Scars of Conquest/Masks of Resistance: The Invention of Cultural Identities in African, African-American, and Caribbean Drama

Synopsis

This original work redefines and broadens our understanding of the drama of the English-speaking African diaspora. Looking closely at the work of Amiri Baraka, Nobel prize-winners Wole Soyinka and Derek Walcott, and Ntozake Shange, the author contends that the refashioning of the collective cultural self in black drama originates from the complex intersection of three discourses: Eurocentric, Afrocentric, and Post-Afrocentric. From blackface minstrelsy to the Trinidad Carnival, from the Black Aesthetic to the South African Black Consciousness theatres and the scholarly debate on the (non)existence of African drama, Olaniyan cogently maps the terrains of a cultural struggle and underscores a peculiar situation in which the inferiorization of black performance forms is most often a shorthand for subordinating black culture and corporeality. Drawing on insights from contemporary theory and cultural studies, and offering detailed readings of the above writers, Olaniyan shows how they occupy the interface between the Afrocentric and a liberating Post-Afrocentric space where black theatrical-cultural difference could be envisioned as a site of multiple articulations: race, class, gender, genre, and language.