in Australia, Algeria, Cameroon, Cuba, Canada, England, France, Ivory Coast, Malaysia, Malta, Nigeria, Tunisia, South Africa, and Singapore, among other countries. She received the 2014 Nicolas Guillen award for Philosophical Literature from the Caribbean Philosophical Association (CPA). The award citation praised her for “contributions as a novelist, a theorist of race, sexuality, and criminality, along with her writings on existential themes emerging in the work of Lorraine Hansberry, Jean Genet, and struggles for human dignity, which stands among the best of the age” as well as for her brilliant work “on women’s sexualities in the African context instead of through those imposed on it.” Professor Ekotto also served as a senior fellow at Maison Fondation des Sciences de l’Homme in Paris, France. She received an honorary degree in 2018 from Colorado College, her alma mater, honoring her for scholarship in 20th century and 21st century Anglophone and Francophone literature, and was named Honorary President of the International Film Festival of the Transsahara where her documentary film, Vibrancy of Silence, also received an award.