Dr. Olga Idriss (Sneed) Davis

is tenured Associate Professor of Performance Studies in The Hugh Downs School of Human Communication at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. She is an alumna of the drama division of The Juilliard School and has performed with Rock Hudson, Claire Trevor, and Leif Erickson under the direction of John Houseman in the bicentennial touring production of

Earning her Ph.D. in Communication Studies with an emphasis in rhetorical theory and criticism from the University of Nebraska, she made her television debut in a recurring role as Student Nurse on ABC’s daytime drama, 'General Hospital,' and is heard on several documentaries as Narrator for public television and public radio. In the realm of orchestral and symphonic milieus, she performed as Narrator in Aaron Copeland’s Lincoln Portrait with the Lincoln Symphony Orchestra in Lincoln, Nebraska. As a professorial ambassador for the State of Kansas, she was part of a delegation which traveled to West Africa and South Africa, meeting dignitaries across the continent, including former President Nelson Mandela at his presidential mansion in Johannesburg, South Africa.

In the 2004-2005 season, she made her Phoenix, Arizona debut in the Black Theatre Troupe’s performance of THE DANCE ON WIDOWS’ ROW, as the character of Lois, and later that season as Ruby in the Troupe’s performance of August Wilson’s KING HEDLEY II.  In 2001, she premiered the staged adaptation of Jewell Parker-Rhodes’ novel, VOODOO DREAMS, creating the character Membe. 

Dr. Olga Idriss Sneed Davis combines her scholarly interests with her creative and performative talents through writing, directing, and acting. Her research interests include ritual and identity in the African diaspora, race riot survivor narratives, Black feminist and womanist theories, and the performative nature of African American women’s blues and quilt traditions.

Her original one-woman dramatic performance written and performed in 2002 entitled, STANDING ON THE HYPHEN: WEAVING THREADS OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN WOMEN'S IDENTITY, interrogates the racialized and gendered space of hyphenated identity through the metaphor of the quilt. Her current performance work, THE SOULS OF BLACK WOMEN FOLK: VOICES OF BLACK WOMEN IN THE TULSA RACE RIOT OF 1921, explores the survival of Black women during America’s Jim Crow era in Tulsa, Oklahoma. 

Her co-edited book with Dr. Marsha Houston entitled, CENTERING OURSELVES: AFRICAN AMERICAN FEMINIST AND WOMANIST STUDIES OF DISCOURSE, examines the lived experience of Black women’s communication and is published by Hampton Press. 42406

- Last Updated: 4/4/09