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Ofosuwa M. Abiola, PhD
Publications & Research

For a complete list of my publications please see my CV

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1. Monograph: Afrikinesis: A Paradigm for Research on African and African Diaspora Dance

Status: Under contract/in copy editing phase. Forthcoming, August 2023.

Afrikinesis: A Paradigm for Research on African and African Diaspora Dance provides scholars and non-specialists alike, with a roadmap for effectively conducting culturally aware, historically relevant research on African dance and on any dance style that contains African elements. The book explains why Western research paradigms are inadequate for research on Africana dance. It exposes the value of utilizing an appropriate research paradigm that offers researchers a broader perspective, and a transparent, unfettered process for analysis in under-researched topics such as African and African diaspora dance styles. 

2. Editor, monograph: Fire Under My Feet: History, Race & Agency in African Diaspora Dance

Status: Published, Routledge, 2022.

Fire Under My Feet: History, Race & Agency in African Diaspora Dance, seeks to expose the diverse, significant, and often under-researched historical and developmental phenomena revealed by studies in the dance systems of the African Diaspora. This work showcases a blend of scholars, dance practitioners, and interdisciplinarity, and engages the relationship between African diaspora dance and the fields of history, performance studies, religion, identity and Black agency. In Fire Under My Feet, written documentation and diverse methodologies are buttressed by the experiences of those whose lives are built around the practice of African diaspora dance. Replete with original perspectives, this book makes a significant contribution to dance and African diaspora scholarship simultaneously. Most important, it highlights the work of researchers from Ecuador, India, Puerto Rico, the United States, and the United Kingdom, and it exposes under-researched and omitted voices of the African diaspora dance world of the aforesaid locations and Puerto Rico, Columbia, and Trinidad as well.

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

Status: Published, Routledge, 2019.

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.

4. Textbook: Historical Perspectives on Dance in Africa

Status: Published, Intelligentsia Press, 2020. (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 only 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.

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

and Theatre.

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

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.

6. 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. 

7. Book Chapter: “Dancing Protest: (Re)Visiting The Black Arts Movement Through the Lens of Dance,” 

Status: Published in the textbook, Black Freedom Struggles, Kendall Publishers, 2021.

Presently, although it is an understudied topic, literature on the Black Arts Movement produced by key Black Arts Movement scholars does exist. However, dance is rarely mentioned in Black Arts Movement literature. Dance was prolific during the Black Arts Movement era, and the omission of it in the literature advances an inaccurate and incomplete historical picture of the period. This chapter demonstrates that by utilizing Black Arts Movement philosophies in their choreographies, dance companies, dance organizations, and dance artists, made a significant contribution to the Black Arts Movement narrative. It also exposes noteworthy dance artists, and dance organizations, many of whom are thus far unrecognized. In so doing, the chapter seeks to facilitate the inclusion of dance in the Black Arts Movement narrative.

8. 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. 

9. Voiceless Shouts: Danced Conversations on Women, Identity, and Activism in Africa and her Diaspora

Status: Work in progress

The topics of dance and women are either under-researched or omitted entirely from the historical narrative. Yet, understanding the place of women's dances in African societies facilitates wholistic engagement with the African experience in particular, and the African diaspora narrative in general. Voiceless Shouts engages diverse aspects of the historical, political, and social narrative in Africa through the lens of gender and dance. The book accentuates the utility of dance as a device often used for activism, politics, identity, religion, and a host of other phenomena not commonly considered within the realms of women's dances and historical accounts. 

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History Dances: African Dance Systems as Methodologies
Grave Revelations: Cultural and Historical Narratives From the Colored Union Benevolent Association Burial Ground 

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 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.

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