Deborah Nyangulu

Professur für English Studies: New English Literatures and Media Studies (Prof. Stein)

Johannisstraße 12-20, Room 308
48143 Münster
T: +49 251 83-25620

Consultation hours

I do not have any more office hours scheduled during the summer break but do send me an email if you would like to book an in person/zoom meeting with me. A new office hour slot will be announced in the winter semester.    


Deborah Nyangulu is a Postdoctoral researcher at the Chair of English, Postcolonial and Media Studies at the University of Münster, where she also read for a DPhil in English Philology and an MA in National and Transnational Studies. She obtained her BA in Humanities (majoring in Literatures in English) from the University of Malawi. Her interdisciplinary PhD thesis, Big Man Aesthetics: Masculinity, Power, and Contemporary African Literature, broadens the scope of both comparative masculinity studies and cultural studies. Deborah's work has appeared in the journal RAL and she has co-edited the volume Locating African European Studies. Her recent publication, "What's in a Name? Renewing Socialism via Decolonization," appears in the volume From Marx to Global Marxism: Eurocentrism, Resistance, Postcolonial Criticism. Deborah teaches postgraduate and undergraduate courses and welcomes requests for thesis supervision on a wide range of topics that locate themselves in fields of Anglophone African literature, critical theory, feminist studies, masculinity studies, nationalism and transnationalism, or new media studies. Deborah is currently working on a book on how hashtag activism is shifting the contours of knowledge production.


External Profile:

  • Research Areas

    • Literary and Cultural Studies
    • Contemporary African Literature & African Studies
    • Masculinities and Power
    • Social Media and Social Movements
    • Critical Theory
  • Doctoral Thesis

    Big Man Aesthetics: Masculinity, Power, and Contemporary African Literature


    Deborah Nyangulu successfully defended her PhD thesis at WWU Münster in July 2019 (magna cum laude). Her dissertation examines allegorical significations of the trope of the Big Man and draws on an extensive corpus. She argues that while the notion of the Big Man performs a wide range of textual, literary, social, discursive, idiomatic, and political functions; a tropological analysis shows the Big Man as a referentially indirect mode of revealing truth about the nation in which uncertainties over national identity, manhood, leadership, gendered power relations and class hierarchies become visible. Framing her readings within the context of nascent nationalism in the post-colony and resurgent nationalism in the global north, the study is guided by the premise that Big Men are found everywhere but fragmented by local contingencies. Thus, the study champions a comparative study of Big Men which takes seriously (de-)constructions of manhood and avoids pitfalls of particular ethnographic studies that foreground exoticism and otherness. This transdisciplinary thesis therefore broadens the scope of comparative masculinity studies and situates the trope of the Big Man in its transnational, transcultural, and transcontinental manifestations. Its rich dialogue between popular and academic discourses as well as contemporary African Literature teases out the intersections of constructions of manhood, power relations and cultural representations.

  • CV


    DPhil, English Philology (University of Münster WWU)
    MA, National and Transnational Studies: Literature, Culture, Language (University of Münster, WWU)
    BA, Humanities (University of Malawi, Chancellor College)
    Malawi Schools Certificate of Education (MSCE)


    Postdoctoral Researcher (Habilitationsschrift), Universität Münster
    Lecturer, English Department (University of Münster)
    Senior Reporter/Columnist, Blantyre Newspapers Ltd.
    Reporter, Blantyre Newspapers Ltd.
    English Teacher, Our Lady of Wisdom Secondary School


    Early Career Researchers Travel Grant - Volkswagen Stiftung and German U15
    2019 Fellow - Institute for Critical Social Inquiry at the New School
    Smartnetwork Conference Support - Smartnetwork, WWU Münster
    Guest at the Graduate School Practices of Literature, WWU Münster - GSPOL, WWU Münster
    IP@WWU Research Abroad Support - WWU Graduate Centre
    WWU PhD Scholarship financed by the Sybille-Hahne Foundation
    Fellow - Bayreuth Academy of Advanced African Studies
    Büro für Gleichstellung Conference Support - Büro für Gleichstellung WWU Münster
    Büro für Gleichstellung Conference Support - Büro für Gleichstellung WWU Münster

    External functions

    African Studies Association of the United Kingdom (ASAUK)
    African Literature Association (ALA)
    Association for Anglophone Postcolonial Studies (GAPS)
    Media Institute of Southern Africa, Malawi Chapter (Misa)
  • Teaching


  • Projects

    • Narrating Hashtag Activism (since )
      Own funding
  • Publications

    • Nyangulu, Deborah (Eds.): . Namwali Serpell's The Old Drift: Disruption. Research in African Literatures: Indiana UP. [In Press]
    • Espinoza Garrido, Felipe, Caroline Koegler, Deborah Nyangulu, and Mark U. Stein. . ‘African European studies as a critique of contingent belonging.’ In Locating African European Studies: Interventions, Intersections, Conversations, edited by Felipe Espinoza Garrido, Caroline Koegler, Deborah Nyangulu, and Mark U. Stein, 1-28. London & New York: Routledge. doi: 10.4324/9780429491092-1.
    • Nyangulu, Deborah. . ‘What's In a Name? Renewing Socialism Via Decolonization.’ In From Marx to Global Marxism: Eurocentrism, Resistance, Postcolonial Criticism, edited by Knopf, Kerstin and Quintern, Detlev, 219-232. Trier: Trier Wissenschaftlicher Verlag.
    • Espinoza Garrido, Felipe, Caroline Koegler, Deborah Nyangulu, and Mark Stein (Eds.): . Locating African European Studies: Interventions, Intersections, Conversations. London and New York: Routledge. doi: 10.4324/9780429491092.
    • Nyangulu, Deborah.Hashtag Activism and the Reconfiguration of Knowledge Production.’ contributed to the Positioning the Humanities in the 2020s, Hanover, Germany, . [Accepted]
    • Nyangulu, Deborah. . ‘Foreword: More Than Patriarchy.’ In Anthology 2019: Stories of the Struggle for Education and Equality in Malawi, edited by Rogers, Elizabeth, 16-18. Voice Flame.
    • Nyangulu, Deborah. . Conference Report: "Nationalism and the Postcolonial" ACOLIT – Newsletter der Gesellschaft für Anglophone Postkoloniale Studien, No. 75. Frankfurt/Main, .
    • Nyangulu, Deborah. . ‘Big Men and Performances of Sovereignty in Contemporary African Novels.’ Research in African Literatures 49, No. 3: 101-115. doi: 10.2979/reseafrilite.49.3.07.
  • Talks

    • Nyangulu, Deborah (): ‘Rethinking Knowledge in Transnational Terms.’ Theorizing African Diasporas Anew Symposium, Bielefeld Zif Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies, Bielefeld University, .
    • Nyangulu, Deborah (): ‘Hashtag Movements and Decolonial Pedagogy’. Public lecture, University of Muenster, .
    • Nyangulu, Deborah (): ‘Hashtag Activism and the Reconfiguration of Knowledge Production’. Positioning the Humanities in the 2020s, Volkswagen Stiftung Herrenhausen, Hanover, Germany, .
    • Deborah Nyangulu (): ‘The Self-help Genre and Public Intellectuals in the Digital Age’. Postcolonial Intellectuals and Their European Publics, Utrecht University, Utrecht, Netherlands, .
    • Chatterjee, Sukla; Knopf, Kerstin; Nyangulu, Deborah; Quintern, Detlev (): ‘Versklavung für Baumwolle (Critical Reading & Public Discussion)’. Eine Uni- Ein Buch - Eine Stadt: Global Cotton, University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany, .
    • Nyangulu, Deborah (): ‘Performing Bigmanity: Masculinities in Meja Mwangi's Rafiki Man Guitar’. ASA UK 2018 Conference, University of Birmingham, UK, .
    • Nyangulu, Deborah (): ‘Postcolonial Resurrections: Emerging Debates in the 21st Century Present’. Decolonize: Lange Nacht der Postkolonialen Perspektiven , Institut für Politikwissenschaft WWU Münster, .
    • Nyangulu, Deborah (): ‘Bigmanism and the Aesthetics of Power’. GAPS International Conference: Nationalism and the Postcolonial, Johannes Gutenberg Mainz, Germany, .
    • Nyangulu, Deborah (): ‘Marxism and Utopian Visions in Contemporary African Literature’. Karl Marx, Marxism and the Global South, University of Bremen, .
    • Nyangulu, Deborah (): ‘Contemporary African Literary Studies Today’. Lecture Series: African Scholars, Humboldt Haus WWU Münster, .
    • Nyangulu, Deborah (): ‘Necropolitan Spaces in Meja Mwangi's The Big Chiefs.’ African Literature Association, Yale University, New Haven, USA, .
    • Nyangulu, Deborah (): ‘Hero(ines)/Villains in Time of War: Affirming and Subverting Big Man Power in Dongala's Johnny Mad Dog.’ African Literature Association (ALA) 2016, Emory University and Kennesaw State University, Atlanta, USA, .
    • Nyangulu, Deborah (): ‘Mapping a Big Man Aesthetics in Contemporary African Literature’. European Conference on African Studies (ECAS-6), Sorbonne, Paris, France, .
    • Nyangulu, Deborah (): ‘The Postcolonial as False Totality’. GAPS: Ideology in Postcolonial Texts and Contexts, University of Muenster, Muenster, Germany, .
    • Nyangulu, Deborah (): ‘"What is Africa?"’. Young Scholars' Meeting FUTURE AFRICA - Conference of the African Studies Association in Germany (VAD), University of Bayreuth, Bayreuth, Germany, .
    • Nyangulu, Deborah (): ‘Estranging a Strange Tyranny: Legson Kayira's The Detainee’. Endnotes 2014 - Strangely Familiar, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, .