A Ghanaian author cum professor has been appointed the head of the Department of English at Stanford University. Ato Quayson is currently the Jean G. and Morris M. Doyle Professor in Interdisciplinary Studies and Professor of English at the University. He is set to assume his new role in September 2021.
Quayson had his basic education and undergraduate in Ghana before heading to the UK to pursue higher education. Quayson graduated with first-class honors in English and Arabic from the University of Ghana and went on to the University of Cambridge for his Ph.D.
His first job in academia was as a Junior Research Fellowship at Wolfson College, Oxford before returning to Cambridge to become Reader in Commonwealth and Postcolonial Literature in the Faculty of English from 1995-2005.
While at Cambridge, Quayson was the Director of the Centre for African Studies and a Fellow of Pembroke College.
His quest to impart knowledge has led him to different institutions where he upheld his duties to the highest degree.
Quayson left England for Canada where he became the Professor of English and inaugural Director of the Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies at the University of Toronto from 2005 to 2017. In 2016 he became University Professor at the University of Toronto, the highest distinction that the university can confer on an individual.
From 2017 to 2019, he was the Professor of African and Postcolonial Literature at New York University before joining Stanford where he currently works as the Jean G. and Morris M. Doyle Professor in Interdisciplinary Studies and Professor of English.
He has authored many books and featured in many publications including six monographs and eight edited volumes. Some of his works include An Anthology of Literary Criticism and Theory (with Tejumola Olaniyan, 2007), Fathers and Daughters: An Anthology of Exploration (2008), Labor Migration, Human Trafficking, and Multinational Corporations, (with Antonela Arhin, 2012). His most recent work is Tragedy and Postcolonial Literature, published by Cambridge University Press, 2021.
Professor Quayson has also served in various capacities for institutions, boards, and fellowships. He was the President of the African Studies Association up until last year and was an elected fellow of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences, The British Academy, and the Royal Society of Canada.
Furthermore, he has held fellowships at the W.E.B Dubois Institute at Harvard University and the Research Centre in the Humanities at the Australian National University.
The Cambridge alum was Chief Examiner in English of the International Baccalaureate and chair of the judges for the 2015 Etisalat Prize for Literature.
Professor Quayson brings all his experiences and knowledge to his new position as full headship of the Department of English at one of America’s top universities, Stanford.