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Stephanie Shonekan

Professor and Chair

Stephanie Shonekan

(413) 545-2751

328 New Africa House

Stephanie Shonekan is Professor and Chair of the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies. In 2003, she earned a PhD in Ethnomusicology and Folklore with a minor in African American Studies from Indiana University. From 2003-2011, she taught at Columbia College Chicago, and from 2011-2018, she was a faculty member at the University of Missouri in the Black Studies Department and the School of Music. From 2015-2018, she was chair of the Department of Black Studies at the University of Missouri.  Her dual heritage combining West Africa with the West Indies allows her to straddle the black world comfortably.  She has published articles on afrobeat, Fela Kuti, as well as American and Nigerian hip-hop.  Her books The Life of Camilla Williams, African American Classical Singer and Opera Diva (2011) and Soul, Country, and the USA: Race and Identity in American Music Culture (2015) explore the intersection where identity, history, culture and music meet. This October (2017), her co-edited book  Black Lives Matter & Music will be published by the Indiana University Press in the fall of 2018. In 2019, her co-edited book Black Resistance in the Americas will be published by Routledge Press. 

In 2008, inspired by the music and revolution of Fela’s mother and the Nigerian market women’s revolution of the 1940s, Dr. Shonekan wrote and produced a short live action film titled Lioness of Lisabi. The film was awarded first prize at the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival in 2010 and by the Girls Inc. Film Festival in March 2012.  


Black Resistance in the Americas: Slavery and its Aftermath with D.A. Dunkley (Routledge Press, under contract)

picture of book coverBlack Lives Matter and Music with Fernando Orejuela (Indiana University Press, October 2018)




picture of book coverSoul, Country and the USA: Race and Identity in American Music Culture (Palgrave Macmillan Press, 2015).




picture of book coverThe Life of Camilla Williams, African American Classical Singer and Opera Diva (Edwin Mellen Press, 2011).




Journal Articles (peer refereed)

  • “Man in the Mirror: The Issue of Appropriation in the Exchange Between African and African American Popular Culture” (under revision for African Theater)
  • “’We People Who Are Darker Than Blue’: Black Studies and the Mizzou Movement.” Journal of Negro Education. (2017)
  • “The Blueprint:  The Gift and The Curse of American Hip Hop and R&B for Nigeria’s Millennial Youth.”  Journal of Pan African Studies. 6:3. Spring 2013. 181-198.
  • “Sharing Hip-Hop Cultures: The Case of Nigerians and African Americans.” American Behavioral Scientist.  January 2011. 9-23.
  • “Fela’s Foundation: Examining the Revolutionary Songs of Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti and the Abeokuta Market Women's Movement in 1940s Western Nigeria.” Black Music Research Journal. Spring 2009. 127-144.
  • “Sharing Cultures: Personal Revelations, Pedagogical Realizations, Political Revolutions.”  Kairos. New Writing and Computer Technologies. 10.2.  Spring 2006.

Computers & Writing.  “Colonialism and Imperialism”

Book Chapters

  • “The ‘Noble Cause’ and the ‘Perilous Fight’: National Anthems as Representations of Pride or Oppression for the Black World.” (In a book in honor of Professor Kofi Agawu. Editors, George Dor, Bode Omojola, Daniel Avorgbedor.) – under review.
  • “Man Against Machine: Garth Brooks as Preacher, Player, and Provocateur.” In Honky Tonk on the Left. Edited by Mark Jackson. University of Massachusetts Press. (2018)
  • “BlackMizzou: Music & Stories One Year Later.” Black Lives Matter and Music. (Co-edited with Fernando Orejuela) – under contract with the Indiana University Press
  • “Conclusion: Race, Place, and Pedagogy in the BLM Era.” Black Lives Matter and Music. (Co-edited by Stephanie Shonekan and Fernando Orejuela) – under contract with the Indiana University Press
  • “Black Man’s Cry in the Babylon System: A Comparative Analysis of Fela Kuti and Bob Marley.” Black Resistance in the Americas. (Co-edited by Stephanie Shonekan and Daive Dunkley) – under consideration with the University of Missouri Press
  • “Nigerian Hip-Hop: Exploring a Black World Hybrid.” In Hip Hop Africa: New African Music in a Globalizing World. Edited by Eric Charry. Indiana University Press, September 2012. 147-168.

Encyclopedia Entry

  • “Hip Hop in Nigeria.” In Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Popular music of the World. Editors, John Shepherd and David Horn – forthcoming

Magazine and Newspaper Articles

  • “American Anthem: The National Anthem and African American Nationhood.” In Starting Points.  April 2017.
  • “Why Did Our Media Mourn Charlie Hebdo But Ignore 2,000 Deaths in Nigeria? Ask Fela Kuti.” In These Times. February 2015.
  • “Living Color in Naperville.”  In These Times. July 2011.
  • “A Trowel for a Silver Spoon,” Roots and Routes.  Columbia College Chronicle. Sept 2008.
  • “For Grace,” Roots and Routes.  Columbia College Chronicle. May 2008.
  • “Look Beyond the Gender Question.”  Black Issues in Higher Education.  May 2004.
  • Various articles for Liner Notes (the newsletter of the Archives of African American Music and Culture at Indiana University). Articles included profiles and interviews with dj Jack Gibson  (Nov 1998), composer  Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson (Nov 1998), musician Johnny Griffith (July 1999), Mike McAlpin” (July 1999), Gospel music scholar Dr. Mellonee Burnim (Dec 1999), Gospel music show host Dr. Bobby L. Jones” (Dec 2000), pianist/singer Patrice Rushen” (Spring 2002), and researcher Dr. Valerie Grim (Spring 2002)
  • “The Head-Wrap: An Important Part of the Nigerian Woman.”  African Studies Outreach.  Fall 2002.

Praxis Center (Online Journal) Articles  

  • “In Search of Tupac: Expectations of All Eyez On Me” (July 25, 2017)
  •  “Lemonade: Our Album of the Year.” February 21, 2017 

  • “I Was Served Lemons but I Made Lemonade”: Notes from a Teenage Fan.” July 
5, 2016 

  • “The Healing Powers of American Roots Music.” February 18, 2016 

  • “Lioness of Lisabi: A Black Girl Power Story.” November 25, 2015 

  • “Black on Black Pride: In Celebration of Olivia, Annalise, and Cookie.” 
September 22, 2015 

  • “Outside Looking In: Race and Identity in American Music Culture.” April 23, 2015 

  • “What Fela Kuti Teaches Us About the Media’s Response to Charlie Hebdo and Black Lives.” March 11, 2015 

  • “Why Selma Matters: A Mother’s Perspective.” January 28, 2015 

  • “The State of Black Art and Life: A Conversation with Photographer Iris Dawn 
Parker.” November 19, 2014 

  • “Hip-hop and Ferguson: Black Rage, Don’t Shoot, Be Free.” October 8, 2014 

  • “Michael and the Motherland: Reflections on an African American Icon and His 
Influence in Africa.” June 25, 2014 

  • “Lupita: One Small Step for Dark Girls?” April 29, 2014 


  • Lioness of Lisabi.  (Writer, Producer)  Short film inspired by the life of Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, Nigerian women’s activist and mother of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti.  Wrote and produced film, which was shot in Trinidad and Tobago in March 2007.  Composed music. Release date: December, 2008.


  • Afropuffs (Children’s Book Series): Power to the Puffs and A Serious Project. Creators Lamp. 2006, 2007.
  • “Caroline’s World.”  (short story) Journal of Creative Work (online). Volume 1, Issue 1, 2007
  • “The Orange Girl.”  (short story) The Tide.  Port Harcourt, Nigeria. October 1994.

Other Media

  • Narrator, The Straus Expedition on African Music (CD-Rom project), Archives of Traditional Music (ATM), Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana. 1999 & 2000
  • Narrator, “Five Windows into Africa” (CD-Rom project), Indiana University Press, Bloomington, Indiana, 2000
    Narrator, “Indiana University Traditions and Cultures,” Indiana University Press, Bloomington, Indiana, 2001