Theatre Studies in Ghana

Examine the works of African women playwrights in their original context. 

Kwame Nkrumah Memorial

Kwame Nkrumah Memorial

Program Overview

Take a theatre studies course focused on African women playwrights and have an opportunity to enroll in an academic internship or companion courses.

This program is a collaboration between Tisch Undergraduate Drama and NYU Accra.

Exterior of the National Theatre of Ghana

National Theatre of Ghana
Photo by Bob Handelman

Curriculum

You may take the following 4-unit course, African Women Playwrights, plus companion courses. The course Experiential Seminar/Internship is recommended but not required for this program. Other Tisch courses available at NYU Accra are Grammys Afrobeats & Hiplife and Documenting the African City.

Students at NYU Accra must complete 12-18 units. You may select courses through NYU Accra.

African Women Playwrights

ITHEA-UT 743 | 4 units | Instructor: Local Faculty

African Women Playwrights is a reading-intensive course that focuses on the structural and narrative diversification of the theatrical texts written by women from the continent in the 20th and 21st century. We’ll critique the plays as both literature and dramatic texts intended for production. What is clearly evident in African women playwrights’ writing is its focus on women’s agency; generational legacies; tensions among tradition, colonialism, and modernism; unresolved issues between tribal and national identities; family relationships; intimacy and commitment; the spiritual conflicts set forth among the worlds of rituals, polytheism, and monotheism; the challenging coexistence among Christianity, Islam, and Judiasm; the impact of the global diaspora on African identity; and the intersecting issues of blackness, Africanness, and womanhood.

The course will address these various foci through the works of such writers as Andiah Kisia, Sitawa B Muragori (Kenya), Meaza Worku (Ethiopia), Nathalie Etoke, Werewere Liking (Cameroon), Tsitsi Dangarembga, Dania Gurira (Zimbabwe), Fatima Gallaire (Algeria), Penina Mlama, Amadina Lihamba (Tanzania), Ama Ata Aidoo, Efua Sutherland (Ghana), Osonye Tess Onwueme, Julie Okoh (Nigeria), Sindiwe Magona, Malika Ndlovu, Gcina Mhlope (South Africa), Violet Barungi, Asiimwe Deborah Kawe (Uganda), Jalila Baccar (Tunisia), and Dalia Basiouny (Egypt).

The foundational critical theories for the course are postcolonialism, feminism, critical race theory, and diasporic studies. By the end of the course, students will also have a core, general knowledge of the continent’s history.

This course fulfills C, Topics, or Geographies in the Theatre Studies requirements, or may count as an elective.

Experiential Seminar/Internship

NODEP-UA 9982 | 4 units | Instructor: Nicholas Nii A. Okai


Enrollment by permission only. Application required. Contact global.academics@nyu.edu for application information. Course includes weekly seminar and minimum of 10 hours fieldwork/ week at approved internship fieldsite.

This course is designed to prepare and support students undertaking an internship at an NGO in Ghana. This weekly seminar will introduce students to key concepts and debates in the field of development studies, as well as provide a space to raise questions and reactions to the internship experience. We will survey foundational and current texts that elaborate theories and functions of development, with a focus on the recent history of social and economic development approaches in Africa. Charting the transition from public to private development institutions, the readings will provide critical insights into rights-based approaches, gender equity and empowerment, sustainability, accountability, and the role of government.

In addition to exploring theoretical frameworks, we will devote significant class time to discussing student experiences at their internships. Students will identify and critically appraise different aspects of their organization: their mission, methodology, programs, relationship with various stakeholders, and philosophy of change. By bringing both academic and practical perspectives to bear on the role civil society plays in capacity-building and improvement of livelihoods, this course offers an integrated, multi-disciplinary approach to the questions ‘What is development?’, ‘Who is the subject of development?’ and ‘Does it work?’ These questions cannot be answered by looking at theory or practices in isolation. By reflecting on how theory and practice shape each other, we will explore the rich history of debate and innovation in the field to deepen our understanding of the development context in Ghana.

This course will be the academic component of your internship experience. You will use the seminar to reflect critically and analytically on your internship as a way to further your academic goals. You will be asked to evaluate various aspects of your internship site, including but not limited to its mission, approach, policies, and the local, regional and international contexts in which it operates. You will also be asked to reflect critically on the state of the contemporary workplace and on ourselves as workers. You will be graded on the academic work produced in this course.

DRAMA STUDENTS: This internship course fulfills Advanced Professional Training or Elective credit. It does not fulfill Praxis Theatre Studies credit in UG Drama.

Also, the following organizations have shown commitment to taking on Drama interns during Fall 2020: The Drama Company (National Theatre of Ghana); The Ghana National Dance Ensemble (National Theatre of Ghana); Abibigroma (University of Ghana, Legon); Visions Drama Group (led by the president of Ghana’s Actors Guild); Korzikorzi Theatre Group (based at Zenith College); the TECH Department of the National Theatre of Ghana; and Roverman Productions (led by critically acclaimed Ghanaian playwright, Uncle Ebo Whyte).

Grammys, Afrobeats & Hiplife: African Contemporary Music

SCA-UA 9120 | 4 units

This courses starts with a deep dive into the history of recorded music and leads to to the current explosion of afrobeats in this region. From Fela to Davido, Shatta Wale, Burna boy, Wizkid, Stonebwoy, Wanlov, Fokn Bois, Rema and more.  Class will be enriched with excursions to recording studios and special events such as a possible masterclass with Universal Music Group on the business of selling African music to the world.

Documenting the African City

SCA-UA 9124 | 4 units

This interdisciplinary course combines ethnographic readings, representations, and interpretations of city and urban cultures with a video production component in which students create short documentaries on the city of Accra. The interpretative classes will run concurrently with production management, sights and sound, and post-production workshops. The course will have three objectives: (1) teach students the documentary tradition from Flaherty to Rouch; (2) use critical Cinema theory to define a document with a camera; and (3) create a short documentary film.

Boy in traditional Ghanian costume

Photo by Jasmine Nears

Program Dates

Fall 2022

Program dates to be announced on the NYU Accra website.

Admissions

Eligibility: This program is open to all NYU and visiting undergraduate students.

Admissions is done through the NYU Office of Global Programs. Visit NYU Accra for admissions information and deadlines.

Ghanian flags waving on top of the Freedom and Justice Arch

Photo by Bob Handelman

Expenses

  • Academic Year* Full-time Tuition, 12-18 unit flat rate per term: $28,802

Additional Fees Include:

  • Nonrefundable Registration and Services Fee: $1,338*
  • Housing: Visit the NYU Accra website for housing options and costs.

*Estimated from 2020-2021 tuition rates. 

Scholarships and Financial Aid

There are opportunities for financial assistance to study abroad.

Please review the Scholarships and Financial Aid for Study Abroad page for more information.

Housing

Visit the NYU Accra website for housing options and descriptions.