Current Institutional Affiliation
Lecturer 1/Dr, Theatre Programme/ College of Liberal Studies

Award Information

Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa: Doctoral Dissertation Research Fellowship 2017
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
University of Cape Town
The Bio-politics of Violence in the Theatre of the Niger Delta.

The study seeks to understand the ways that Niger Delta topography and environmental questions are imagined and narrated in contemporary Nigerian theatre. In the thesis, I enlist several plays that help delineate the periodisation of petrocultural modernity, to examine and analyse the different ways they illustrate the contribution of the non-human nature in the historical struggle in the region. I treat the creeks and oil-wells of the Niger Delta as "a space of exception", a phrase coined by Giorgio Agamben to explain how political democracies legitimise securitisation into a form of governmentality, thereby making exception the rule in the bio-political technology of violent geographies and spaces. Although Agamben has reflected on concentration camps as the paradigmatic locus of modern state of exception, the creeks of the Delta offer an exemplary site that is consistent with bare life – "life exposed to death". Consequently, I locate the theatrical representation of the landscape of the Delta within the epochal categories of pre-oil and oil modernity in order to track the trajectory of the region's struggle against extractive modernity, and to understand how geopower is implicated and performed, across the different historical periods. In their signification of the creeks and oil wells as the reference point in the performance of power, nature takes precedence over the anthropocentric character of the region's history, assuming centre stage in the insurrectional imaginary of the writers.