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Sylvie Ngilla, PhD

Assistant Professor, French

Sylvie Ndome Ngilla, PhD, joined the faculty in 2012. She teaches courses on French and Francophone language, culture, and literatures. Her research is focused on twentieth and twenty-first century francophone African theater in particular on aesthetics and discourses on chaos, cultural identities, gender, African diasporas, and globalization.


Joint PhD, University of Minnesota, French Literature / Université Paris III Sorbonne
   Nouvelle, Études Théâtrales
DEA (Post-Master's Degree), Université Paris X Nanterre, Philosophie
Maîtrise, Université Paris X Nanterre, Philosophie

Scholarly and Creative Work

Professor Ngilla’s research explores the ways in which contemporary African dramatists develop new aesthetics of chaos based on intersections on critical theories in literature, theater studies, philosophy, science and music. In her dissertation "Nouvelles perspectives du chaos dans les dramaturgies contemporaines africaines francophones," she argues for a more complex and positive notion of chaos that allows a better understanding of the fragmentation and repetition as a creative process at work in contemporary African theater. She discusses the development of a type of oppositional theatre that emphasizes transnational relationships within which African sources are nourished by the influences of the world at large.

Ngilla has published in French and English several articles and interviews in reviews and journals including L’Esprit Créateur and Africultures. Also she has presented her work on chaos in contemporary African francophone theater at numerous international colloquiums of literature and theater. Her next research project is an article on Schizophony, Rape, and Transnationalism in Koffi Kwahulé’s theater.

In Spring 2014, Dr. Sylvie Ngilla invited French visual artist Alexis Peskine for a two-week project focused on minorities, race, and cultural identities in France with her students enrolled in the course on Contemporary French Civilization. Peskine created art pieces with Ngilla’s students presented during a three-day exhibition entitled “Expressions of Cultures and Identities” in Student Life Pavilion Exhibit Hall.

Dr. Ngilla delivered a conference paper entitled “Dramaturgies contemporaines africaines: les espaces de la mutation,” at the 20st and 21st Century French and Francophone Studies International Colloquium, which takes place in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, February 26-March 1st, 2015. She also was invited to present a keynote address at the 10th Annual United Front Multicultural Center Diversity Banquet at the University of San Diego on April 6, 2015.

Dr. Ngilla is currently transforming her paper presented in Louisiana into an article that focuses on notions of “rupture” and “unfinished bodies” in a broader body of contemporary African plays.

Teaching Interests

Professor Ngilla enjoys teaching students in an interactive, collaborative and interdisciplinary approach. She received an award for Excellence of Teaching at the University of Minnesota. She looks forward to teaching French and Francophone language, literature, and theater at USD.