Zainabu Jallo

Playwright, Nigeria/Switzerland

Zainabu Jallo is a scholar, playwright and portrait photographer. Her academic and creative works have been conveyed through Fellowships at the Sundance Theater Institute, The Institute for World Literature, Harvard University, Institute for Cultural Diplomacy in Berlin, Residenz Theater Munich, Chateau Lavigny, and House of Writers in Switzerland. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts England, and UNESCO Coalition of Artists for the General History of Africa. She is author of award winning plays Onions Make Us Cry, Holy Night, and My Sultan is a Rockstar and a Doctoral researcher at the Graduate School of Humanities, University of Bern, Switzerland. Her scholarly interests include diaspora studies, iconic criticism, and material culture.

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Transnational Nomadism and Cultural Transfer: Drama in Mobility

This project investigates the functions of dramatic texts in mobility as well as the political factors responsible for their circulation. Although there is a strong focus on textual mobility, other areas of focus include their functionality as one of the modes of post-colonial transition. It may be useful to consider them as independent cultural objects in mobility. The principal concern for this project is the politicization of texts and performances by epistemic communities as a means toward specific purposes such as accentuation of cultural identity and Nationalist ideologies. Jallo approaches this topic with the idea that the principal factor accountable for drama in transnationalism is a paradigmatic shift from traditional theatre to literary theatre. There have been representations of Nigerian theatre troupes in festivals from as early as the 1940s in Europe, but this project concerns itself with professional/academic theatre where emphasis is not necessarily placed on performance creation but on dramatic creation. Ultimately the project investigates the modes of deterritorialization of the space of performance and how temporarily, the idea of rootedness is transformed into the habitation of a new space.