Ghanaian professor Ato Quayson has been appointed as the new head of the Department of English at Stanford University.
Quayson currently serves at the Jean G. and Morris M. Doyle Professor in Interdisciplinary Studies and Professor of English at the university.
His new role officially begins in September 2021.
Quayson was born and raised in Ghana. Quayson graduated with first-class honors in English and Arabic from the University of Ghana before heading across the pond to the U.K., where he earned his in Nigerian literature at Cambridge University.
“My father had been a diplomat and was a very voracious reader of everything including newspapers, refrigerator manuals, Shakespeare, and Buddhist texts,” he said of the stories which shaped his life and his research. “He was also a great oral storyteller. Even though several of the stories were repeated, he always said that it was a disrespect to the story to retell it the same way.”
Quayson first waded into the world of teaching when he secured the role of Junior Research Fellowship at Wolfson College, Oxford. He would return to Cambridge to become Reader in Commonwealth and Postcolonial Literature in the Faculty of English from 1995-2005. Quayson was the Director of the Centre for African Studies and a Fellow of Pembroke College at Cambridge.
After leaving the U.K., he became the founding director of the Center for Diaspora and Transnational Studies at the University of Toronto. In 2016 he became University Professor at the University of Toronto. The highest distinction that the university can offer. From 2017 to 2019, he was the Professor of African and Postcolonial Literature at New York University before joining Stanford.
Quayson is also a respected author. He has published six monographs and eight edited volumes.