Sarah Anyang Agbor

Sarah Anyang Agbor
Department of English, University of Yaounde I, Yaounde, Cameroon
Lecturing: African Literature and Criticism, Literature, Society and Gender
Host: University of Scranton, Scranton, PA
August 2004-June 2005

Written by Professor John Meredith Hill,
Department of English, University of Scranton.

Sarah Anyang Agbor and Anne Tanyi-Tang in traditional African dress on opening night of ?Madmen & Specialist?

Sarah Anyang Agbor, the department?s Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence for AY 04-05, maintains her fast pace of activities, both on campus and off. In mid-February Anyang Agbor flew to Houston to deliver a paper at the National Association for African-American Studies conference on ?Autobiography in African, Afro-American and Caribbean Novels: Comparative Perspectives.? Her paper addressed depictions of women in novels by Alice Walker, Bessie Head, Buchi Emecheta, and Jamaica Kincaid. ?I was especially interested to assess works by these authors that might be characterized as Bildungsroman, that is, a novel which follows the growth and development of the protagonist from childhood to early adulthood,? Anyang Agbor explains.

In mid-March, Anyang Agbor was the invited speaker at the Multidisciplinary Research Seminars sponsored by the Office of Research Services. She spoke on ?Death and Dirge Culture in Cameroon,? the subject of her PhD. dissertation defended at Ibadan University, Nigeria, in 1998. A few days later in March she spoke to kindergarten students at St. Gregory?s School on Western Africa, its people, food, and dress.

March also saw the curtain rise on the University Players? production of Wole Soyinka?s ?Madmen & Specialist,? directed by Anyang Agbor and co-directed with her friend and colleague, Anne Tanyi-Tang, a Fulbright Research Fellow at CUNY this year. ?Sarah?s presence in the McDade Center for the Literary and Performing Arts has been a real plus for our Theatre program,? says Rich Larsen, associate professor and director of Theatre. ?In addition to the course she?s teaching this term on Modern African Drama, her direction of Soyinka?s play is exactly the kind of opportunity for global awareness the University is committed to providing its students today and in the years ahead.?

After the March 11 evening performance, a ?Talk Back? session arranged by the Study Abroad Office and the Theatre program drew a large audience and sparked spirited discussion. Joining Sarah and Anne as discussion leaders were Darla Germeroth, associate dean of CAS, and assistant professor of occupational Moses Ikiugu, therapy. Anyang Agbor also gave a presentation on Soyinka?s play, its social-cultural and political background, at the International Forum sponsored by the Associate Provost and the Office of International Programs and Services.

?Sarah?s possessed of great energy,? says John Meredith Hill, professor and contact person during her stay at the University, ?and it?s a challenge to keep abreast of her week-to-week engagements. I think she was in Texas again for a conference in April, then she?s off to other national meetings around the country in May, June and July. She?s a fine scholar-in-residence, and many other academic communities around the country have also had the benefit of her enthusiasm and energy. I?m delighted she was able to be with us at Scranton this year.?

Photos courtesy of Lynn Springer, Department of English, University of Scranton.

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