Prof Sam Naidu

Prof Naidu at Work 

Professor Sam Naidu

B.Journ (Rhodes), BA (Hons) (Rhodes), MA (Rhodes), PhD (Rhodes & SOAS, University of London), PGDHE (Rhodes)

email address:

Teaching and Research Interests

South African/Postcolonial Crime Fiction; Nineteenth Century Detective Fiction; African Literature; Transnational Literature (Literature of the African, Latin American, and South Asian Diasporas); Postcolonial Feminist Literature; Oral/written interface in colonial South Africa; English transcriptions of Xhosa folktales; the publication and marketing of indigenous South African orature; Folklore and Ethnographic Writings of George McCall Theal; Emily Dickinson; and, Experimental Pedagogies, including the combination of Community Engagement and Literary Studies, as well as the use of yoga in tertiary education.    


Andrew W. Mellon Intersecting Diasporas Research Group

Sam is the founder and co-ordinator of the Intersecting Diasporas Research Group, which studies various transnational texts of the African, Asian, and Latin American diasporas in order to describe the complex and paradoxical experiences of diasporas in a world of increasing mobility and de-territorialism, which yet, in certain locations, also faces increased regulation or prohibition of migration.


The Vice Chancellor's Book Award (2019)

Sam is the recipient of the Vice Chancellor’s Book Award for 2019. The book, co-authored with Elizabeth le Roux of the University of Pretoria, is A Survey of South African Crime Fiction: Critical Analysis and Publishing History (2017), UKZN Press. When asked why she chose to research and teach South African crime fiction, Sam explained: “We live in dark and bewildering times – our country is steeped in crime, corruption, incompetence, disillusionment, and a desperate need for justice, solutions, and hope. What is the point in writing about these topics or reading about them? How does it serve us as individuals and as a nation to have a body of literature which deals with crime? These questions formed the springboard for our book.” To answer these questions, Sam and Beth decided that a comprehensive approach was required. The book had to cover both literary criticism and publishing history. “Our main argument,” Sam summarises, “is that South African crime fiction is a complex, robust, contentious and provocative literary-cultural phenomenon, which calls into question established notions of artistic merit and extends genre fiction into the realm of social analysis.” Sam authored the sections of literary criticism, and Beth, who teaches Publishing Studies in the Department of Information Science, wrote the publishing history. In the “Introduction” to the book, the authors describe their general approach: “This survey takes the approach that this genre, with its protean subgenres, is collectively generated by authors, readers and publishers, and is an ideological product that robustly and cogently reflects its sociopolitical milieu.” 

For more details on Sam's award, feel free to read the article on page 25 in the 2019 Research Report, available here.


Adapted Teaching Strategy in Response to COVID-19

This year, Prof Naidu will use a blended teaching and learning method. She will follow a weekly timetable for the courses she teaches, and will upload materials on RUConnected or hold live lectures using a virtual platform at an allotted time, usually in keeping with the timetable (synchronous teaching and learning). This is so that she can connect with students and they can have the opportunity for discussions. If unforeseen circumstances prevent these from taking place, classes will be re-scheduled. At other times students will be expected to read, participate in forum discussions, do self-study based on online materials provided on RUConnected, interact with their lecturer or peers, and prepare for assessment tasks in their own time (asynchronous teaching and learning). Students will also be provided with a Time Management Guideline to help them keep up with the weekly schedule.


Selected Publications

Click here for details of Sam's Published Works, or follow the link to her ORCID account, where you can follow her to be informed of upcoming and new publications: . You can also follow Sam at


Community Engagement

Together with the Makana District Friends of the Library and the Rhodes University Community Engagement Division, Sam helps establish school libraries, runs reading clubs, and facilitates literature appreciation workshops at DD Siwisa Primary, Ntsika Secondary, and Nombulelo Secondary Schools.   

In March 2018, Sam launched an official university short course called Community Engagement Reading Club Orientation (CERCO). This course falls under the auspices of the Department of Literary Studies in English and the Rhodes University Community Engagement Division.


Institutional/Professional Activities

Member of the Rhodes University Sexual Violence Task Team. See the most recent report:  

Vice-Chair of the Rhodes University Language Committee, Convener of the Annual Multilingualism Colloquium (see the website: https// See the following articles:;


Rhodes University Community Engagement Committee

Margaret and Patrick Flanagan Scholarship Committee

Editorial Board Journal of Commonwealth and Postcolonial Studies

Editorial Board English in Africa

External Examiner UKZN (Pietermaritzburg), UNISA, and UNISA Gender Studies Unit, UCT and Stellenbosch University,

Reader MA in Creative Writing Programme, Rhodes University

Guest Editor Current Writing Vol 25 No 2, 2013

Guest Editor Journal of Commonwealth and Postcolonial Studies Spring 2016

Guest Editor Scrutiny2 August, 2019 

Resident: Department of Latina/Latino Studies, College of Ethnic Studies and Cesar E Chavez Institute, San Francisco State University (2017-2019)


Departmental Portfolios

English 2 Paper Co-ordinator - Transnational Literature

English 3 Paper Co-ordinator - Encountering African Literature

English Honours Paper Co-ordinator - Africa in the World.

Co-ordinator - Departmental Research Seminars

Member - Postgraduate Committee 


Last Modified: Thu, 24 Jun 2021 09:08:24 SAST