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Northwestern School of Communication

Bimbola Akinbola

Assistant Professor
70 Arts Circle Dr.
5th Floor
Evanston, IL 60208
Working at the intersection of performance, visual culture, and postcolonial theory, my research examines notions of belonging in African diasporic cultural production. I am particularly interested in how individuals with marginalized gender identities navigate the experience of being in diaspora, and how looking to their visual art and performance specifically, offers new possibilities for how we understand community, kinship, borders and, consequently the concept of diaspora.

Area(s) of Expertise

Art History, Art Theory and Practice, Black studies, Diaspora Studies, Feminist theory, Queer theory, Visual cultures
Bimbola Akinbola

Bimbola Akinbola is Chicago-based artist and scholar. Working at the intersection of African diaspora studies, performance, visual culture, and postcolonial theory, Dr. Akinbola’s scholarly work is concerned with kinship and belonging, gender performance, and affect in the African diaspora.

Dr. Akinbola is currently working on her first book manuscript, which examines disbelonging and diasporic homemaking in the creative work of contemporary Nigerian diasporic women artists. Her essays have also been published in Text and Performance Quarterly and Women Studies Quarterly.

In addition to her scholarly work, Dr. Akinbola is a practicing visual and performance artist who has shown work at venues such as Center on Halsted, The Riverside Arts Center, Compound Yellow, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.

She received her PhD in 2018 from the University of Maryland, College Park and was Northwestern’s 2018-2020 Black Performing Arts Post-Doctoral Fellow.


  • PhD, American Studies, University of Maryland, College Park
  • BA, American Studies and Studio Art, Macalester College

Selected Publications

  • “African Intimacy and Love with No Pretense: The Erotics of Diaspora in Zina Saro-Wiwa’s Eaten By the Heart (2012/2013)” in Women Studies Quarterly, 2022.
  • “AfricanAunties: Performing African Aunties on Tik Tok” in Text and Performance Quarterly, 2022
  • “Disbelonging and Unruly Return in the Performance Art of Wura-Natasha Ogunji” in Text and Performance Quarterly, 2020


  • PERF-ST 101: Modes of Performance
  • PERF-ST 310: Art, Literature and Performance of Women of Color
  • PERF-ST 330: Migration, Exile, and Return in African and African Diasporic Art, Performance, and Literature
  • PERF-ST 330: Black Feminist Performance
  • PERF-ST 338: Family Stories, Memoirs and Diaries
  • PERF-ST 515: Queer/African/Bodies