Dotun Ayobade (he, his, him) an assistant professor of performance studies and African American studies. His scholarship and teaching are in the areas of late twentieth century dance, performance, and popular music in West Africa. Ayobade attends to how, beyond the modalities of writing, West Africans activate aesthetic and everyday social performance to shape their lived realities, forge belonging, and declare being in the African political economy. Ayobade is currently working on the first book-length study of the storied lives of Nigeria’s Afrobeat Queens, an iconic group of women that gave potency to the activism of famed musician Fela Kuti. Provisionally entitled The Afrobeat Queens: Gender, Play, and the Making of Fela Kuti’s Music Subculture, this book examines how the Queens fashioned performance strategies to negotiate agency and visibility when confronted with authoritarianism and social rebuke. The book project is under contract with Indiana University Press.
Ayobade’s writing has appeared in the Journal of African Cultural Studies, in edited book volumes and in other public fora. He has a forthcoming essay “Inventing Moves, Or, How Nigerian Musicians Sculpt the Body Politic” in the Dance Research Journal. Ayobade’s publications underscore his longstanding interest in the uses, forms, and trajectories of a multitude of cultural products in Africa and the diaspora.