Dotun Ayobade locates his scholarship and teaching are in the areas of late twentieth century dance, performance and popular music in West Africa. He 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 helped give 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 state authoritarianism and social rebuke. The book project is under contract with Indiana University Press. Ayobade’s research earned him University of Texas at Austin’s Graduate School Named/Endowed Continuing Fellowship (2014-2015) and, recently, the Salomon Faculty Research Award.
Ayobade’s writing have 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.
Ayobade earned his Ph.D. in Performance as Public Practice from the Department of Theatre and Dance at The University of Texas at Austin. He obtained portfolio certificates in African and African Diaspora Studies (AADS) as well as in Women and Gender Studies (WGS).