Tavia Nyong'o

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Tavia Nyong'o (2010)

Tavia Nyong'o is an American cultural critic, historian and performance studies scholar.

He is currently a Professor of American Studies at Yale University where he teaches courses on black diaspora performance, cultural studies, social and critical theory.

Nyong'o received his B.A. from Wesleyan University. He then received a Marshall Scholarship to study at the University of Birmingham. In 2003, he received his Ph.D. in American Studies from Yale, where he studied under the mentorship of Paul Gilroy and Joseph Roach. Nyong'o was the 2004 runner-up for the Ralph Henry Gabriel Dissertation Award given by the American Studies Association annually for the best doctoral dissertation written in the field of American Studies. His book, The Amalgamation Waltz: Race, Performance, and the Ruses of Memory, is published by the University of Minnesota Press (2009).

In addition, Nyong'o has published articles in The Nation,[1] n+1, the Yale Journal of Criticism, Social Text, Theatre Journal, Performance Research, GLQ, and Women and Performance. He has written on racial kitsch, televised politics, Afro-punk aesthetics, and on African American historical memory.


Tavia Nyong'o is the author of the essay ‘I've Got You Under My Skin’ Queer Assemblages, Lyrical Nostalgia and the African Diaspora. In his essay, Nyong'o explores the meaning of the word "diaspora". He is especially interested in the translocal community-building potential, of music, but worries that the very mobilizing and empowering aspects of diasporic music--a channel of community belonging--also divides and destroys communities.[2] He writes, “The close affiliation of popular music with seduction, romance and sex speaks to the anxiety with which queerness is policed within it”.[3]


  1. ^ Kenya's Rigged Election
  2. ^ Tavia Nyong'o (2007) ‘I've Got You Under My Skin’ Queer assemblages, lyrical nostalgia and the African diaspora, Performance Research: A Journal of the Performing Arts, 12:3, 42-54
  3. ^ Page 48

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