By the time I went to the U.S. to do my doctorate, I spent a lot of time thinking about this. My special authors were Shaw, Steinberg, and O'Neil. In fact I thought I was going to write my thesis on Shakespeare. But because of the realisation I had concerning our own drama, I decided to research into this. When I went to my supervisor and told him that I was researching into Igbo Masks, he asked me 'What was that?' I told him that it was African Theatre. Initially he was doubtful if such a thing actually existed. Fortunately, around this
time a group from Yale theatre advertised for papers in African Theatre and I sent in a piece which they published. In fact when I was taking the book to my supervisor, I was afraid because I was not sure what his reaction would be. But he was excited and encouraged me. He was impressed.
.... Even in deciding to write on this Igbo theatre, I was sent to the department of Anthropology. The practice in Columbia then was that if a substantial part of your work falls into another discipline, a professor from that discipline will need to be part of your supervisory team. So they asked me to go and talk to a professor in the Department of Anthropology to see if he would join the team. I took it for granted that the professor would agree. But when I called him and told him “Prof, please I am writing my thesis on Igbo Masks,” he said “Yes, I know you very well. What has that got to do with me?” and dropped the phone. I picked up the phone and called him again. He said “Are you taking my course in anthropology?” I said “No.” He dropped the phone again. Then in the evening a young Yoruba saw me and said that the Prof said he was in a bad mood when I called him. That I should call him again. But when I went to my supervisor he advised me to keep clear of the man. The man has already shown that he was prejudiced. So I had to find another prof, this time, a white and he was quite happy to supervise me.
From Functionalism and Aesthetics in African Literature