The Story of Oedipus in the African Diaspora

A K-12 Teachers Workshop

Date: Saturday, October 22, 2022
Time: 8:00am to 4:00pm EDT

Hybrid Format: The in-person portion of this workshop will take place at the Center for Hellenic Studies, and online participants will join via Zoom. In-person registration is capped at 30 and is granted on a first-come, first-served basis. Current K-12 educators will receive priority for in-person attendance.

Registration Deadline: Thursday, October 20

The fourth annual Howard University workshop in collaboration with Harvard’s Center for Hellenic Studies and the University of Virginia’s Center for the Liberal Arts will discuss the story of Oedipus in the African Diaspora.   Presentations by Howard faculty will be followed by group discussions and breakout sessions on adapting the material for K-12 classrooms.

Plague. Questions of Leadership. Communities in Crisis. Family Conflict. Exile. Honoring the Dead. Communal Grief.  These core themes from the Theban plays feel strikingly relevant in today’s global pandemic. As recent productions of Theater of War’s Antigone in Ferguson (2016) demonstrate, these stories have the power of bringing communities together to start the healing process through the collective experience of live performance. While the story of Oedipus has been retold throughout the centuries in all kinds of artistic media all over the world, from Homer, Sophocles, and Seneca to Hegel, Stravinsky, and Rita Dove, this workshop will focus on the story of Oedipus in the African Diaspora: possible topics may include but are not limited to Kamau Brathwaite Odale’s Choice (1967), Ola Rotimi The Gods are not to Blame (1971), Lee Breuer and Bob Telson Gospel at Colonus (1983), Sylvain Bemba Black Wedding Candles for Blessed Antigone (1990), Rita Dove The Darker Face of the Earth (1994), Femi Osofisan Tegonni: An African Antigone (1999), and Nambi Kelley Xtigone (2015). The breakout sessions will focus on ways of connecting the works to current issues and provide materials from various media for use in the classroom.     

This workshop is presented by Howard University in collaboration with Harvard’s Center for Hellenic Studies and the University of Virginia’s Center for the Liberal Arts.


This workshop is targeted toward K-12 educators who will receive priority for in-person attendance.


Time Location
8:00–9:00 Breakfast and Registration Main Building
9:00–9:20 Welcome, Mark Schiefsky, Center for Hellenic Studies
Welcome and Introductions, Natsuko Rohde,
Center for the Liberal Arts, UVA
House A
9:20– 10:15 “The City and the Individual in the Oedipus Cycle”
Wesley Hanson
House A
10:15–10:35 Break House A
10:35–11:30 “Naturalizing Myth through Adaptation Processes:
Oedipus Rex as Case Study”
Segun Ige
House A
11:30–12:30 Breakout Sessions House A
12:30–1:30 Lunch Main Building
1:30–2:25 “Lift him up: Oedipus and the Gospel at Colonus
Kenneth Morrell
House A
Breakout Sessions House A
Main Building
3:45–4:00 Concluding Remarks House A