Speaker Biographies

Performing Blackness in the Transatlantic World: Germany, Race, Intermediality

Soyica Colbert is an Associate Professor of African American Studies and Theater and Performance Studies at Georgetown University. She is the author of The African American Theatrical Body: Reception, Performance and the Stage (Cambridge University Press, 2011) and editor of the Black Performance special issue of African American Review (2012). Colbert is currently working on a second book project entitled Black Movements: Performance and Politics and an edited volume entitled Do You Want to Be Well: The Psychic Hold of Slavery.
 
Loren Kruger is Professor of Comparative and English literatures, Theatre and Performance Studies, and African Studies at the University of Chicago. Her most recent books are: Imagining the Edgy CIty: Writing, Performing and Building Johannesburg (Oxford University Press) and  Post-Imperial Brecht (Cambridge University Press), which won the Scaglione Prize for Comparative Literary Study, awarded by the Modern Language Association. THe current talk is part of an ongoing research project on African Modernities at World Fairs
 
Jonathan Wipplinger is Assistant Professor of German Studies in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at North Carolina State University. He received his Ph.D. in German Studies and has authored a number of articles on jazz and African American music and culture in 19th and 20th century Germany.   His current research explores the transnational dimension of Black performers in Europe and the US as well as the role of translation in cultural exchange between Germany and the African diaspora.
 
Priscilla Layne is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She received her MA and Ph.D. in German from the University of California at Berkeley in 2011. Her latest research addresses African American influence on German culture; Black German subjectivities; and race and gender in Anna Seghers’ Karibische Geschichten. She is currently working on a manuscript tentatively titled White Rebels in Black: Appropriating Black Popular Culture in Postwar Germany.
 
Angelica Fenner is Associate Professor of Cinema Studies and German at the University of Toronto. She is author of Race Under Reconstruction in German Cinema (2011) and various articles on transnational and diasporic cinemas in the European context. Her current research examines the first-person stance in German documentary.
 
Daniel Kojo Schrade is a German-born artist and associate professor of art at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts. He studied in Germany andSpain, and received an MFA from the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, Germany. His painting series Afronauts features dislocated characters who create and control their own image spaces, where they claim the power to define themselves. Schrade’s work includes textual elements in a cycle entitled “Brother Beethoven,” a series he started in 1999. Schrade was a Copeland Fellow at Amherst College and has received various grants and awards. His paintings and installations have been presented internationally and are in various permanent collections.
 
Kirsten Bowen is the Literary Manager for Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, where she has dramaturged Appropriate by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins and We are Proud to Present… by Jackie Sibblies-Drury. Prior to joining Woolly, she was the Associate Literary Director at Signature Theatre in New York. She holds an MFA in Dramaturgy from A.R.T./ MXAT Institute for Advanced Theater Training at Harvard University.
 
Peter Howard most recently appeared as Father Mac in the world premiere of Love on San Pedro by James McManus, a collaboration between Cornerstone Theater Company and the Skid Row neighborhood of downtown Los Angeles.  Peter is a founding member of the LA-based Cornerstone and has collaborated with dozens of urban and rural communities since 1986, working as a performer and playwright to create theater rooted in community identity, creativity, and concerns.  With Cornerstone, he has appeared in world premieres by Luis Alfaro, Sarah Ruhl, Erik Ehn, Naomi Iizuka, and Michael John Garcés, among many others.  His regional theater credits include the Mark Taper Forum, Long Wharf, Yale Rep, Pasadena Playhouse, the Guthrie Theater, and South Coast Repertory.  Born and raised in Massachusetts, Peter received an MFA from the University of Virginia.  In 2011, he was the recipient of a Fox Foundation Resident Actor Fellowship.
 
Dawn Ursula was last seen at Woolly Mammoth as Prudence in The Convert by Danai Gurira, also directed by Michael John Garcés.  Since then, she has appeared as Desiree in Love in Afghanistan by Charles Randolph Wright at Arena Stage, directed by Lucie Tiberghien. She is a Company Member with Woolly and Everyman Theatre. She earned a 2011 Helen Hayes nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress and Ensemble in Bruce Norris’ Clybourne Park, directed by Howard Shalwitz, and the 2011 Baltimore City Paper Best Actress Award for Ruth in Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun, directed by Jennifer Nelson.  Dawn has performed locally and regionally with theatres such as Hangar, True Colors, the Kennedy Center, Rep Stage, Imagination Stage, Round House Theatre, and African Continuum Theater Company. Television credits include HBO’s The Wire and PBS’ Prince Among Slaves. She is a founding member of Galvanize. For more information please visit www.dawnursula.com.
 
Isaiah Wooden is a director-dramaturg and Ph.D. Candidate in Theater and Performance Studies at Stanford University with creative and research interests in popular culture and contemporary black theater and performance. His critical and creative writings have appeared in academic journals such as Callaloo and Theatre Journal and on popular sites such as The Huffington Post and The Feminist Wire, among others.  Isaiah’s dissertation project, “The Afterwards of Blackness: Race, Time, and Contemporary Performance,” analyzes the aesthetic strategies and practices that contemporary black cultural producers deploy to critique concepts of normative or "modern" temporality. Isaiah is currently a Guest Artist in Theater and Performance Studies at Georgetown University, where he is directing Robert O'Hara's Insurrection: Holding History. 
 
Nehemia Markos is a graduating senior in the College (Georgetown University) majoring in Theatre and Performance Studies. He is thankful and excited to currently serve as assistant director to Isaiah Wooden on the DPAC/BTE coproduction of Robert O'Hara's Insurrection: Holding History. Although most of his training is in improvisational theatre, Nehemiah plans to pursue life as an actor/writer/director after college. 
 
Barbara Mennel is Associate Professor of German and Film Studies in the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures and the English Department at the University of Florida in Gainesville. Her main research focus concerns gender and sexuality in film. Her books include Cities and Cinema (2008) and Queer Cinema: Schoolgirls, Vampires and Gay Cowboys (2012). Her current research project addresses the depiction of women and work in contemporary European cinema.
 
Branwen Okpako is a filmmaker based in Berlin Germany. Branwen was born in 1969 in Lagos, Nigeria. She studied political science in England and directing at the German Film and Television Academy Berlin (dffb). She makes films, video installations, and theatrical productions. Her films and videos have received numerous awards. Her films include The Education of Auma Obama (2011), The Pilot and the Passenger (2007), Valley of the Clueless (2003), Dirt for Dinner (2000). Short Films include Loveloveliebe (1999), Searching for Taid (1998), Market Forces (1998), Landing (1997), Prelude (1995). Video installations: Christa/Christopher (2013), Maggie Burns (2009). Theater: Schwarz tragen (2013), Bloodknot (2007). Branwen Okpako is screening her newest film, Fluch der Medea/The Curse of Medea (Germany 2014), at this year’s Berlin Film Festival.
 
Katrin Sieg is a Professor of German at the BMW Center for German and European Studies at Georgetown University.  She holds a PhD in theater and has authored three books on contemporary German theater and performance, among them Ethnic Drag: Performing Race, Nation, Sexuality in West Germany (2002).  Her current research revolves around performances of blackness in German theater and at the Eurovision Song Contest; Afro-European performance art; and representations of Europe's colonial past in museum installations.
 
Jamele Watkins is a PhD student in German and Scandinavian Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.Her dissertation project focuses on belonging and nationhood in Afro-German drama.