Towards Global Black Cultural Studies in Theory & Practice: Reading Tejumola Olaniyan

This Thursday, Professor Catherine Cole will make a presentation in honor of Tejumola Olaniyan’s scholarship on Thursday, May 11th, at 11:45 pm (EST) at Cité internationale des arts – African Dialogues in Paris. (17:45 Paris time). The presentation is part of the Arts in Africa and its Diasporas: Practices, Knowledge, Mobility Seminar. 

Professor Cole was Teju’s mentee. They met at Northwestern University back in 1991-1992 when Teju was there for a post-doc from the University of Virginia. Catherine was the UW Madison African Studies Program ‘Africa at Noon’ guest presenter on April 6, 2022, and was part of the launching of the TOF a couple of days after.  

During a thirty-year career, scholar Tejumola Olaniyan wrote seven books and over fifty articles that covered an extraordinary range of topics and genres: from the pop music of Nigerian Fela Kuti and his rebel art and politics to the plays of African American writers Ntozake Shange and Amiri Baraka; from the urban garrison architecture of Lagos and Accra to Caribbean liminal spaces evidenced in Derek Walcott’s writing; from the theories of Negritude to more recent trends of Afrocentrism, Postcolonialism, and Globalism. Olaniyan took both African political cartoons and American popular films like Coming to America seriously—that is, as expressions fully warranting academic analysis and critical self-reflexivity. This paper argues that implicit in Olaniyan’s intellectual legacy is an evolving theory and method of Global Black Cultural Studies. Through a systematic appraisal of his oeuvre, this presentation seeks to identify key principles of Global Black Cultural Studies as Olaniyan forged it, setting the stage for an appraisal of how his scholarship may guide an ever-evolving field of transdisciplinary teaching and research on Black cultures worldwide. 

If time permits, please join Catherine’s presentation via the Zoom link

10:45 am CST

11:45 am EST

4:45 pm Lagos


Catherine M. Cole is a Professor of Dance and English at the University of Washington, where she recently served as Divisional Dean of the Arts. Her most recent book Performance and the Afterlives of Injustice (2020) is on dance and live art in contemporary South Africa and beyond. Previous books include Performing South Africa’s Truth Commission: Stages of Transition (2010), Africa After Gender? (2007), and Ghana’s Concert Party Theatre (2001).