Abioseh Porter, PhD

Department Head, English & Philosophy; Editor, JALA, Journal of the African Literature Association; Professor of English

Abioseh Porter

Office: 5050 MacAlister Hall
Phone: 215.895.2448


  • BA, English & French/Post Graduate Diploma in Education, Fourah Bay College
  • PhD, Comparative Literature, University of Alberta, 1984


I was born and raised in Sierra Leone, West Africa. I am now a Professor of English and Head of the Department of English and Philosophy at Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA. After earning a PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Alberta, Canada, I received a "Society for the Humanities" postdoctoral Fellowship at Cornell University and was also a senior postdoctoral fellow at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Prior to coming to Drexel, I taught at the University of Alberta and at Grambling State University, Louisiana. I have published mainly on African authors while my teaching interests span quite a number of areas in both the western and nonwestern literary traditions. At Drexel, I received the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching in 1991and was designated "most dedicated professor" for the year 2002 by the Drexel Undergraduate Student body. The Drexel Minority Achievement Program also honored me by naming me Faculty Member of the Year Award for 2002-2003. I am the editor of the Journal of the African Literature Association (JALA).

Favorite Authors and/or Books: Achebe, Adichie, Armah, Beyala, Bhely-Quénum, Emily Bronte, Cheney-Coker, Dickens, Emecheta, George Eliot, Ellison, Flaubert, Aminatta Forna, Hardy, Mallarmé, Marquez, McEwan, Morrison, Alexander Pope, Proust, Rimbaud, Rushdie, Shakespeare, Soyinka, Mark Twain, Yvonne Vera, The Bible, The Gita, among others.

Personal Interests and Hobbies: Reading (365 days a year); photography; travel; technological gadgetry; music, especially old school reggae; African; classical; Jazz.

Favorite TV Shows: Link TV; House Hunters International; Some public TV, especially Brit coms.

One thing that makes me smile is: Being with "la merveille."

Two Pet Peeves: Smoking around me (it's a real health issue for me folks); witnessing mean behavior.

One reason I like my job is: After all these years, I know the vast majority of my students and colleagues respect me for what I do. 

Some Recent Presentations

“Being in Africa and in Europe: Consequences on the Self as Foreigner,” BCLA/Spanish Comp Lit Assoc. Conference, University of Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain, September 8-10, 2011

“The Specter of the Author in the West African Short Story,” IJAS Conference, Aix-en Provence, France, June 2-6, 2011

“Othello’s Countryman (Eldred Jones) and the Contemporary African Literary Environment,” St. Antony’s College, Oxford University, September 16-19, 2010

“Literary Reception and Censorship,” University of Rennes 2, France, May 27-28, 2010

“More Than Mere Dislocation: Translocation in the Poetry of Syl Cheney Coker and J.P. Clark,” ASNEL Conference, University of Munster, Germany, May 21-24, 2009.


“Non-Conventional Literary Media: New Poetic Voices on the Internet,” in Knowledge is more than mere words.Wey Dehn Sey? Dehn Sey Kapu Sehns Nor Kapu Word: A Critical Introduction to Sierra Leonean Literature (with Eustace Palmer) (Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 2008), 315-338

“Fictional Worlds, Symbolism and Struggles of (Under-)Development: Kolawole Omotoso’s ‘The Combat,’” West African Worlds Paths Through Socio-Economic Change, Livelihoods and Development Harlow, UK: Pearson,/Prentice Hall, 2005, 87-108.

“Revitalizing an Existing Cultural Phenomenon: Treatment of the Abiku in La Naissance d’abikou and Les Appels du voudou by Olympe Bhêly Quénum” in, and published in Melanges offerts à Olympe Bhêly-Quénum (Paris: Gallimard, 2002)

“Un anglophone et la francophonie” in Autrement memes: Homages à Roger Little Cass, London, 2002.

“The ‘New’ New Jerusalem in Contemporary West African Fiction,” Jouvert: A Journal of Postcolonial Writing Vol. 4, No. 2, Winter 2000 (, 21 pp (North Carolina State University)