Dr. Chinyere Grace Okafor, poet, playwright and fiction writer is a Professor of English and Women's Studies, Director of the Center for Women’s Studies and Chair of the Department of Women’s Studies. An alumnus of University of Sussex (Brighton, UK), University College (Cardiff, UK), and University of Nigeria, (Nsukka, Nigeria), she did postdoctoral work on gender politics and poetics of Masking at Cornell University. Her research is interdisciplinary involving transnational gender, literature and theater, diversity education and mask communication. Her teaching at WSU from 2003 has been in the area of feminism, gender and diversity education. She has faculty experience from Universities of Southern Maine, Benin, Port Harcourt and Swaziland as well as Montgomery College, Rockville, MD. She has worked with organizations on projects using tales, poetry and skits to engage social issues. Her poem, Sunflower Exclusive, is the creative centerpiece of Wichita’s Naftzger Park commissioned in 2020. She inaugurated WSU’s Diverse Women’s Summit, which she annually organizes with stakeholders, and co-founded the Global Village Assembly – a forum for student and community engagement.
Okafor’s credits include two Humanist-in Residence Awards (Cornell University and Hunter College) and Rockefeller Write-in-Residence (Bellagio, Italy) for research and creative writing as well as Outstanding Faculty, Outstanding Department, Phenomenal Woman, Association of Nigerian Authors’ (ANA), South African Literature and other awards and honors. Active in women and international students’ mentoring, she is the Vice President of the Association of African Women Scholars (AAWS). She has authored academic and creative works including eight books. For more information, go to: Link
Feminisms and diversity education.
Literature and performance for social engagement.
Arts & Humanities in STEMA Education.
Literature and performance for social engagement
Women’s literature, feminisms, race and diversity.
(2017) Gender, Performance and Communication. African Ikeji Mask Festivals Aro and Diaspora. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press.
(2015) Ikeji Festival Theater of the Aro and Diaspora: Gender, Mask and Communication. Lagos: University of Lagos Press.
(2012) New Toyi Toyi (Nigerian edition) Kraft Books Limited, Ibadan, Nigeria.
2008) It Grows In Winter and Other Poems. Trenton: Africa World Press(2007) The New Toyi Toyi (play). Trenton: Africa World Press.
(1996) He Wants To Marry Me Again and Other Stories. Ibadan: Kraftgriots.
(1996. The Lion And The Iroko. Ibadan: Kraftgriots.
(1996) From Earth’s Bed Chamber: A Collection of Poems (Ibadan: Kraftgriots.
(1996) Campus Palavar and Other Plays. Ibadan: Kraftgriots.
Journal Articles, Chapter Contributions & Creative Works
(2018) “Dropped Doreen Rides High with Jabulani” – Story in Payback and Other stories. Ed. Toni Adeaga and S. Udoh-Grossfurthner (Zurich: LIT VeVERLAG,):134-146.
(2018) “Mirrors for Class Journal.” https://www.storystar.com/story/15689/chinyere-g-okafor/fiction/drama-interest-2
(2015) 2015 “Editorial: Engaging African Gender Inequality Through Formal and Informal Education.” Journal of International Gender Studies (JIGS) 10: vi-x.
(2014) “Diary of An American Woman: First of a Three-Part Story called This Africa in My Dream” Irinkerindo: a journal of african migration. Issue 7: 76-111
(2013) Omumu Concept of Begetting: A Pro-feminist Lesson from Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart.” In Words for a Small Planet. Ed. Nanette Norris (New Lanham: Lexington Books): 127-138.
(2013) “Female Power: Cornerstone or Central Subject in Igbo Mask Performance.” In A Survey Of The Igbo Nation (Vol. 2). Ed. G. E. K. Ofomata and Chudi Uwazurike. New York: Triatlantic Books. (Also published in 2008 in Emergent Themes, ed., Falola and Hassan).
(2013). Beloved Queen Echo” StoryStar – Fiction for Adults http://www.storystar.com/php/read_story.php?story_id=2017
(2012) “Womanhood in Igbo Cosmology: Intersections in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart.” In Achebe’s Women: Imagism and Power. Ed. Helen Chukwuma (Trenton: Africa World Press): 3-24.
(2011) “Black Professor, Africa, and Whiteness in Women’s Studies Classes: Personal Story of Pedagogical Engagement and Conflict Resolution.” In Teaching Gender and Sexuality in the Twenty First Century. Ed. Mirza, M. and David Hussey (C-SAP Monograph No. 14): 237-261.
(2010) In Her Own Voice: Agnes Okafor Tells Her Stories (Collection of Interviews and Stories). (Okafor was the Collector and Primary Author).
(2010) “No Rose without Thorns” StoryStar - True Life Fiction http://www.storystar.com/php/read_story.php?story_id=1571
(2008) “Female Power: Corner Stone or Central Subject in Igbo Mask Performance.” Emergent Themes and Methods in African Studies: Essays in Honor of Adiele Eberechukwu Afigbo Ed., Falola, T and Adam Paddock (Trenton: Africa World Press): 431-446.
(2008) “Militant Femininity in Southern African Poetry: A Discussion of Selected Poems by Micere Mugo and Gladys Thomas.” In Power and Nationalism. Ed., Falola, Toyin and S. Hassan (Durham: Carolina Academic Press), pp. 435-450.
(2007) “Global encounters: Barbie in Nigerian Agbogho-mmuo mask context.” Journal of African Cultural Studies. Vol. 19, No. 1. 37-54.
(2006) “Terrible Beauty of Masks From Around the World.” Review of MASKS from Around the World by Garth Darl. Vancouver: Granville Island Publishing.
(20003) “Gazing At Wide Country.” Poetry and Prose In National Association of Women Writers Weekly, September 15.
(2003) "Location and Separateness in African and African-American Drama...” Postcolonial Perspective on Women Writers from Africa, the Caribbean, and the US. Ed. Japtok, Martin (Trenton: Africa World Press), pp. 319-343.
(2002) “La Litterature africaine et le beauvoirisme: example d’ ‘action’ de femmes et d’ecrivaines.” In Delphy, Christine and Sylvia Chaperon, Cinquantenaire Du Deuxieme Sexe (Paris: Syllepse), pp. 259-268.
(2001) “Beyond Child Abuse.” In Eye to Eye: Women Practicing Development Across Cultures. Ed. Schench, Celeste, and Susan Perry (London: Zed Press), pp. 259-276.
(2001) “Ogini’s Choice: A Novella in Ten parts.” Englishes: Literature Inglesi Contemporanee. No 15 ANNO 5, pp. 105-139.
(2001) “Foreword.” Achebe the Orator by Chinwe Christianan Okechukwu. Westport: Greenwood Press.
(2001) “Sire That Yells,” “One Nation,” and “One Tough Head.” In Englishes:Literature Inglesi Contemporanee (Italy), No 15 ANNO 5, pp. 103-104.
(2000) “Millenium Note” with republication of “Sire That Yells,” “One Nation,” “One Tough Head.” In Englishes: Literature Inglesi Contemporanee (Italy), No 10 ANNO 4, pp. 38-40
(2000) “Ogini’s Choice,” Also published In The Quest For Democracy: Writings on Nigerian Literature in English. Ed. Rosati, F. (Pescara, Italy: Libreria Dell’Universita Editrice), pp. 199-237.
(1999) “Modern African Literature and Beauvoirism: the Example of Selected African Writers.” In Beyond the Marginal land: Gender Perspective in African Writing, ed. Opara, Chioma (Port Harcourt, Nigeria: Belpot), pp. 57-80.
(1999) “Chains of Light,” and “My Love Grows in Winter.” TurfWRITE: A Creative Writing Journal. (South Africa). Vol. 2, pp. 102-103.
(1998) “Vincent Chukwuemeka Ike.” In Postcolonial African Writers: A Bio-Bibliographical Critical Sourcebook. Ed. Parekh, Pushpa and Siga Jagne (Westport: Greenwood), pp. 221-227.
(1998) “Festus Ikhuoria Ojeaka Iyayi.” In Postcolonial African Writers: A Bio-Bibliographical Critical Sourcebook. Ed. Parekh, Pushpa and Siga Jagne (Westport: Greenwood), pp. 234-240.
(1997) “Gender Politics in West African Mask Performance.” In Writing African Women: Gender, Popular Culture and Literature in West Africa. Ed. Newell, Stephanie (London: Zed Books), pp. 157‑169.
(1997) “Rewriting Popular Myths of Female Subordination: Selected Stories by Theodora Adimora‑Ezeigbo and May Ifeoma Nwoye.” In Writing West African Women: Gender, Popular Culture and Literature in West Africa. Ed. Newell, Stephanie (London: Zed Books), pp. 81-94.
(1999) “Chains of Light,” and “My Love Grows in Winter.” TurfWRITE: A Creative Writing Journal. (South Africa). Vol. 2, pp. 102-103.
(1997) “Umsenge Tree,” and “Forests of Guava.” Weekend Observer (Swaziland), p. 10.
(1996) “Counter Attack,” and “Maliyaduma Veld.” Poems in Tyume: Fort Hare Journal of Creative Writing (South Africa), No. 1.
(1996) “The Dramatization of Heroism in Igbo Festivals.” UNISWA Research Journal (Univ. of Swaziland), Vol. 10, pp. 56‑68.
(1996) "Theatrical Negotiation of Transformation in No More The Wasted Breed." In Femi Osofisan: Interpretative Essays I. Ed. Awodiya, Muyiwa (Ibadan: Kraft Books), pp. 119-128.
1995) “Bus Ride With Madam Osaigbovo.” A Story in The Potter and Other Stories (Ibadan: African Studies Publication), pp. 39-51.
(1994) “Theatrical Construction Of Trial As A Technique in The Trial of Dedan Kimathi." JMLAN: A Publication of the Modern Languages Association of Nigeria, Vol. 2, pp. 58‑64.
(1994) "From the Heart of Masculinity: Ogbodo Uke Women's Masking." Research in African Literatures (The Ohio State University), Vol. 25, No. 4, pp. 7‑17.
(1994) “Mother and Child.” The Evangelist (Nigeria). December. 2 pages.
(1994) "Potsherds (for Winnie Mandela)" "Crow After Hen," "For Arthur At Coronation (on the eve of Mandela's inauguration). Poems in Africa Update (CCSU African Studies Newsletter, U.S.A.) No. 3. pp. 6‑7.
(1993) “Silver Cross For Dundon.’ “Tribute…” and “Christmas in the Rains.” Fathers (Periodical Magazine) (Nigeria).
(1993) "Colors of My Country," "From Charles, the Cloths‑Maker," and “Forced Festival." Poems in Images: The Scholar's Release (Salisbury, U.S.A.), 2: 1‑3, pp. 26‑27.
(1993) "A Comparative Study of J. P. Clark's The Masquerade and Efua Sutherland's Foriwa." Commonwealth: Essays and Studies (Universite de Bourgogne, France), Vo l. 16, No. 1. Pp. 89‑95.
(1993) "Review of Gods, Oracles, and Divinations by Kalu Ogba." Research in African Literatures (The Ohio State University), Vol. 24, No. 1, pp. 129‑132.
(1992) "Power and Empowerment in African Mask Performance." Africa Notes (Cornell University), pp. 8‑9.
(1992) "The Rejected Corner Stone: Women In Igbo Mask Theater." Africana Studies and Research Center Newsletter (Cornell University), Vol. 4, No. 1, pp. 19‑23, and 27‑31.
(1992) "The Search for Gold Finger." Short Story in The Literary Review (Fairleigh Dickinson University), Vol. 34, No. 4, pp. 551-553.
(1991) “Behind the Inscrutable Wonder: The Dramaturgy of the Mask Performer in Traditional African Society.” Research In African Literatures (The Ohio State University), Vol. 22, No. 4. pp. 39-52.
(1990) “Ola Rotimi: The Man, the Playwright, and the producer on the Nigerian Theater Scene.” World Literature Today, Winter, pp. 24-29.
(1989) "Of Spooks and Virile Men: Patterns of Response to Imperialism in Sizwe Bansi is Dead and The Trial of Dedan Kimathi." Commonwealth: Essays and Studies (Universite de Bourgogne, France), Vol. 2, pp. 87‑93.
(1988) Amankulor, J. N. and Okafor, Chinyere G. "Continuity and Change in Traditional Nigerian Theatre among the Igbo in the Era of Colonial Politics." Ufahamu (University of California, LA), Vol. 26, No. 3, pp. 35‑50 (Okafor was the Principal Investigator and Primary Author).
(1986) "Aro Diaspora: A Cultural and Historical Overview." In Arochukwu History and Culture. Ed. Ijoma, J. O. (Enugu: Fourth Dimension), pp. 113‑137.
(1986) Okafor, Chinyere G. "Ama Ata Aidoo: Anowa" Okike: Educational Supplement, No. 4., pp. 137‑146.
(1983) "Creating Awareness through Shock Drama: The Example of Osofisan's Four Robbers." Journal of Nigerian Theatre Artistes, Vol. I, No. 1, pp. 9‑16.
(1981) "A Woman Is Not A Stone but A Human Being: Women in the Plays of Aidoo and Sutherland." Medium and Message (University of Calabar), Vol. 1, pp. 165-177.
(1980) "Parallelism versus Influence in African Literature...." Kiabara: Journal of Humanities (University of Port‑Harcourt), Vol. 1, pp. 113‑131.
Afolayan, Bosede F. “New Toyi-Toyi Trope: Chinyere Okafor and the Redemption of the African Society.” Ihafa: A Journal of African Studies 6.1, 2013.
Udengwu, Ngozi. Contemporary Nigerian Female Playwrights: A Study in Ideology and Themes. Lambert Saarbrücken: Academic Publishing, 2012.
Awodiya, Muyiwa P. “Uncelebrated Heroes and Heroines of Nigerian Drama.” In African Literature at the Millennium Vol. 13, Ed. African Literature Association, University of Kansas, Lawrence, 2007: 230-233.
Opara, Chioma. ”Echoes of the Whip in Chinyere Okafor’s He Wants To Marry Me Again and Zaynab Alkali’s Cobwebs and other Stories.” In Opara, C. Her Mother’s Daughter: the African Writer As Woman. Port Harcourt: University of Port Harcourt Press, 2005: 117-130.
- Dunton, Chris. “Okafor, Chinyere Grace,” In Nigerian Theater in English: A Critical Bibliography. London: Hans Zell Publishers, pp.162-169.
- Cormellini, Carla. “Postcolonial Motifs and Themes in Chinyere Grace Okafor’s Poetry and Ogini’s Choice” Englishes: Literature Inglesi Contemporane (Italy). No 15 ANNO 5, pp. 91-102, 140-142, 2001.
- Schenck, Celeste and Susan Perry, “EPILOGUE: Resisting Development.” In Eye to Eye: Women Practicing Development Across Cultures. London: Zed Press, 2001, pp. 257-8.
- Cormellini, Carla. “A Bio-Bibliographical Profile of Chinyere Grace Okafor.” Englishes: Literature Inglesi Contemporanee (Italy). No 10 ANNO 4, 2000, pp. 41-43.
- Alakam, Japhet. Okafor unravels the mystery of the Ikeji Mask (Nov. 21, 2015. http://www.vanguardngr.com/2015/11/okafor-unravels-the-mystery-of-ikeji-mask-performance/
“In Touch with Reality: Women Engineers, Equal Rights and the Arts,” Presentation at the Conference Celebrating the Scientific Legacy of NASA and Apollo, Wichita State University. Wichita, KS, 10/19
“Feminism, Social Justice and African Drama/Theater (PATCALA),” African Literature Association Columbus, Ohio, May 15-18
“Feminist Theater in pre-feminist context,” African Literature Association Columbus, Ohio, May 15-18/19.
“Domestic Violence or Gender Violence: Spousal Homicide among Nigerians in the US,” Presentation at the University of Lagos, Nigeria, 7/18/19.
“Born in Africa – Omumu: An Indigenous African concept of female power” African Literature Association Conference, Washington DC, May 23-28/18.
Professor Intensive Review (2015).
Chair, Women’s Studies, Wichita State University, Wichita, Kansas (2019-present).
Chair, Women’s Studies and Religion, Wichita State University, Wichita, Kansas (2015 – 2019).
Director, Center for Women’s Studies, Wichita State University, Wichita, Kansas (2015-present).
Visiting Professor (sabbatical), Dept. of Creative Arts, University of Lagos, Nigeria (Spring 2012).
Full Professor (2009 –Present).
Tenured Associate Professor. Wichita State University, Wichita, Kansas (20037– 2009).
Tenure-track Associate Professor, Wichita State University, Wichita, Kansas (2003 – 2007).
Associate Professor, University of Southern Maine, Portland ME (2001 – 2002).
Adjunct Professor, Montgomery College, Rockville, MD (Spring 2001).
Researcher & Team Writer - Women Practicing Development Across Cultures (1999 – 2001).
Visiting Professor and Coordinator of Literature, Univ. of Swaziland, Swaziland (1996 – 1999).
Associate Professor, University of Benin, Nigeria (1994 – 1996).
Jan Henri Women Leadership Award (2018)
Leadership Academy Fellow, 2015.
Outstanding WSU Faculty Award (by AAFASA – African American Faculty and Staff Association), 2012.
Tilford Incentive Grant (for integration of diversity education in my syllabus), 2012.
Phenomenal Woman Award (recognition for being a role-model and mentor of students), 2009.
University Research/Creative Projects Award (URCA), 2008.
Global Learning Most Outstanding Department Award (for connecting WSU classes with classes in other countries), 2004.
International Visitor for research, Colloque International, Ministere de la Culture, Paris, 1999.
Rockefeller Writer in Residence, Bellagio Center, Italy, 1998.
International Visitor for research, 40th Annual Meeting of the African Studies Association (ASA), Columbus, Ohio, 1997.
Outstanding Finalist, The Bertram’s V. O. Literature of Africa Awards; South Africa (1996).
Special Discovery of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) 1994, for proficiency as a Writer in the three genres of literature - poetry, prose and drama (1994).
2nd Place, Association of Nigerian Authors' (ANA) National Competition for Prose (1994).
Honors, Association of Nigerian Authors' (ANA) National Competition for Poetry (1994).
4th Place, Association of Nigerian Authors' (ANA) National Competition for playwriting (1994).
3rd Prize, Short Story Competition. Women's Research and Documentation Center (WORDOC), University of Ibadan, Nigeria (1992).
Rockefeller Fellowship, Hunter College, State University of New York (1991).
Rockefeller Fellow, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York (1991).