Matthew Lecznar

University of Sussex

Project Title: Fashioning Biafra: Failure and Fabrication in the Material Legacy of the Nigerian Civil War

My doctoral project explores the representational legacy of the Nigerian Civil War (also known as the Nigeria-Biafra War) in different forms of material and popular culture. My research will place literary sources in dialogue with different cultural responses to the war such as woven textiles, Nollywood films, photography, paintings, popular music, and theatre. Through this analysis I will explore how the history of the Nigeria-Biafra war has been adapted and creatively reimagined by writers and artists since the war's close. I will also investigate the continuing influence of Biafra in Nigeria with regards to issues of national identity, cultural memory, and political discourse, as well as in international perceptions of the country and the African continent more broadly.

Supervised by Dr. John Masterson.

About me

Before beginning my PhD, I gained my BA in English from the University of York and a Master's degree in World Literatures at the University of Oxford, where I wrote my dissertation on the portrayal of fashion in the literature of the Nigerian Civil War. I have also worked as a secondary school teaching assistant and as an English tutor in Oxford.

Research Interests

Anglophone African literature, West African material and audio-visual cultures, postcolonial conflict literature, gender and sexual dissidence in African art forms, processes of memorialisation, world literary book history, artists as public intellectuals.

University of Sussex profile