For a complete list of my publications please see my 

Publications & Research

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1. Monograph: History Dances: Chronicling the History of Traditional Mandinka Dance 

Status: Published, Routledge, 2018.

For more information: 

 

History Dances: Chronicling the History of Traditional Mandinka Dance, argues that a wealth of information is housed within traditional Mandinka dances. Subsequently, the dances can be used as an African derived primary source for writing African history. The book highlights the overall value of studying Mandinka dance history specifically, and African dance history generally, and it addresses the issue of scarcity with regard to primary sources for writing African history.

 

History Dances is distinct from other history books because it emphasizes the academic practical utilization of an artform that is generally performed, as a methodology for constructing written narratives. The book targets undergraduate college students, but scholars in the fields of dance history, African history, performance studies, and cultural anthropology, among others, will find the book useful as well.

2. Textbook: Historical Perspectives on Dance in Africa

Status: Published, Intelligentsia Press, 2019. (For more info. click the picture)

The market is saturated with dance history books solely representing European narratives. Those dance history books that do include representations of Black dance-making, primarily discuss a few popularly known historic Black dance artists. More alarming, African dance history is often not discussed at all. Historical Perspectives on Dance in Africa, seeks to introduce undergraduate dance history students to the history of locations in North, West, South, and Central Africa, and to the dances that influence and are impacted  on by that history.

Historical Perspectives on Dance in Africa proves to be a vital introductory text for undergraduate students with little to no experience or prior knowledge of African dance history.

3. Journal: Evoke: A Historical, Theoretical, and Cultural Analysis of Africana Dance

and Theatre.

Status: Published, Howard University's digital platform, Bepress Digital Commons, 2017.

                                                                                                    (For info. click the picture)

I founded the peer-reviewed digital journal, Evoke: A Historical, Theoretical, and Cultural Analysis of Africana Dance and Theatre, to encourage the documentation of, and rigorous discourse on Africana dance, theatre, and film. Africana is understood to mean all people of African descent on and outside of the continent of Africa.

4. Article: "It Fits Like a Glove: Women and Black Consciousness in South Africa, 1901-1989,"

Status: Published. Africalogical Perspectives: Historical and Contemporary Analysis of Race and Africana Studies, Spring Issue, 2014, pp. 77-92.

Identity is often used as a tool -- on and off stage -- to combat oppression, expose injustice, and to affirm the humanity and value of a people and their culture. Off stage, or in extra theatrical  spaces, it is presented and rehearsed, and thus, performed in those spaces as well. "It Fits Like a Glove: Women and Black Consciousness in South Africa, 1901-1989," accentuates the performance of identity, and the history of African women's agency in South Africa, during the inception, the height of, and beyond the period of, the Black Conscious Movement. 

5. Monograph: Unwitting Witnesses: Unearthing Narratives of African Dance in Pre-Colonial Logs.

Status: Work in progress

Unwitting Witnesses: Unearthing Narratives of African Dance in Pre-Colonial Logs, explores cultural and ideological narratives embedded in African dance and inadvertently documented by travelers to the Senegambia region of West Africa prior to 1880. The book utilizes primary sources including government report logs, diaries, surveyor’s reports, journals, and missionary reports, among others, located in The Gambia and Senegal, to analyze the conveyance of ideological and cultural tenets through African dance during the pre-colonial period. These primary sources are typically not consulted for research on African dance history. Yet, they contain a wealth of unknown and under-researched information. 

 

6. Monograph: For Every Thought There’s A Dance: Historical Musings on Dance, Hegemony, and Resistance in Africa.

Status: Work in progress 

The topic of dance is glaringly omitted from the historical narrative. Yet, understanding the place of dance in African  societies facilitates a wholistic appreciation of the African experience in particular, and the African diaspora narrative in general. For Every Thought There's A Dance, engages both sides of the political and social arena in Africa through the lens of dance. The book accentuates the utility of dance as a neutral device often used for activism, political propaganda, identity, religion, and a host of other phenomena not commonly considered within the realm of dance. 

7. Editor, monograph: Fire Under My Feet: History, Culture & Identity in African Diaspora Dance

Status: Work in progress

African diaspora dance has become a global phenomenon among scholars and practitioners. Accordingly, knowledge of the history, experiences, and agency of the people who created these dance styles must be accessible to those who study it to preserve the culture, integrity and aesthetic understanding of the artforms. Fire Under My Feet, presents African diaspora dance history immersed in the experiences and worldview of its progenitors. 

Digital
History Dances: African Dance Systems as Methodologies

The short-form documentary, History Dances: African Dance Systems as Methodologies was created to serve as a supplement to the above monograph with a similar name (History Dances: Chronicling the History of Traditional Mandinka Dance). It provides visual support for the argument that African dance systems can be utilized as primary sources for research and writing historical narratives.

Grave Revelations: Cultural and Historical Narratives From the Colored Union Benevolent Association Burial Ground 

Grave Revelations: Cultural and Historical Narratives from the Colored Union Benevolent Association Burial Ground exposes viewers to the myriad instances of Africanisms in the performance of funerary rituals. The short-form documentary acts as a case study by introducing viewers to the practices of African Americans in the 19th century at an African American burial ground discovered in Washington, DC.

© 2018 by Ofosuwa M. Abiola, Ph.D.

Department of Theatre and Dance

Howard University