Mahan Ellison - Modern Languages

Mahan Ellison

Associate Professor of Spanish

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Mahan Ellison grew up in West Africa before coming to Furman as a student in 1999 and majoring in Spanish. After teaching and living in Spartanburg, Japan, Kentucky, Virginia, Morocco, and Spain, he is very happy to be returning to Furman and Greenville with his family almost twenty years later.

Honors and Awards

  • 2020-2021 Fulbright Senior Scholar for Teaching & Research, Morocco & Spain (at Ibn Zohr University in Agadir, Morocco and The Autonomous University of Madrid, Spain)
  • 2018 VFIC Mednick Memorial Fellowship Research Award
  • 2015 National Endowment for the Humanities Grant


  • Ph.D., University of Kentucky
  • M.A., University of Kentucky
  • B.A., Furman University

Research Interests

Dr. Ellison's research focuses on the literary and historical ties between Spain and Africa and how those ties are narrated and politicized. His research approaches literary production by Spanish and Hispano-African authors with a focus on questions of alterity, identity, and the conceptualization of space and nation. Currently, he is working on a project on the representation of the natural space in works by Hispanophone Moroccan authors.

Representative Publications


2021 Africa in the Contemporary Spanish Novel, 1990-2010. Lexington Books, 2021.

Refereed Journal Articles

2019 “La intrahistoria, la alegoría y la hibridez en Las tinieblas de tu memoria negra de Donato Ndongo-Bidyogo.” Espacios. Revista de la Asociación Marroquí de Estudios Ibéricos e Iberoamericanos, vol. 2, invierno, 2019, pp. 117-134.

2018 “‘La amada tiris, tierra de nuestros abuelos:’ The Sahara in Contemporary Sahrawi Literature.” CELAAN, Revue du Centre d’Etudes des Littératures et des Arts d’Afrique du Nord / Review of the Center for the Study of the Literatures and Arts of North Africa, vol. 15, no. 2-3, 2018, pp. 73-102.

2017 “‘Esa araña invisible cuyas patas son sueños:’ Granada as Space and Place in Ángel Ganivet’s Political Thought.” MIFLC Review, vol. 18,  Fall 2016-2017, pp. 57-74.

2017 “Un reino tan lejano: Yudis, Shahrazad, and the Imaginary Space in the Contemporary Hispano-Moroccan Novel.” Research in African Literatures, vol. 8, no. 3, 2017, pp. 98-115.

2012 “España Transfetana: Writing the Protectorate and the Patria in La llamada del almuédano and El tiempo entre costuras.Vanderbilt e-Journal of Luso-Hispanic Studies, vol. 8, 2012, pp. 22-33.

2012 “Easier Said than Done: Masculinity on the Front Line in Rolando Hinojosa’s The Useless Servants and Korean Love Songs.Confluencia, vol. 28, no. 1, 2012, pp. 33-51.

2011 “Writing the Cosmopolis: The Conceptualization of Community in Lucía Etxebarría’s Cosmofobia.” Lucero Journal, vol. 21, 2011, pp. 79-100.

Refereed Book Chapters

2022 “Sex, Identity, and Narration in the Equatoguinean Diaspora.” In the volume 21st Century Arab and African Diasporas to Spain, Portugal, and Latin America, ed. Cristián Ricci. Routledge. Forthcoming, late 2022.

2016 "El último conquistador y el primer rey: África como heterotopía literaria en la ficción de Ángel Ganivet y Pío Baroja." In the volume Castilla bajo mirada extraña: Hacia un imaginario cultural, ed. Jorge González del Pozo. Valladolid, Spain: Editorial Páramo, 2016, pp. 155-174.

2015 “Oikos and the Other: Humanizing the Immigrant in Donato Ndongo’s El metro.” In the volume African Immigrants in Contemporary Spanish Texts: Crossing the Straits, eds. Victoria Ketz and Debra Faszer-McMahon. Surrey, England: Ashgate, 2015, pp. 161-176.

Conference Proceedings

2021 “Conceptualización de la naturaleza en la literatura hispano-marroquí.” In Letras africanas en lenguas ibéricas: Actas del I Congreso Internacional de la Asociación Marroquí de Estudios Ibéricos e Iberoamericanos, ed. Mohamed Abrighach. Casablanca, Morocco: Asociación Marroquí de Estudios Ibéricos e Iberoamericanos, 2021, pp. 235-246.

Book Reviews

2022 Review of La poesía guineoecuatoriana en español en su context colonial y (trans)nacional by Alain Lawo-Sukam. Cincinnati Romance Review, vol 53, Fall 2022, pp. 186-188.

2020 Review of Trans-afrohispanismos: Puentes culturales críticos entre África, Latinoamérica y España edited by Dorothy Odartey-Wellington. The Bulletin of Spanish Studies, vol. 96, no. 1, 2020, pp. 1560-1561.

2018 Review of Equatorial Guinean Literature in its National and Transnational Contexts by Marvin A. Lewis. TRANSMODERNITY: Journal of Peripheral Cultural Production of the Luso-Hispanic World, vol. 8, no. 1, 2018, pp. 172-174.

2013 Review of The Afro-Latin@ Reader: History and Culture in the United States, eds. Miriam Jiménez Román and Juan Flores. Arizona Journal of Hispanic Cultural Studies, vol. 17, 2013, pp. 278-279.

Additional Professional Activity

  • 2022 - Present Global Hispanophone Executive Committee Member
  • 2022-Present Treasurer, Luso-Hispanophone Caucus of the African Literature Association
  • 2019-Present Assistant Editor for Production for the Arizona Journal of Hispanic Cultural Studies