We are happy to announce that the Department of Theatre Arts of the University of Ibadan attains the golden age this year. The Department started as the School of Drama in 1962/63 and had its first intake of 30 students in October 1963. It is the first Department of Theatre Arts in Africa followed closely by the Department of Theatre Arts in Legon, Ghana. We plan therefore, to celebrate this feat of continental significance in a befitting manner. One of the many activities scheduled for this Golden Anniversary celebration is an international conference on the theme: 50 Years of Theatre In the African Academy.
Theatre Studies in Africa can really be said to have begun at this period when much intellectual capital was expended trying to determine whether there was anything like African theatre, and what it was, if there was; or should be, if there wasn't. Such influential African/Africanist scholars as Alain Ricard, Michael Echeruo, Joel Adedejl, Martin Banham, Oyin Ogunba, Kwabena Nketia, Wale Soyinka and Ngugi wa Thiongo tried in diverse ways to constitute the field out of the universalist paradigm of Western anthropological exegeses which censured alternative or plural modes of understanding the world outside of the Imperial template; thus the many explanations which denied the existence of anything in the manner of African theatre, philosophy and even history. Today, we can look back and proclaim the end of those days of doubt; that African theatre as a field of study has not only come of age but has mapped out a territory its own. If its integrity was questioned in the past, today we can confidently point out its vigorous presence, evidenced by the proliferation of celebrated African dramatists, scholars and theatre makers, as well as the establishment of academic disciplines dedicated to African theatre and performance studies in the continent and beyond.
However, while we justifiably celebrate the coming of age of African theatre studies, we must ask searching questions. While we have chronologically distanced ourselves from those green days of uncertainty, have we also theoretically constituted a field of academic study independent of the colonising category of modem European theatre? In other words, how far has the academic study of African theatre really freed itself of the imperial model against which it was found wanting? Is it possible that much of what we engage in African theatre studies is still largely a response to the universalist regime of western theatre? Responses to these queries are bound to be diverse and contentious. 50 Years of Theatre in the African Academy hopes to critically host these diverse and contentious discourses on the theories and practices that have come to categorise not only theatre in Africa but African theatre. lt hopes to historicise and territorialise the field; to examine its challenges, achievements and prospects.
Proposals for paper presentations during the conference should address, but not be limited to the following themes:
1. History of theatre studies in Africa.
2. Theatre in Africa and African Theatre.
3. Methods, theories and frameworks evolved in the research in African theatre.
4. Innovations in contemporary African theatre studies and practice.
5. Theatre Design and technology in Africa."
6. Contributions of individual scholars, dramatists/playwrights, choreographers, directors and sundry categories of theatre workers to African and/or world theatre.
7. African theatre in the recent debates in literary, cultural and performance Studies.
8. Regional studies.
9. African theatre in diaspora.
10.Practice as paradigm.
11.Theatre, Gender and Identity Studies.
Abstracts of no more than 250 words should be sent to the following e-mail address: email@example.com.
Deadline for the Submission of Abstracts is May 31, 2013
Dr Chuks Okoye
Department of Theatre Arts
University of Ibadan,
+234-8087-029391 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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