For a complete list of my publications please see my 

Publications & Research

Print

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.

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: 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. 

6. 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. 

7. Documentary: Les Ballets Africains and the Restoration of Black Identity in Africa and the Diaspora

Status: Work in progress

Colonialism attacked African cultural institutions that formed the bedrock of society. During decolonization, the social effects of colonialism silently continued in the background, destroying African identity and the institutions that assured its vitality. Slavery in the African diaspora was declining at the onset of the colonial period in Africa, but its lingering cultural effects mirrored those of colonized African societies. One route to the liberation of African identity in Africa and the Diaspora emanated from an overlooked source, Les Ballets Africains. The narratives conveyed in the dance productions restored historical and cultural awareness to Africans on the continent and in the Diaspora. This documentary discusses the historical circumstances surrounding the founding of Les Ballets Africains, and the impact the dance company had on African identity in Africa and the Diaspora in the late twentieth century.

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.

The website www.ofosuwaabiola.org is a pedagogy website designed to provide supplementary materials for students in Dance History I & II, Theatre History, Performance Studies, and Theatre Arts Topics courses at Howard University.

© 2018 by Ofosuwa M. Abiola, Ph.D.

Department of Theatre and Dance

Howard University