Spring 2022

Play and Performance Across “The Black Atlantic”

Listed in: Black Studies, as BLST-124  |  English, as ENGL-379  |  Theater and Dance, as THDA-224


Ana Candida Carneiro (Section 01)
Jude Sandy (Section 01)


(Offered as THDA 224, BLST 124, and ENGL 379) What is the “African” in “African-American?” From the point of view of U.S. American theater, what is the relationship between African-American theatrical practices and those of a global African diaspora? Grounded in Paul Gilroy’s and other theorists’ positing of “The Black Atlantic,” this course will examine how notions of shared and distinct cultural heritages collide and co-mingle across the theatrical performance worlds of African and other African-descendant peoples. Our point of reference will be canonical and contemporary plays and dance-theater works by African-American artists like Adrienne Kennedy, August Wilson, Katherine Dunham, Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, Ronald K. Brown, Marcus Gardley, Jackie Sibblies-Drury, Danai Gurira, and others. We will examine how the conflicts, solidarities and assertions of identity and heritage in these artists’ works relate to that of such African-continental, -Caribbean, -European and trans-national figures as Pearl Primus, Wole Soyinka, Germaine Acogny, Ama Ata Aidoo, Femi Osofisan, Derek Walcott, Aimé Césaire, Trevor Rhone, Natasha Gordon and others. This comparative study will be situated against the seminal backdrop of diaspora cultures of ceremonial performance practices still evident throughout the Black world. 

Visiting Assistant Professor Jude Sandy. Spring semester. 2021-2022.

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: This course will involve regular attendance and class participation, class discussion, reading, viewing and writing assignments. It may also include limited group work outside of class, rehearsal or other artistic assignments, as well as physical or vocal performance work and/or visual, aural, and physical analysis as applicable. Attendance at performances outside of class may also be required. Students with documented disabilities who will require accommodations in this course should be in consultation with Accessibility Services and reach out to the faculty member as soon as possible to ensure that accommodations can be made in a timely manner.


2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2022