Dr. Emily Sahakian teaches theatre studies and community-based theatre and coordinates the undergraduate theatre program. She is jointly appointed with Romance Languages, where she teaches French and Francophone literature. Her first book Staging Creolization: Women’s Theater and Performance from the French Caribbean was published in 2017 by the University of Virginia Press’s New World Studies Series. The book illuminates previously neglected Francophone Caribbean women writers who can be considered among the best playwrights of their generation and draws from original archival research and oral histories to document for the first time the history of their plays’ international production and reception—in the Caribbean, in France, and in the U.S. While scholars have generally framed “creolization” as a linguistic phenomenon, she theorizes it as a performance-based practice of reinventing meaning and resisting the status quo, and thus expands our broader understanding of Caribbean theatre’s aesthetic qualities and cultural composition. With Andrew Daily at the University of Memphis, she is preparing a critical edition and translation of Histoire de nègre (Tale of Black Histories), a Martinican play created collaboratively under Edouard Glissant’s direction. As dramaturg, she is working with the SIYAJ theatre company to adapt and restage the play. She is also a community-based theatre artist who has worked to cultivate cross-cultural understanding and empower youth in the U.S., Martinique, France, and Morocco and she heads the community-based theatre initiative at UGA.
Francophone Caribbean theatre, performance, literatures, and culture; African diaspora theatre and performance; intercultural, postcolonial, and transnational theory and performance; theatre and performance historiography; French-language theatre; legacies of slavery and colonialism; performing violent histories; social justice, community-engaged theatre; theatre and education; translation for the stage.
Ph.D., Northwestern University and the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales