University Research Leadership Chairs | College of Arts

University Research Leadership Chairs

Congratulations to Professors
Dorothy Odartey-Wellington of the School of Languages and Literatures
and Norman Smith of History
on being awarded University Research Leadership Chairs.

From nearly a dozen nominees, the College of Arts Research Advisory Council had the difficult job of selecting two candidates. The Chairs program is intended to “recognize faculty members who have achieved significant research recognition both nationally and internationally…the Research Leadership Chair further recognizes their contribution to both University reputation and advances within their discipline.”


Professor Odartey-Wellington’s work as a scholar of Spanish and Afro-Hispanic literature has been foundational in the emerging field of Afro-Hispanic studies and has brought research focus to an underrepresented region and literature.

Professor Odartey-Wellington's research on women novelists in post-Franco Spain has been published in well-regarded journals such as Anales de la literatura contemporánea (2000). Her first book, Contemporary Spanish Fiction: Generation X (University of Delaware Press, 2008), has been referred to by reviewers as “a ‘go to’ resource for the study of the Generation X novel in Spain.” As an innovative early adopter of new technologies for research and knowledge mobilization, organizing and hosting a hybrid in-person and virtual international conference. This pioneering online conference in 2013 was heralded as the first of its kind, bringing together scholars working on Afro-Hispanic literatures from Equatorial Guinea, the Saharawi Republic and other regions for the first time and was nominated for the Desire2Excel Award in the category of Impact. Her most recent work, Transafrohispanismos: Puentes culturales críticos entre África, Latinoamerica y España (Transafrohispanisms: Critical Cultural Bridges between Africa, Latin America and Spain, Rodopi), has been praised for its originality and described as laying the groundwork for the emerging field of Afro-Hispanic Studies. It has been referred to as “an important call to action for scholars to rethink how they critically approach and evaluate Afro-Hispanism.”



Dr. Norman Smith is a pioneering and prolific scholar of Sino-Japanese history, especially the colonial state of Manchukuo (1932–1945). His award-winning books have defined the field.

His many SSHRC-funded research collaborations involve other leading scholars around the world, in China and at top western institutions such as Oxford, Harvard and UBC. He is the most influential and widely published member of his cohort of Canadian historians of China. Resisting Manchukuo (2007) was the first English-language book on writers in Manchukuo. The study won a national award in Canada and is the only English-language study translated and included in a 31-volume set of Manchukuo literature. From 2013 to 2017, Smith and scholars from China, Japan, South Korea, and the US edited a 31-volume, Chinese-language set of Manchukuo literature; Professor Smith co-edited five of the volumes with PhD candidates from China East Normal University (ECNU)(Shanghai). In each of 2017, 2018, and 2019, Professor Smith published significant and groundbreaking books. Empire and Environment in the Making of Manchuria (2017) is the first English-language scholarly collection focused solely on the environment of Northeast China; his volume on the writer Tian Lin (2018) is the first in any language to analyze her extensive oeuvre and includes her previously unpublished autobiography; Manchukuo Perspectives (2019), includes work by senior, as well as emerging, American, Canadian, Chinese, Japanese, and South Korean scholars. This first English-language exposure for the Asian scholars and the first English-language collected volume of studies of Manchukuo literature is a ground-breaking introduction to a body of colonial literature that has been almost entirely forgotten.

Congratulations to our superb nominees!

For more information of the University Research Leadership Chairs program, go to:


The University of Guelph resides on the land of the Between the Lakes Treaty No. 3, the territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit. This land is part of the Dish with One Spoon, a covenant between Indigenous nations to live peaceably on the territories of the Great Lakes region. We recognize that today this gathering place is home to many First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples and acknowledging them reminds us of our collective responsibility to the land where we learn, live and work.