A scholar, translator and committed humanist, Dr. Pamela Olúbùnmi Smith is Professor of English and Humanities at the University of Nebraska at Omaha where she teaches courses on multicultural humanities, the writings of women of color, and American ethnic literatures in both the Goodrich Scholarship Program, a one-of-a-kind multicultural and interdisciplinary two-year undergraduate program, and in the English Department. Dr. Smith is the recipient of numerous campus-wide faculty and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) pedagogy and research grants and fellowships.
A well-traveled multilingual with a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of Washington, Dr. Smith's professional training and experience are interdisciplinary, spanning the broad areas of national literatures as well as culture and translation studies. Her research interests are in Yorùbá studies, translation and the criticism of African literatures, Anglophone and Francophone African literatures. Professor Smith’s extensive publication includes numerous articles and presentations on translation, pedagogy and literary criticism at national and international conferences; review essays and book reviews in many refereed journals; and public readings from her translations.Following the lead of Wolé Sóyinká, 1986 Nobel laureate in literature, who translated Ògbójú Ode, the classical novel of pioneer Nigerian writer, D. O. Fágúnwà from Yorùbá into English in 1968, Dr. Smith translated in 1984 Igbó Olódùmarè (Forest of the Almighty), the second of Fágúnwà's five Yorùbá classics. Since then she has translated Efúnsetán Aníwúrà, Ìyálóde Ìbàdàn & Olú Omo Tinúubú, Ìyálóde Ègbá (Africa World Press, 2005), two much acclaimed historical plays by leading Yorùbá contemporary writer, Akínwùmí Ìsòlá, and is presently completing her English translation of Omo Olúkùn Esin(forthcoming), the first and only Yorùbá revolutionary novel by Adébáyò Fálétí.
Her essays on Fágúnwà and Ìsòlá, published in META, The Literary Griot, and METAMORPHOSES; Journal of Literary Translation, are considered critical to the relatively sparse criticism available on indigenous African literatures. In 2002, Dr. Smith produced English-Yorùbá Dictionary: Vol 219, an 8,000-word serial dictionary for Prime Ad! Services GmbH, Berlin, Germany. In 2004, Dr. Smith partnered with colleague, Dr. Adébùsólá Onàyemí, in producing a much-needed English-Yorùbá/Yorùbá-English Dictionary On-line, a work in progress, www.Yorùbádictionary.comDr. Smith has won numerous summer faculty fellowships and awards for research and teaching, including the 1994 Excellence in Teaching Award at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. She actively served for six years on the board of the Nebraska Humanities Council. Currently, she is Secretary of the Association of African Women Scholars (AAWS). Dr. Smith was a former member of the African Studies Association (ASA). She has served on the Executive Council of the African Literature Association (ALA) to which she has been a longtime member. Along with colleague, Dr. Wangui wa Goro, Dr. Smith initiated the newly-formed Translation Caucus of the ALA in 2005. Presently, she is serving on the ALA’s Awards Committee and is a member of the editorial board of The Journal of the African Literature Association (JALA). She is actively involved in community service on the Program Committee of the YWCA board.