Joan Hepburn offers students a different dimension of literature in English than many of them have ever encountered. With a BA from New York University and a PhD in African Drama from Brown University, Joan’s interest in drama and ritual take her around the world. During a recent leave of absence for a Joyce grant, Joan was able to observe the same festival dramas in one village after another in Yoruba country in Nigeria, experiencing the rituals upon which so much of contemporary African writing draws. She seeks out not only West African drama written in English, but also plays by Caribbean and American writers whose work shows a direct African influence.

While she loves the challenge of research and cultural exchange, Joan also loves teaching, communicating to students that there are other ways of being. She would like her mainstream and multicultural studies classes to celebrate diverse cultural groups and to awaken students. When she is not teaching or doing research, she devotes time to her spirituality.