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Introduction ANTHONY ADAH AND ELIZABETH FITZPATRICK Exactly seven years ago, Modern Drama devoted a special issue to Postcolonialism . That issue, edited by Ann Wilson, was concerned with origins of"postcolonialism " as an offshoot of what had until that time generally been called "Commonwealth literature." Ann Wilson already cautioned against the "fashionableness " of postcolonial theory in academic journals by trying to name it. In that difficult task, she accurately identified various asymmetries (political, economic, and historical) amongst experiences to which the term "postcolonial experience" might be applied. Consequently, she argued, the scholar's "vigilant attention" must be paid not only to the "thematic preoccupations" of the writer, but more importantly, to the "condition[sl under which the work is written." Postcolonial theory as a critical model is necessarily, therefore, shot through with relations of power. The achievement of Wilson's volume was the production of essays that astutely challenged the "critical orthodoxies around post~o­ lonial theory," orthodoxies that bypass asymmetries by treating the postcolonial condition as a "discursive effect" that enables grand redts. A significant blind spot in that project, however, and a common critical lapse within the field is to pay little or no attention to the Hmits on dissemination and accessibility (including enabling pedagogical tools) that circumscribe the circulation of po'tcolonial texts and their producers. And if there is one playwright whose works exemplifies this tendency it is Wole Soyinka, who forms the focus of this special issue. We hope, in editing this volume, not only to ameliorate this significant lacuna but also to open up other spaces within postcolonial theatre theory and critical practice. The papers published here are a selection of those that came out of a conference organized by the editors, with Leslie Katz, at the Graduate Centre for Study of Drama, University of Toronto, in October 2001. Entitled Pre-, Post-, and Neo-Colonialisms: Wole Soyinka and Contemporary Theatre, the conference aimed to locate Soyinka's oeuvre within two disparate fields - postcoloModern Drama, 45:3 (Fall 2002) 335 ANTHONY AOAH AND ELIZABETH FITZPATRICK nial studies, and contemporary theatre studies - and to explore and debate the points of intersection between the two. The initial list of topics included canonization, identity, language, performing diaspora, and debates on global feminism; this expanded to encompass discussions of directing Soyinka in England and the U.S. by Yvonne Brewster and Olusegun Ojewuyi, the programmatic proposal of a theory of genre for African writing, and two performance pieces. Chuck Mike of the Lagos-based Performance Studio presented a workshop production of Soyinka's protest-play Rice! with undergraduate students from the University College Drama Program, and Aboriginal American playwright Monique Mojica read from her work. The conference was honoured to have Wole Soyinka present to read from his most recent play, King Baabu, which had then just premiered in Lagos. Stephen Siemon's contribution, "Soyinka and the Canon's Mouth," takes up the theme of postcolonialism and modernity. The paper traces contemporary postcolonial studies from its roots in Commonwealth literary studies. arguing that postcolonial studies has yet to find a place for Soyinka's vast oeuvre of political, philosophical, autobiographical, and dramatic writings. Beginning by posing the question, "What is it that the discipline of postcolonial critical studies performs when it canonizes 'Wole Soyinka'?," this paper explores the weaknesses at the heart of the discipline and challenges postcolonial studies to disavow its impulse towards unification and to embrace instead the incon.sistencies and incoherences in postcoioniality, while celebrating the performed relationships between colonialism, postcolonialism, and neocolonialism. Also concerned with postcoloniality and modernity, though from a very different perspective, is Tejumola Olaniyan's paper, "Modernity and Its Mirages: Wole Soyinka and the African State." Olaniyan begins by defining African modernity and moves on to an exploration of the critique of the African state in Soyinka's writings. Olaniyan sets out to explore not examples of such a critique but its modalities. In doing so, he identifies two dominant paradigms : the pragmatic, which explores what is wrong and who is responsible in the present time, and the foundationalist, which argues that the African state cannot resolve its legitimacy without a thorough decolonization of all of the apparatus of governance. The paper is...


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