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Women in Higher Education: Emmerencia Beh Sih makes History, bags First UBa English PhD

Dr. Emmerencia Beh Sih

The English Department, Faculty of Arts of The University of Bamenda has registered the first Ph.D. defense since the department went operational in 2015.

The first Ph.D. thesis was successfully defended by Emmerencia Beh Sih Friday, October 22, 2021, as she bags home an excellent after defending her theses titled "Postmodern Dramatic Constructions and Special Negotiations in the Plays of Sarah Kane and Suzan-Lori Parks.

The jury chaired by Professor John Nkengasong, Prof Kelvin Ngong Toh as Rapporteur, Professors Roselyn Jua, Teke Charles Ngeiwih, and Mbuh Tennu Mbuh as Examiner provoked in the candidate rich intellectual exchanges which brought contextual postmodern problems dissected from the plays of American writers; Sarah Kane and Suzan-Lori Parks which are present in Africa and Cameroonian societies.

Members of the jury

According to the candidate, her main reason for choosing the topic is because it serves as an eye-opener, thereby creating awareness concerning modernism, bringing it into the context of Cameroon and many other issues happening in the context of Cameroon.

The research thus performs the role of a whistle-blower unearthing hidden ills in society which can impair negotiations.

The Chairperson and the Examiners in the jury acknowledged the complexity of the work, however, underpinned the need for society to assert and reconcile current challenges by revisiting history through dramatic plays.

Newly accoladed Dr. Sih holds that “…despite the existence of hidden atrocities in society, the study raises an alarm of their existence and instills hope in us in that we need to continue to expose those inequalities in society to see a change in future”.

While the research makes a significant contribution to academia concerning the role of drama in negotiation, it exposes fundamental nuances which may work against societal constructs.

The research suggests further expansion in the place of drama and special negotiations, upholding its “…good contributions towards confirming that Suzane-Lori Parks and Sarah Kane are ‘resurrectionists’ and experimentalist playwrights blend history, theory, and literature”.

Emmerencia's research work brings out ills that are inherent in a society like racial discrimination, gender inequalities, wars suffered by many people around the globe.

Speaking shortly after the defense, Professor John Nkengasong, chairperson of the jury said the candidate selected a very impactful topic, because she did not only center around the play and what is happening in the United States and Britain, but brings it to the context of Cameroon. He said her work is very vital in the pursuit of building better societies.

Admitted in 2017 to work on the topic Postmodern Dramatic Constructions and Spatial Negotiations, Emmerencia Beh Sih took four years to defend her Ph.D. thesis.

By Nji Nelson Chefor with additional input from The Gong

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