Omofolabo Ajayi-Soyinka

Professor, Theatre, Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies
Primary office:
324 Blake Hall


Faculty member at the University of Kansas since 1990.

Research Areas
Women & Gender
Performance Aesthetics
Migration in Africa and the Diaspora
Critical Feminist concepts

Teaching Area 
African women’s studies, African and African Diaspora theatre, Dance, Theatre history & critical theory.

My area of specialty is African literature and theatre with emphasis on women’s writing. Part of my research also borders on the African Diaspora particularly on the use of theatre and its depiction of women during independent struggles; there are remarkable similarities with the experience of continental Africans. However, in my current research I concentrate on the intersection of national and gender identities in African women’s creative writings (prose and drama) and their impact on critical theory of African literature since the 1970's. For theoretical analysis, I draw largely on feminist and social semiotics. My published works include: Yoruba Dance: The Semiotics of Movement and Body Attitude in a Nigerian Culture; Negritude, Feminism and the Quest for Identity: Re-reading Mariama Bo’s So long a letter; “Gender and the Revolutionary Ethos in Morountodun” in Femi Osofisan: Interpretative Essays 1; “Performing Phillis Wheatly: Research Notes.” I also enjoy the practical aspects of my theatre training, so I do act in, dance, and choreograph plays. Examples are the creation and performance of “Phyllis Wheatly” the 18 th century African poetess, choreography of Many Colors Make The Thunder King at the Gutherie Lab. Theatre; and directing “Sistahs and Brothers in Identity Crisis”.

Courses I teach reflect my diverse research interests, and these include: Women in African Literature, Women of Africa Today, Post-Modern Theory and Criticism in the African Diaspora, African Dance Theatre, Race and the American Theatre, Post-Colonial Discourse & Literature, Theatre History in Western Civilization.

One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
5th nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets: Colleges," Military Times
KU Today