Dr. Ernest Cole

John Dirk Werkman Professor of English
Profile photo of Dr. Ernest Cole

Ernest Cole began teaching at Hope in July 2008 as assistant professor of English on tenure track. He was tenured in 2014 and is currently the director of global learning and chair of the Department of English. His research focuses primarily on post-apartheid South Africa, but he is also interested in body and trauma studies, especially the ways in which bodily injury shapes identity. He is presently working on spatial theory as construct of national and diasporic identities in post-conflict Sierra Leone.

AREAS OF expertise

Ernest specializes in post-colonal literature with particular emphasis on Sub-Saharan Anglophone African literature; disability studies with a focus on the disfigured body, violence and trauma; and travel and empire studies, especially Victorian literature and its intersections with world literature.


  • Ph. D., University of Connecticut, 2008
  • MA, African literature, Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone, 1994,
  • BA, English language and literature, Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone, 1990

HONORS and awards

  • Abioseh Porter Best Essay Award for “Decentering Anthropocentrism: Human-Animal Relations in Aminatta Forna’s ‘Happiness’,” African Literature Association, 2020
  • The John Dirk Werkman Endowed Associate Professorship, Hope College, 2017 
  • The Motoichiro Oghimi Global Courage Award, Hope College, 2017 
  • Lily Fellow on Peace and Reconciliation in Northern Ireland, Aquinas College, 2011 
  • Towsley Research Scholar, Hope College, 2010

Published work

  • Space and Trauma in Writings of Aminatta Forna, Africa World Press/The Red Sea Press, October 2016
  • Ousmane Sembene: Writer, Filmmaker, and Revolutionary Artist, with Oumar Cherif Diop, Africa World Press, July 2015
  • Theorizing the Disfigured Body: Mutilation, Amputation, and Disability Culture in Post-Conflict Sierra Leone, Africa World Press, 2014
  • Emerging Perspectives on Syl Cheney-Coker, with Eustace Palmer, Africa World Press, 2014

outside the college

Ernest's interests include digital photography and travel. He is married to Everetta Cole and has two daughters, Ernesta and Tunde.

Profile photo of Dr. Ernest Cole
Dr. Ernest Cole

Phone Number616.395.7623

Lubbers Hall Room 317 126 East 10th Street Holland, MI 49423-3516
A map showing the location for Dr. Ernest Cole Lubbers Hall Room 317 126 East 10th Street Holland MI 49423-3516