M4C Logo AHRC Logo

Pernille Nailor

Languages and Literature, University of Birmingham

Thesis title:

Narratives of Belonging in the Textual Space of Afropolitanism, 2005-2015: Nigeria, Ghana and their Diasporas

This thesis explores representations of belonging within the framework of Afropolitanism. A new term that is often referred to as an African form of cosmopolitanism, Afropolitanism has caused heated debates on culture, fashion and consumerism over the past decade, with discussants in academic and public discourses dismissing the concept as an elitist and Western construct.

Moving beyond these debates, the intention with the thesis is to recognise the different textual forms of Afropolitanism, its complex and media-driven nature as well as its ongoing negotiation of what it means to belong to Africa and elsewhere. Drawing on a diverse selection of Anglophone literature and popular culture associated with the term, I discuss narratives and ideas of belonging in contemporary texts which circulate in urban centres in Nigeria, Ghana and their UK/US diasporas.

Research Area

  • Languages and Literature


September, 2018

  • ASAUK, University of Birmingham, UK
Chairing a panel and presenting the following papers:
'Online Texts and Autobiographical Moments of Belonging: A Reading of Taiye Selasi's Writing'
'Questions of (Im)morality: A Reading of Women's Gender Roles and Sexualities in Contemporary Nigerian Novels'

May-June, 2017

  • Cadbury Conference, University of Birmingham, UK

'Writing Beyond Marriage: (Il)legitimate Sexualities in the Contemporary Nigerian Novel'

September, 2015

  • AfroEuropeans, University of Munster, Germany

'Perceptions of Belonging in the 21st century: Exploring African/Black Identity Practices in Autobiographical Moments'

Public Engagement & Impact

Research visits:


  • Lagos, Nigeria (September-November, 8 weeks). Meeting with and interviewing the producers of a cultural event, visiting University of Lagos as a visiting fellow and presenting a paper on my PhD to members of staff in the Faculty of Arts, and moderating a panel on Afropolitanism at Ak√© Art and Book Festival.


  • Accra, Ghana (January-March, 6 weeks). Meeting with and interviewing the creator and cast of an Accra-based web series and leading a workshop on how to begin a research project, aimed at graduate students in the Department of English at the University of Ghana, Legon.
  • Washington, D.C., USA (May, 1 week). Visiting and interviewing a Ghanaian-American cultural producer.



  • Filmmaking for Fieldwork (training course at Futureworks School of Media in Manchester, UK)

Other activities:


  • Organising an interdisciplinary postcolonial conference aimed at postgraduate students and early career scholars at the University of Birmingham.
  • Working as a Research Assistant in the Department of African Studies and Anthropology: organising conferences and workshops, arranging travel and accommodation for participants, formatting book manuscript before sending it to publishers.


  • Administrative role for the African Studies Association of the United Kingdom (ASAUK), providing support for the Fage and Oliver Monograph Prize committee.



Visiting lecturer in the Department of African Studies at the University of Birmingham (introductory lectures on African literatures and Afropolitanism)

Previous teaching experience:


English Teacher at KVUC, a college situated in the centre of Copenhagen, Denmark