Jonathon Repinecz

Jonathon Repinecz

Jonathon Repinecz

Associate Professor

Modern African literatures and cultures; Modern francophone literatures and cultures; Intersections of literature and anthropology; Genocide studies; Folklore and oral literature; Postcolonial theory; Wolof (advanced reading) and Swahili (beginner).

Regional interests: West Africa, Central Africa.

Jonathon Repinecz specializes in francophone literatures of West and Central Africa.  While he has a particular expertise in Senegal, and a growing interest in the Democratic Republic of Congo, he regularly teaches texts and traditions from around the continent.  His work focuses on crossing language lines (i.e. French-Wolof, francophone-anglophone) and is deeply engaged with Africanist conversations in the humanities and social sciences. 

Repinecz has published articles on African literature and cinema in several journals and blogs, and has a first book newly out. He has translated a number of scholarly articles on Africanist anthropology.  In addition to regular courses on African and francophone cultural production within the Department of Modern and Classical Languages, he collaborates closely with Mason's Global Affairs Program to enhance offerings in African Studies for the wider campus community.

Selected Publications


Subversive Traditions: Reinventing the West African Epic.  Michigan State University Press (2019). Winner of the American Comparative Literature Association Helen Tartar First Book Award.


"Senegalese Wrestling between Nostalgia and Neoliberalism." Prepublished at African Studies Review (2020).

“‘The Facets of our Diglossia’: Native Speakers as Multilingual Storytellers.” Critical Multilingualism Studies 5.2 (2017): 178–207. Part of a special issue entitled “Legitimate Speakers in Contested Spaces,” co-edited with Livi Yoshioka-Maxwell.

“‘This is Not a Pipe’?: Reflexivity, Fictionality, and Dialogism in Sembène’s Films.” Journal of African Cinemas 8.2 (2016): 181-197.

The Tales of Tomorrow: Toward a Futurist Vision of Wolof Tradition.”  Journal of African Cultural Studies 15.1 (2015): 56-70. Part of a special issue dedicated to literatures in African languages. 


Expanded Publication List

See my personal website for a complete list, including book reviews and blog posts.

Grants and Fellowships

Fulbright Research Grantee / Visiting Scholar, Royal Museum for Central Africa, Tervuren, Belgium (2018-2019) 

  • Project Title: “Strange Stories: Folklore and Coloniality in the Congo from Stanley to Mobutu”

Fulbright-Hays Seminar Abroad: Religion and Diversity in West Africa (5-week funded seminar in Dakar, Senegal) (Summer 2016) (declined)

Courses Taught

Global African Identities

Theories of Tradition and Modernity in African Literature

Sub-Saharan Writers in Translation

Writing the Caribbean

Francophone Identities

Organizer, “Hip Hop and Democracy Activism in Senegal,” with invited guests Xuman and Keyti, GMU (October 2016)

Organizer, “Hip Hop and Democracy Activism in Senegal,” with invited guest Thiat, Reed College (October 2013)


Ph.D, UC Berkeley, 2013

B.A., Washington University in St. Louis, 2005

Recent Presentations

“From Negritude to Wakanda: Toward a Critical Genealogy.” Global Africa Symposium, Rutgers University, New Jersey. March 29, 2019.

“Megaliths, Migrations, and Racial Hatred: The Making and Unmaking of West African History.” African Studies Association, Atlanta, November 29, 2018.

“Is Negritude Dead? Reflections on Black Panther and Maryse Condé.”  Dakar Institute for African Studies, Dakar, Senegal.  July 6, 2018.

 “Race and Genre Nonfiction: The Senegalese-American Celebrity Memoir.” American Comparative Literature Association, University of California, Los Angeles, April 1, 2018.

 Roundtable with Boubacar Boris Diop: “Que dit Cheikh Anta Diop aux écrivains africains?”  (Chair.)  African Literature Association, Yale University, New Haven, Conn.  June 17, 2017. 

 “‘This Time for Africa’: Shakira and Afro-Modernity.”  African Literature Association, Yale University, New Haven, Conn.  June 16, 2017. 

In the Media

"Joining the Congo Research Network." Blog of the Fulbright Commission in Belgium. August 8, 2019.

Excerpt from an interview with the Baobab Talk Show (community/student radio in Dakar). July 9, 2018.