Izuu Nwankwọ

Assistant Professor



Dr Izuu Nwankwọ is a theatre scholar, teacher, playwright, and essayist whose research interests revolve around African and African diaspora theatre, performances, and popular culture. He has researched particularly taboo, self-censorship, and the limits of humour in African (diaspora) stand-up and online humour acts. He studied Theatre and Performance at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka and the University of Ibadan in Nigeria. He taught theatre, drama, and performance studies at two different universities at Gombe and Igbariam, both in Nigeria. He spent time as a researcher at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz in Germany before joining the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Toronto.

Dr Nwankwọ was until recently a research fellow at the Department of Anthropology and African Studies (IFEAS), Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, Germany, where he worked on the popularity and global dissemination of African popular arts through social media under the research project group, CEDITRAA (https://ceditraa.net/team/izuu-nwankwo). He is a Georg Foerster Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Germany; Iso Lomso Fellow of the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Studies (STIAS), South Africa; and a double recipient of the American Council for Learned Societies’ African Humanities Program (AHP) fellowships – dissertation-completion and post-doctoral research awards. He is a recipient of the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio residency at the Bellagio Center, Italy; and visiting scholar of the Department of Anthropology and African Studies, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany, and Centre d’Enseignement et de Recherche en Etudes Postcoloniales (CEREP - Centre for Teaching and Research in Postcolonial Studies), University of Liège, Belgium. 

His scholarly book publications are Yabbing and Wording: The Artistry of Nigerian Stand-up Comedy (NISC Press, 2021); the edited volume, Stand-up Comedy in Africa: Humour in Popular Languages and Media (ibidem Verlag 2022), and the co-authored work (with Daniel Hammett and Laura S. Martin) Humour and Politics in Africa: Beyond Resistance (Bristol University Press, 2023). He translated Chinua Achebe’s novel, Things Fall Apart (1958) into the Igbo language in 2007 and has published stage plays as well as academic essays on African and African diaspora theatre, performance, and literature. 

Links to some of his publications:


March 2019 - Georg Forster Postdoctoral Research Fellowship
June 2018 - Iso Lomso Postdoctoral Fellowship
July 2014 - African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowship
July 2012 - African Humanities Program Dissertation Completion Fellowship


BA Theatre Arts Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka
MA and PhD University of Ibadan