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Omi Osun Joni L. Jones

Associate FacultyPh.D., New York University

Associate Professor in the Department of African and African Diaspora Studies
Omi Osun Joni L. Jones



identity, ethnography, Yoruba-based performance aesthetics, Black Feminisms and Theatre for Social Change. She teaches undergraduate courses in African-American theatre history and the performance of race


Joni L. Jones/Omi Osun Olomo (Ph.D., New York University) specializes in performance scholarship that focuses on identity, ethnography, Yoruba-based performance aesthetics, Black Feminisms and Theatre for Social Change. She teaches undergraduate courses in African-American theatre history and the performance of race. At the graduate level she teaches performance ethnography, performing Black Feminisms, Yoruba performance, and performance and activism. Dr. Jones was a Fulbright Fellow in Nigeria (1997-1998) where she taught at Obafemi Awolowo University and contributed Theatre for Social Change workshops to the Forum on Governance and Democracy in Ile-Ife. Her dramaturgical work includes con flama for Frontera @ Hyde Park Theatre, Clay Angels for New WORLD Theatre in Amherst, Massachusetts, and Shakin' the Mess Outta Misery and Pill Hill for First Stage Productions in Austin, Texas. In Austin, Texas and Washington, D.C. she has received acting awards for her work in professional theatre. Dr. Jones was the opening plenary performer at the Second Annual Performance Studies Conference at Northwestern University with "sista docta." That work has also been presented at National Communication Association National Conference, Pedagogy/Theatre of the Oppressed Conference, and the Black Women in the Academy II Conference. Her print scholarship on performance and identity have appeared in Text and Performance Quarterly, Theatre Topics, The Drama Review, Theatre Insight, Theatre Journal, and Black Theatre News. She has served on the Arts Advisory Panel to the College Board, consultant to the Educational Testing Service, Chair of the Theatre Board for the National Foundation for the Arts, Chair of the Theatre Review Board of the Cultural Contracts Office, Parliamentarian for the Black Theatre Network, and member of the Theatre Review Panel for the Texas Commission on the Arts. Dr. Jones was the 1998-1999 recipient of the College of Communication Teaching Excellence Award. In 2000, she completed her tenure as secretary to the Performance Studies Division of the National Communication Association and as executive board member for Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed. She is currently writing a book on the use of a jazz aesthetic among theatre artists with particular attention to Laurie Carlos, Daniel Alexander Jones, and Sharon Bridgforth, as well as a book documenting the work of The Austin Project—a collaborative venture among women of color artists, scholars and activists and their allies.


WGS 340 • Gwendolyn Brooks

46074 • Fall 2015
Meets T 330pm-630pm GEA 127
(also listed as AFR 372E, E 349S)

In this course, students will study the prose and poetry of Gwendolyn Brooks, giving particular attention to her novel, Maud Martha.  Students will analyze texts, develop performance scripts, create criticism, and present readings centered around the work of Gwendolyn Brooks.  Emphasis will be placed on Black Feminist staging strategies, the role of Chamber Theatre in the development of Black art, and the position of Gwendolyn Brooks in the literary world. 


Brooks, Gwendolyn.  Maud Martha.  Chicago:  Third World Press, 1993.

Brooks, Gwendolyn.  “The Rise of Maud Martha,” in Invented Lives: The Narratives of Black

Women, 1860-1960, Mary Helen Washington.  Garden City, NY:  Anchor Press, 1987.

Brooks, Gwendolyn.  The World of Gwendolyn Brooks. New York:  Harper and Row, 1971.

Christian, Barbara.  “Nuance and the Novella: A Study of Gwendolyn Brooks's Maud Martha,” in

A Life Distilled: Gwendolyn Brooks, Her Poetry and Fiction, eds. Maria K. Mootry and

Gary Smith, 1987, pp. 239–253.

Washington, Mary Helen.  “‘Taming All That Anger Down’: Rage and Silence in Gwendolyn

Brooks's Maud Martha,Massachusetts Review 24 (Summer 1983): 453–466.

Grading breakdown (percentages):

Analysis of Maud Martha                                           15 pts.

Comparative Analysis of Two Brooks Poems 15 pts.

Solo Performance of Brooks Chapter                         15 pts.

Chamber Theatre Script                                               10 pts.

Chamber Theatre Production                                       25 pts.

Attendance at Black Studies Performance                   5 pts.

2-Minute in-class essays                                             5 pts.

Class Participation                                                       10 pts.

WGS 301 • Perfor, Feminism, & Soc Change

47210 • Spring 2013
Meets MWF 300pm-400pm GAR 1.134
(also listed as AFR 317F)

This course is an exploration of the ways that engaged performance and feminist practice generate space for social change. The course builds on the basic principle that social transformation requires individual awareness, and that awareness necessitates a rigorous examination of race, gender, class, and sexuality. Through ancestral research, community building, non-linear performance strategies, and jazz aesthetics, students will create solo and ensemble work that illustrate each unit of the course. As a result of this course, students will develop tools for productive self-reflexity, will understand the role of positionality in collaborating across identity markers, and will acquire writing and performance skills that employ jazz sensibilities.

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