Dr. Izuu Nwankwọ

Thematic focus
His research interests revolve around African and African diaspora popular culture enactments both on stage and on digital media. His present project within CEDITRAA examines social media self-performances of Africanness by non-Africans.

Regional Focus
West Africa and the African diaspora

Current Project

CEDITRAA – Cultural Entrepreneurship and Digital Transformation in Africa and Asia

Working as part of CEDITRAA – Cultural Entrepreneurship and Digital Transformation in Africa and Asia, which is a joint research project by Goethe University Frankfurt, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz and Pan Atlantic University Lagos. With funding from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), it kicked off in April 2021.

Dr. Izuu Nwankwọ CEDITRAA

Recent Publications
Humour and Politics in Africa
Beyond Resistance
by Daniel Hammett, Laura S. Martin and Izuu Nwankwọ
Analyses of humour often focus primarily on the Global North, with little consideration for examples and practices from elsewhere. This book provides a vital contribution to humour theory by developing a Global South perspective.
Taking a wide-ranging view across the whole of the continent, the book examines the relationship between humour and politics in Africa. It considers the context of the production and reception of humour in African contexts and argues that humour is more than just symbolic. Moving beyond the idea of humour as a mode of resistance, the book investigates the ‘political work’ that humour does and explores the complex entanglements in which the politics, practices and performances of humour are located.
2023, 168 pages
Bristol University Press
ISBN: 978-1529219715
Stand-up Comedy in Africa
Humour in Popular Languages and Media
Edited by Izuu Nwankwọ
African cultural productions of humour have increased even in the face of myriad economic foibles and social upheavals. For instance, from the 1990s, stand-up comedy emerged across the continent and has maintained a pervasive presence since then. Its specificities are related to contemporary economic and political contexts and are also drawn from its pre-colonial history, that of joking forms and relationships, and orality. Izuu Nwankwọ's fascinating collected volume offers a transnational appraisal of this unique art form spanning different nations of the continent and its diasporas. The book engages variously with jokesters, their materials, the mediums of dissemination, and the cultural value(s) and relevance of their stage work, encompassing the form and content of the practice. Its ruling theoretical perspective comes from theatre and performance, cultural studies, linguistics, and literary studies.
2022, 316 pages
ISBN: 9783838216089
Yabbing and Wording
The artistry of Nigerian stand-up comedy
by Izuu Nwankwọ
Yabbing and Wording: The artistry of Nigerian stand-up comedy is a long-overdue academic interrogation of the novel stand-up practice in Nigeria as performance. 'Yabbing' comes from the Nigerian Pidgin English verb, 'yab', which means a satirical jibe thrown at individuals, groups or institutions. Nigeria's Fela Anikulapo-Kuti used this effectively in his recorded and live music performances against successive military regimes. 'Wording' derives from the English term 'word' and refers to a game in which parties exchange insults. It is a modern-day coinage for traditional forms of joking that existed across Nigeria and elsewhere in precolonial times.
In this book, Nwankwọ identifies 'yabbing' and 'wording' as outstanding indigenous elements within contemporary stand-up practice in Nigeria. On the one hand, these local joking patterns inform how comedians fashion their narratives. On the other, they mitigate offence and how the audience responds to ridicule in joke performance venues. The book's strength is its academic perspective and the inclusion of as many examples of stand-up and comedians as possible, to give a panoramic view of the practice. It also traces the historical path of the development of professional stand-up comedy in Nigeria. Its closing chapters detail the global outreach of Nigerian stand-up while also anticipating its future developments.
2021, 214 pages
NISC (Pty) Ltd, South Africa
ISBN: 978-1-920033-85-9