Emily Sahakian

Portrait of Emily Sahakian in theaterMichael F. Adams Early Career Scholar Award 2018

Emily Sahakian, assistant professor in the Departments of Romance Languages and Theatre and Film Studies, has developed a reputation as one of the foremost experts of French Caribbean theater and is a leading specialist of Francophone theatre. Her book, Staging Creolization: Women’s Theater and Performance from the French Caribbean, illuminates previously neglected Francophone Caribbean women writers who can be considered among the best playwrights of their generation and draws from original research to document the history of their plays’ international production and reception. While scholars have generally framed “creolization” as a linguistic phenomenon, Sahakian theorizes it as a performance-based practice of reinventing meaning and resisting the status quo. Her numerous articles, invited book chapters and conference presentations contribute to the understanding of French Atlantic theatre and the cultural similarities and differences among work by artists from Africa, what is now known as “black France,” the United States, and the Caribbean.