2020 Election Slate Announced
Tuesday, April 7, 2020
Submitted to the EC by the ASTR Nominating Committee
Patrick Anderson, Chair, Susan Bennett, Yumi Pak, Adam Versenyi, and Stacy Wolf
Nominations were submitted for the following offices:
Vice President for Awards (vote for 1)
Colorado State University
As Professor of English at Colorado State University, I teach courses in both English and Theatre. I am author of Lives in Play: Autobiography and Biography on the Feminist Stage (Michigan 2012) as well as numerous articles and chapter on the politics of theatres of the real. I served as book reviews editor for Theatre Journal from 2013-2015, and in my previous post at West Virginia University, I served as Associate Dean and then Acting Dean of the Honors College, and founded the WVU Humanities Center. An ASTR member for well over a decade, I have convened multiple working groups, just completed a term on the Research and Publications Committee, and am slated to serve on the 2021 Conference Committee.
In the role of VP for Awards, I would work to maintain and increase participation, leadership, and recognition by and of individuals from within under-represented communities through four primary methods: 1) continuing the work of current VP Patricia Herrera to cultivate diverse awards committee membership across all committees; 2) working with present and past committee members to identify lists of presses, journals, and other venues where work by underrepresented scholars may appear, but has been often overlooked in past awards processes; 3) connecting with ASTR’s social media presences to more thoroughly advance calls for nominations; and 4) collaborating with committees to develop a manual of best practices for equitable processes for nomination and deliberation. Publishing such a manual would help to guide award chairs and committees, so that institutional knowledge around these awards is not simply passed down through the three-year rotation of members. Collection of this insight, coupled with consistent communication that reinforces the value of equity in these processes, will help ensure that blank spots in the awareness of individual committee members or chairs may be addressed in shared practice.
These practices echo work that I have facilitated at two universities to integrate models of inclusive excellence into Honors education (an institutional location that has long resisted these efforts) through both recruitment processes and persistent analysis of structural processes that impede equity and diversity. Insights that come from increasing diversity in, for example, Honors admissions and applications for nationally competitive scholarships may well apply directly to nomination and selection processes that ASTR employs.
Such inclusive approaches for awards must also account for scholars with less institutional support for their work, whether this comes in the form of advocacy for expanded grant opportunities for these members, or encouragement of participation by these scholars on awards committees by devising tactics for acknowledging, documenting, and expressing gratitude for this labor—similar work to processes I facilitated through the devising and administration of WVU Humanities Center’s grants programs. More broadly, I hope to participate in ASTR’s future leadership on arts scholarship through troubled times—of politics, precarity, and pandemic—to build on what we do best: collaborate, take stock of the most vulnerable of our numbers, and see the world not just as it is, but as it might be.
In offering my candidacy for ASTR’s Vice President for Awards, I highlight my extensive record of awards-related service. I served on the Helen Krich Chinoy Dissertation Research Fellowship Committee from 2017 to 2019 (chairing in 2019). Additional service includes: Best Book Award committee for the Canadian Association of Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CALACS); Outstanding Article Award Committee for the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE); two stints chairing awards committees for the Institute for Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies at McGill University; evaluating Canadian research fellowships for Master’s students; and four years evaluating for McGill’s internal Social Sciences and Humanities Development Grant, which offers seed money to interdisciplinary researchers. This experience helped me to hone more inclusive rubrics and criteria for funding and to interpret the qualifications of diverse projects along multifaceted axes of merit and need.
The unequal apportionment of funding and time across academic institutions impacts the research output of graduate students, adjuncts, and tenure-stream faculty alike. In the absence of more sustained efforts, awards can begin to redress these gaps. Awards also promote a candidate’s scholarship, advancing their career. I hope to foster opportunities to highlight the research of lesser-known applicants and those in tenuous positions. Two years’ service in my department’s ad-hoc Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) committee lent me insight into ways to improve access for underrepresented and underfunded individuals and groups. We must broaden recruitment by targeting networks serving marginalized communities; chart past data trends to see how funding has historically been apportioned across race, gender, home institution, geographic distribution, and other relevant categories; and consider contexts of relevance and need. I will request letters of nomination that expressly highlight contextual contributions where the committee may lack the intellectual resources to evaluate a given area or object due to representational factors. In populating awards committees, I’ll aim to strike a balance between including diverse evaluators and not overburdening those already taking on undue administrative burdens for EDI-related reasons. In funding projects, we must consider the candidate’s need for and application of research funds: the candidate might submit a detailed note on extra-ASTR funding opportunities to which they have access. We must watch for the common practice of accumulating multiple funding sources, which can deprive those who have few or no options at hand.
At ASTR, I will work with the Treasurer to seek enhanced funding for Targeted Research Areas Grants; Grants for Researchers with Heavy Teaching Loads; the Publishing Subvention; travel grants; and graduate student-focused grants. I also hope to add a subvention award specifically for theatre translation, as this time-intensive activity is both vital to our field and insufficiently funded and recognized.
As a regular attendee at ASTR conferences for the past decade, I view the organization as a nurturing environment for scholars at all ranks, offering both breadth and intimacy. I have been fortunate to observe the brilliant leadership of outgoing VP-Awards Dr. Patricia Herrera, and I hope to continue Dr. Herrera’s efficient and generative approach to coordinating the awards.
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Secretary (vote for 1)
Queens College, CUNY
I am grateful for the knowledge and resources ASTR offers its members, and if elected I would strive to contribute to its efforts to celebrate and support the work of scholars and educators across the field. My research has considered how municipal and fiscal crisis shaped theatre practices in a specific time and place—late twentieth-century New York City. ASTR’s members today operate in contexts shaped by ideologies of austerity; we also pursue our teaching and research goals within the unique constraints of our individual departments and programs. I would work to expand the initiatives already underway within ASTR to address the challenges confronting its members, particularly doctoral students and contingent faculty. As a doctoral student, I was among the inaugural cohort of Digital Fellows at the Graduate Center, CUNY, an opportunity that led me to consider the implications of digital humanities initiatives (and “alt-academia” more generally) for theater and performance scholars. Additionally, having worked as a part-time instructor at multiple universities in the past, it is important to me to collaborate with ASTR members to strengthen support systems for those scholars lacking meaningful institutional support.
Much of my service at universities has involved collaborating on initiatives aimed at increasing participation by students from under-represented communities, modifying curriculum to meet the needs of new student populations, and seizing on the professional and pedagogical opportunities afforded by interdisciplinarity. I am currently assistant professor of English at Queens College, City University of New York, where I was elected to serve on the Curriculum Committee, working to revise elements of both the major and the minor. I also serve on the Mission Committee, which develops materials for students about our discipline and the value of arts/humanities majors. As an assistant professor of Theatre at California State University, Northridge, I served as Graduate Coordinator of the MA program in Theatre and spearheaded the Graduate Program Task Force, charged with evaluating the program amid shifting professional landscapes, and, as a member of the Queer Studies Interdisciplinary Program Committee, I took part in the development of a new Queer Studies minor. These experiences led me to publish articles on the topic of curricular change in undergraduate and graduate programs, as well as the ethics of graduate training programs. I would look forward to bringing these concerns and priorities to an ASTR leadership position.
Cláudia Tatinge Nascimento
An artist-scholar from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, my primary areas of expertise are contemporary experimental performance, cultural negotiations onstage, and Brazilian theater. I am the author of Crossing Cultural Borders Through the Actor’s Work: Foreign Bodies of Knowledge (2008) and After the Long Silence: The Theater of Brazil’s Post-Dictatorship Generation (2019), both published by Routledge. My articles appear internationally in journals such as A[l]berto (Brazil), Biblioteca Teatrale (Italy), Didaskalia (Poland), Studia Dramatica (Romania), and TDR (USA), among others. I am the guest editor of special issues on contemporary Brazilian theater for Theater—Yale’s Journal of Criticism, Plays, and Reportage and Theatre Research International. I was a fellow at Trinity College Dublin’s Long Room Hub, Wesleyan University’s Center for the Humanities, and Freie Universität-Berlin’s “Interweaving Performance Cultures” International Research Center.
I have extensive experience in a wide range of university administrative service and leadership—I have enjoyed and contributed to faculty governance since my early years in higher education, first at Wesleyan University and now at Macalester College. At Wesleyan University, I was Chair of Honors College, a member of the Faculty Executive Committee, and Chair of the Theater Department—while the former two positions provided me with insight into the institution, the latter granted me the opportunity to develop a vision for the department at a time when the humanities are under close scrutiny. At that institution, I also collaborated with the dean of the Arts and Humanities and other chairs in my division in drafting an Arts Plan for the President. I left Wesleyan to become the chair of the Theatre and Dance Department at Macalester College. In my new position, I am also a member of the Faculty & Staff Capital Campaign Committee. At both institutions, was an affiliated faculty in Latin American Studies, and have had the opportunity to manage operational and production budgets; lead detailed revisions of curriculum and requirements; restructure honors guidelines and evaluation processes for each area of study; chair reappointment and promotion, and search committees; act as a mentor to tenure track and visiting colleagues; and contribute to many pedagogical and curatorial committees. My management philosophy and interpersonal style emphasize transparency, inclusion, and synergistic decision-making processes.
I am committed to service to the field. I often serve on editorial boards, have long been a reader for university presses and journals, and an external reviewer for fellowship awards, and tenure and promotion cases. For ASTR, I was a committee member and later the chair of the Barnard Hewitt Prize for Outstanding Research in Theatre History (2017-19). Collaborative models permeate every aspect of my administrative, artistic, pedagogical, and scholarly engagements. As Secretary, I would work with ASTR members in crafting opportunities that support colleagues from underrepresented groups and/or without significant institutional support. Given my personal interest in equity, diversity, and inclusion, I would be especially interested in engaging in projects that seek to decolonize scholarship and that foster anti-racist practices in higher education.
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Treasurer (vote for 1)
Stony Brook University
I am currently the Associate Dean for Research and Innovation in the College of Arts and Sciences at Stony Brook University and a full professor in the English Department. I have been chair of the art department here and secretary of ASTR, so I am comfortable with contention, strategizing, and balancing competing priorities. I was the co-organizer of the 5th Annual Cognitive Futures in the Arts and Humanities Conference, Stony Brook, NY, June 2017. Despite these cauldrons of learning, I generally point to the expert training I received directing plays on a shoestring budget and working as an assistant director off-Broadway: as always, practical theatre teaches every skill. I have been a member of ASTR since 2001 and am devoted to the organization. My third book, "Shakespearean Futures: Casting the bodies of tomorrow on Shakespeare’s stages today” is under review with the Elements Series of Cambridge Press.
I believe that questions of diversity, equity, and inclusion must be baked into every decision; I don’t have a business degree, but if you show me your budget, I’ll tell you what you care about. I think we should increase the number and amount of our awards and scholarships—particularly for precarious or under-supported faculty hoping to present at the conference. All priorities must be balanced, of course, with realistic plans for how we are going to move forward in a world where flights can be grounded and university budgets can contract. Being able to travel should not be a requirement to take part in the organization; expanding participation must include expanding ways of participating. Finally, I would push for more collaboration and integration with other similar organizations to find common ground to fight for research and responsible higher education, expanding what we do and for whom we do it.
R. Darren Gobert
Since finishing my Ph.D. sixteen years ago, I have taken on sundry service roles, including Graduate Program Director and Director of Undergraduate Studies (a role in which I currently serve). Outside of various academic departments, I participated on the ASTR Conference Program Committee in 2019, and I am currently in the second year of a five-year term on the Executive Committee for MLA’s Drama and Performance Forum. As editor of Modern Drama since July 1, 2015, I have overseen not only the journal’s intellectual direction but also (alongside a business manager) its budget. When my term ends on June 30, 2020, I will have more time to serve the profession in other ways. Therefore, I have responded to ASTR’s need for a new treasurer.
I have been asked to reflect on issues on which I believe ASTR’s leadership should be focused. I would say only that I wish to work collaboratively with colleagues to maintain the organization’s course; my sole pre-ordained commitments are to manage the organization’s finances soundly and to minimize the costs of participation for faculty not on the tenure track and especially for graduate students.
My current projects include an in-progress book and preparations to direct my department’s Fall 2020 mainstage show. My past projects include the books The Theatre of Caryl Churchill (Bloomsbury) and The Mind-Body Stage (Stanford UP), which among other honors won ASTR’s Barnard Hewitt Award for Outstanding Research in Theatre History in 2014.
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Executive Committee (vote for 3)
Being raised in South Central Los Angeles, I have dedicated my life, and scholarship, to under-represented communities to which I deeply resonate and identify with, fully embracing the liminal space I represent between my community, the arts, and the academy. I am currently a lecturer at Dartmouth College in the Theater department and African and African American Studies. I received my PhD in Culture and Performance from UCLA’s World Arts and Cultures/Dance department, M.A. in Ethnic Studies from UC San Diego and B.A. with Honors in American Studies (African American emphasis) from the University of Southern California. An original member of the #blacklivesmatter movement, beginning as a core organizer with Justice 4 Trayvon Martin Los Angeles (J4TMLA)/Black Lives Matter Los Angeles, my background is in leadership and service across various communities, campuses, and arts organizations. Some roles include the International Black Theatre Summit Steering Committee 2019-2020, Community Scholar in Residence- University Village Apartments-South 2018-2019 of the Arts & Architecture at UCLA, ATHE Black Theatre Association Member at large 2018-2019, Student liaison to Asst. Vice Chancellor, Student Development 2018-2019, Student liaison to Dean for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion School 2017-2018, World Arts and Culture/Dance Graduate Student Representative 2014-2018, ASTR Graduate Student Caucus Founder & Co-Chair Peer Networking Committee 2015-2016, ASTR Graduate Student Caucus Co-Chair Faculty and Peer Mentorship Committee 2014-2015. During my graduate studies I spearheaded peer networking opportunities for graduate students and will continue to focus on interconnectedness as a key tenet of my contribution to ASTR. Representation matters, with this position, I am able to use my first-hand knowledge to encourage and support the under-represented. To better support our more privileged scholars, I intend to help facilitate impactful networking and breakout group experiences that also include solution-based approaches toward moving our scholarship beyond our conference walls. In addition to representation in leadership, ASTR might increase opportunities for participation and leadership from under-represented communities if we are able to 1) provide gratis conference registration fees and conference travel scholarships that do not negatively impact financial aid at their home institution, 2) provide programming that reflects under-represented communities that originate from their immediate needs and suggestions, and 3) make an effort to focus on a shift towards wellness that rejects the “publish or perish” model and supports these emerging scholars in moving past obstacles such as “imposter syndrome”. Especially in this moment of an unexpected, massive shift in society due to COVID-19, it is my focus to encourage our leadership to be more vulnerable, more compassionate, and dream of the day-after our "shelter in place." What then does being an academic really mean if we continue to bear witness to, and write about, the most "essential" workers and not use our knowledge to put in place innovative practices and policies that truly advantage all? If not the academics and artists, together, co-creating this new reality, then who will?
Eric M. Glover is an assistant professor adjunct of dramaturgy and dramatic criticism at Yale where he is an expert on black musical theater. Eric has also worked as a production dramaturge on Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun (Yale Repertory Theater, University Theater, New Haven, 2020). Eric's research questions are animated by his core scholarly and intellectual interests in amnesia and estrangement on official theatrical stages, e.g., Broadway, Off-Broadway, the regional theater, and the West End of London: (a) black people's activity and influence as musical theater writers from Reconstruction to the contemporary period, (b) how and why we believe what and who we believe about black people and theater history, i.e., black people do not frequently go to the theater, despite evidence to the contrary, and (c) the impact of truth claims about black people on dramatic composition and theatrical representation. Eric's writing appears in his articles written for a general audience and The Sondheim Review as well as in JADT and in Theater Journal.
Eric's committee work at Yale and departmental and university service elsewhere combine to make him suitable for the position of an executive committee member. Beyond advising students, commenting on student work, reading DFA dissertations, and teaching electives and modular engagements, participating in admission procedures and supporting the chair of dramaturgy and dramatic criticism has been enlightening. Eric is also serving on the selection panel for editors of Studies in Musical Theater, doing his part as a citizen of the profession. What Eric brings to all organizational service roles is his enthusiasm for diversity, equity, and inclusion in the field of theater and performance studies.
Ideas about how ASTR may attract a more racially and ethnically heterogenous membership revolve around breaking down barriers for members to leadership and participation. Eric's experience with this sort of work includes his years as a graduate student leader working in the graduate school at Princeton University previously. Because of an inevitable COVID-19 pandemic-related economic downturn that threatens to kindle contingent faculty member precariousness, it is worthwhile to Eric that ASTR considers hybrid forms of conferences, both in-person and online. A single-blind submission procedure in which the applicants but not the organizers of working sessions know affiliations, departments, names, and ranks is also worthwhile. By broadening the definitions of research and scholarship to include creative expression, creative publications, and practice, so too ASTR invites in members who are neither artists nor scholars, generally speaking, yet both. These ideas, taken together with practical matters and urgent problems outside of the ivory tower, play to how theater works and why theater matters.
Nicole Hodges Persley
University of Missouri, Kansas City
As a performer and director trained in American Studies and Ethnicity and Theatre Studies, I would like to share my leadership approaches with ASTR on the Executive Committee to help facilitate dynamic scholarly and creative research. I want to help ASTR curate intersectional theater communities that can flourish. As the former Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Kansas, I gained valuable experience working with administration, faculty, staff, and students to facilitate safe and equitable work environments. In my current position as Associate Professor of Theatre at The University of Missouri, Kansas City, I am the first African American female faculty member in the history of the Acting and Directing program, where I work to build sustainable models of inclusivity in the classroom and campus climate. My service to ATHE, Theatre Communications Group, The National Theatre Conference, Stage Directors, and Choreographers Society and the Screen Actors Guild focuses on advancing the goals of each organization to redefine itself to facilitate inclusive practices. As the current Artistic Director of KC Melting Pot Theater, I converted this small community theater into a TCG member theater undergoing an Equity conversion and facilitating an African American stage manager training program in less than five years. I was able to use my work at a regional theater to impact national conversations about equality and access for African American actors and technicians in the industry.
This snapshot of my diverse leadership experiences documents creative fluencies in academic and professional theater practice that can be valuable assets to the ASTR leadership team. We need to think strategically and holistically about how we train scholars and artists to become global citizens with diversity and emotional intelligence. I would love to continue these efforts if elected to the Executive Committee. At ASTR, I served as Chair of the Nominations Committee where I worked diligently with my colleagues to assure a diverse roster of candidates for our elections over the past three years. In addition to leadership as mentioned above, I served as a DEI advocate at NTC (National Theatre Conference), as a member of the EDI Cohort of TCG (Theatre Communications Group), and as the current President of the Black Theatre Association. I have presented two consecutive DEI plenary sessions and workshops for ATHE and the NTC (National Theatre Conference) over the past two years.
Honored to be nominated as a member of the Executive Committee, I feel that my national and international work on equity in the arts can serve ASTR’s mission to connect global scholars of theater. Now more than ever, we need leadership that will inspire us to come together as agents of change to forge new pathways and scholarly innovations that produce radically inclusive praxis that encourages everyone to thrive.
Arizona State University
Kristin Hunt is an assistant professor in the School of Film, Dance and Theatre at Arizona State University’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts (currently under review for tenure and promotion). She received her PhD in Theatre and Drama from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her recent work at ASTR has centered on food and performance, including leadership of six working groups on the topic (co-convened with collaborators including Joshua Abrams, Susan Bennett, and Megan McGlone). ASTR has provided a crucial community for nurturing her research and creative practice, including her monograph Alimentary Performances (Routledge 2018), developed via the aforementioned food and performance working groups. In addition to her work in food and performance as a scholar, director, and food designer, she also teaches and publishes in classics and in drama for teaching and learning. Her scholarship has appeared in journals including Performance Research, Youth Theatre Journal, Restoration and Eighteenth Century Studies, and Theatre Topics, in addition to anthologies and live venues such as the Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space. Her writing on drama for teaching and learning appears in multiple articles and essays as well as the co-authored text Drama and Education: Performance Methodologies for Teaching and Learning (2015, Routledge). In addition to university service at the University of Wisconsin, Arizona State University, and Northeastern Illinois University, her national service includes five years as the chair of the American Alliance for Theatre and Education’s College and University Research Network, during which she has focused on increasing access and opportunity for graduate students and early-career scholars, building robust and inclusive community among scholars and practitioners, and developing resources to support faculty and independent scholars and artists in advocating for their work in the face of contemporary challenges such as decreased access to funding, increased teaching loads, and neoliberal administrative paradigms. As a scholar and practitioner who has worked in contingent and tenure track positions in both R1 and teaching-focused public universities, her main priorities relative to ASTR’s ongoing work include:
reinforcing and expanding efforts to include contingent and adjunct faculty, early career scholars, graduate students, independent scholars, and those with high teaching loads in meaningful ways in ASTR’s scholarly communities continuing development of ethical practices and standards relevant to higher education and arts communities, including fairer labor practices and more impactful work for inclusion, equity, and justice
Lindsay Brandon Hunter
University at Buffalo, SUNY
I am Assistant Professor of Theatre at the University at Buffalo, SUNY, and the author of Playing Real: Media, Mimesis, and Mischief, forthcoming in 2020 from Northwestern University Press. My research focuses on the ways that mediatization and theatricality work, both in concert and in conflict, to construct and interrogate performances of authenticity. My essays and reviews have appeared in Theatre Topics, International Journal of Performing Art and Digital Media, Amodern, Theatre Survey, Theatre Journal, Theatre Annual, and Contemporary Theatre Review. I’m also a performing artist and a founding ensemble member of the New York NeoFuturists. At the University at Buffalo, I serve on the Executive Committee of the Humanities Institute and co-organize the Institute’s Performance Research Workshop, an interdisciplinary home for scholars and practitioners of performance across the university, and I collaborate with faculty in engineering, media studies, and computer science as part of UB’s Computing 4 Social Good (C4SG) working group.
I've participated in ASTR’s annual conferences since 2009, as a working group member, coorganizer, and in 2016 a TLA plenary speaker—and I currently serve on the Collaborative Research Award Committee. The questions of how ASTR might increase opportunities for participation and leadership by individuals and groups from under-represented communities and better support scholars without robust institutional support seem inextricably linked; both reflect ASTR’s fundamental responsibility to address disparity and structural oppression within our field and profession(s), affirmatively and energetically. ASTR certainly isn’t the only organization to take on this responsibility within an atmosphere of lack, in which resources seem ever more scarce; I work within a public, predominantly white institution with its own deep disparities, amid austere budgets and ballooning workloads. I acknowledge the concomitantly difficult and necessary work of equalizing access to the richness ASTR provides—the rigorous discussion and curation of intellectual, artistic, and activist ideas, but also the mutual exchange of discoveries, questions, feelings, and care that attend our togetherness when we meet in conference. Because such important work is accomplished when we gather together, I take seriously our responsibility to shape those gatherings in the interests of justice and in the spirit of community —as ASTR did when it re-imagined its 2018 meeting in support of striking hotel workers. My own work towards these ends is informed by professional development with Urban Bush Women and the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond, and enacted through service to my department’s Committee on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and to UB’s Center for Diversity Innovation, as well as in my pedagogy. Those experiences suggest that in the face of scarcity, one of our greatest assets may be the firm knowledge that we and our field are unquestionably the poorer when the benefits of scholarly community are unavailable to or cost-prohibitive for the more precarious among us, or those whose voices are systematically discouraged by our institutions (and, given the environmental costs of conference travel, we might also consider how the togetherness we value might be constructed with the needs of the earth in mind). Despite the complexity of these questions, I trust that identifying and working from the vibrant strengths of ASTR and its membership is a practice from which effective collaborative strategies can emerge.
Michigan State University
Laura MacDonald is Assistant Professor in the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities at Michigan State University, where she teaches acting, dramaturgy, theatre history, dramatic literature and popular culture studies. Her research focusses on the history of long-running musicals, musical theatre fans, and audience engagement. She is also interested in the circulation of musical theatre throughout Europe and East Asia. With William A. Everett, she edited The Palgrave Handbook of Musical Theatre Producers (2017). Together with Ryan Donovan, they are editing The Routledge Companion to Musical Theatre. Her articles have appeared in Studies in Musical Theatre, Performance Research, The Journal of American Drama and Theatre, New England Theatre Journal and Theatre Research International. Her research has been supported by a British Council Researcher Links Fellowship at Ewha Womans University in Seoul, South Korea and an Arts and Humanities Research Council Fellowship at the Shanghai Theatre Academy in China. With Trevor Boffone and Bryan Vandevender she co-organises Telephone Hour: A Musical Theatre Quarantine Colloquium.
I am currently the International Secretary of the American Theatre and Drama Society and have been appointed to serve on ASTR’s Collaborative Research Award committee. I have previously served as Treasurer of the Historians of the Twentieth Century United States (HOTCUS), Conferences Sub-Committee Chair for the British Association for American Studies (BAAS), and Conference Planner and Focus Group Representative for ATHE’s Music Theatre/Dance Focus Group. This experience would inform my service on the ASTR Executive Committee, and I would bring a particular interest in enhancing ASTR’s support of under-represented communities. Inspired by ASTR’s José Esteban Muñoz Targeted Research Working Sessions, I developed and launched a similar initiative with BAAS to support and promote American Studies research by and about historically marginalised communities, and by scholars without regularised institutional support. As a past recipient of an ASTR Grant for Researchers with Heavy Teaching Loads and a David Keller Travel Grant, I know the impact ASTR recognition and funding can have on the persistence of its precarious and early career members. I would be keen to explore ways of growing this established program of support as well as developing new mechanisms through which to offer more sustained support in order to help vulnerable ASTR members remain active and able to engage with ASTR resources and programming.
As traditional academic conferences increasingly experience erosion, ASTR has an opportunity to evolve and re-imagine how best to foster scholarship. Members’ resilience as they acclimate to online teaching and research networking can inspire the Executive Committee to reflect on how this experience might suggest new pathways for sharing scholarship, facilitating mentorship, and bolstering community. Whether through online working sessions, mentoring hangouts, or micro grants to ensure members without institutional support can continue accessing digital resources and actively engage with a scholarly community online, ASTR has the potential to secure equitable participation and to help its members thrive in a changing academic landscape. It would be my privilege to serve on the Executive Committee and contribute to the innovation required to ensure the organization truly reflects and serves all of its communities.
University of Pittsburgh
I serve as an assistant professor in the Department of Theatre Arts at the University of Pittsburgh, where I am a member of the Graduate Faculty and enjoy affiliated appointments in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies, Cultural Studies, and other interdisciplinary programs. Before joining the faculty at Pitt in 2018, I taught theatre studies at Florida State University’s School of Theatre for two years, and at Brown University, where I received my PhD in 2017. At Pitt, I teach courses in theatre history and performance studies, including the World Theatre History sequence, Queer Studies and Performance, and Introduction to Performance Studies; mentor graduate and undergraduate scholars; and conduct research at the intersection of disability, performance, and U.S. cultural histories of work and welfare. My current book project, Crip Enterprise: Disability Goes to Work in U.S. Performance, draws upon extensive archival research to demonstrate the curious routes through which theatre has shaped the relationship between disability and labor in U.S. politics and culture from the 1950s through the historical present.
ASTR has been my professional home since 2012. I currently serve on the Membership Committee, previously served on the Kahan Scholar’s Prize Committee, and I have participated in Field Conversation panels concerning disability pedagogy and navigating the academic job market. I would be thrilled to serve the field by bringing my previous service experience and my perspectives on labor, graduate education, and disability to ASTR’s Executive Committee. As the Focus Group Representative for ATHE’s Performance Studies Focus Group, for example, I worked with my colleagues to develop a conference travel grant to support contingent faculty. Under my leadership, the Focus Group also revised the vetting process for our Emerging Scholars Panel so that applicants received more robust feedback and mentorship even if they were not selected to participate at the conference.
This represents the kind of work I would hope to do as a member of the Executive Committee: to amplify support for and recognition of the contributions of ASTR’s diverse membership, especially early-career, contingent, and graduate scholars. I would look forward to collaborating with the ASTR leadership in order to support ongoing and new initiatives, such as:
- To support grants to make ASTR’s annual conference more economically accessible to scholars with insufficient institutional support
- To support awards that recognize the research, teaching, and service accomplishments of scholars in contingent positions
- To support awards that recognize achievement in translation
Diversifying Conference Programming
- To include a wider variety of formats that serve members at all career stages and make the conference more accessible
Amplifying the Annual Conference
- To cultivate yearlong local and remote programming that extends the intellectual life of the conference while minimizing economic barriers and environmental impact
I’m excited about the work we do in ASTR and would look forward to serving the membership and the broader field as a member of the Executive Committee. Thank you for your consideration.
New York University
While writing Search Committee guidelines for my Department I became aware of the need for guidelines for procedures. As a leading theatre and performance studies organization, ASTR should serve as a resource for best practices in a number of areas in our field. These may include: onboarding of new faculty, mentoring for full time and part time faculty and graduate and undergraduate students, annual assessment of untenured faculty, effective search committee procedures for a diverse faculty, professional standards for third year reviews and tenure, professional enhancement for teaching faculty, code of behavior for guest artists and teachers, best practices for fully enfranchising individuals and groups from under-represented communities, and best practices for creating generative and collegial work environments. I am also interested in forming a “Membership Matters” Committee that advises ASTR leadership on matters of concern to its members. The committee would report issues brought to it by ASTR members and make recommendations to address those issues.
I am a tenured full professor with extensive experience being a member of and chairing different kinds of committees at all levels of the University including departmental search committees, School committees and the University’s Finance and Policy Planning Committee of the Faculty Senate. I have written many promotion evaluations and I am currently a mentor in my Department. As the Chair of the Finance and Policy Planning Committee at NYU, I urged the administration to share the salary data of different Schools with the Committee and was instrumental in getting Tisch School of the Arts faculty an across the board salary increase.
As a scholar I have published extensively about theatre of the real, edited three books, and guest edited three special issues of TDR. My scholarship has been translated into French, Polish, Japanese, Chinese, Romanian, and Turkish. I was a part of “Spotlight Japan” which paired Japanese playwrights with NYC theatre companies to create a series of performances of new works. I am the General Editor of “In Performance” a book series devoted to international plays and performance texts in translation.
I have been awarded a Visiting Professor Fellowship at Tokyo University, Komaba Graduate School of Arts and Science, two Fulbright awards, an NEH, a Mellon, a De La Torre Bueno Special Citation for Dance Marathons, Best Issue of the Year by the Professional/Scholarly Publishing Division of the Association of American Publishers, and travel and research grants from the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, Trust for Mutual Understanding, and Tisch School of the Arts. For the past 9 years I have also taught at NYU Abu Dhabi which has an international student body from the Middle East, South and East Asia, Europe, Africa and North and South America.
My name is Bess Rowen and I am a Visiting Assistant Professor at Villanova University who is running for election to a leadership position on the Executive Committee of ASTR. I have held several positions within ASTR, beginning with my election to the Graduate Student Council as the Committee on Conferences representative which then led to my inclusion on the Annual Conference Committee for 2016 Conference. The year’s theme of “Trans-” was full of very exciting programming, but the conference only contained two working sessions that explicitly dealt with transgender identities and performance (one of which I co-convened). I have long admired the way that ASTR participants creatively respond to the themes to reveal the interconnected pathways that branch off of a given topic, and yet I could not help but notice that the two working sessions were composed entirely of graduate students. Although this is exciting, it also created a notion that some more experienced scholars had chosen to resist the full potential of the theme. Although I am no longer a graduate student, the memory of this perceived distance between ASTR members at various stages of their careers is near to me as I run for this position. I am lucky enough to be in the middle of a three year long visiting position, which gives me enough stability to take on such service while still understanding the realities of juggling a four-four course load with conferencing. I want to represent this viewpoint.
In addition to my work with ASTR, I have conference planning experience from serving on the committees that planned both NYU’s The Affect Factory conference and Villanova’s own Philadelphia Theatre Research Symposium (co-sponsored by ATDS). Part of any conference participation is always a question of funding, and I believe that there should be a greater eye towards programs such as the Josè Esteban Muñoz Targeted Research Working Session. This was an excellent first step to truly supporting scholars who might not otherwise be able to attend and share ideas that improve the field as a whole. Perhaps we could support more targeted travel grants for scholars from under-represented groups, specifically graduate students or adjunct faculty who might not have adequate institutional support. We must support junior scholars early and often so that we can foster the environment of scholarly exchange that is so much a part of ASTR’s legacy. I am also eager to look for new ways of increasing the consistency of the working sessions’ quality. The wide array of approaches to this particular format is often a strength, but a poorly managed working session with little feedback or engagement with a participant’s work has been an oft-repeated excuse to avoid returning to ASTR. I believe that eliciting more feedback from participants on the specifics of their working sessions can result in a more effective working session proposal form. I am eager to bring new ideas to the table and also to learn from the Executive Committee members who already serve ASTR so well.
Lawrence D. Smith
University of Arkansas at Little Rock
I am an assistant professor in the Department of Theatre Arts and Dance at UA Little Rock, where I have recently been awarded tenure. I have been a member of ASTR since 2009, attending my first ASTR conference while in graduate school, and participating in seven conferences, overall, most recently as co-convener for the “Casting as Public Practice: Representation, Identity, and Agency” working group last November. My research interests include intermediality and cognitive studies, though these have been deeply informed by my work at UA Little Rock, where I have sought to integrate research, teaching, and service through a number of special topics course offerings and research-and-performance projects.
My work at UA Little Rock is guided by our mission toward social equity and representation for historically underserved communities through educational opportunities. In addition to teaching and mentoring, this has included college level service on the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee; university level service on the Undergraduate Curriculum Council, Faculty Senate, and as co-chair of the Student Research and Creative Works Committee; as associate faculty with the Anderson Institute on Race and Ethnicity; and through my participation in the Feminist Research Collective and the Gender Studies Program. My practical experience in production and collaboration has informed my approach to mounting large-scale, academic events such as our annual Student Research and Creative Works Expo, which includes work by graduate and undergraduate students.
I have also engaged in numerous outreach projects tied to our departmental programming, specifically interdisciplinary pre-show panels for productions including An Octoroon, Detroit ’67, Elliot: A Soldier’s Fugue, Hir, and Bootycandy, and volunteer activities such as the Education in Justice Project at the Danville Correctional Center, and service learning projects with El Zócalo Immigration Resource Center in Little Rock. I believe this breadth of experience will be a sound basis for the duties and workload of a member on the Executive Committee.
ASTR has been invaluable to me since 2009 when I attended my first conference as a graduate student. As I transitioned from a non-traditional doctoral candidate at a “public ivy” to a Ph. D. working as a visiting lecturer and, then, a junior faculty member in a tenure track position at a metropolitan public university in the American South, the challenges I encountered seldom seemed to map onto the priorities and emphases within my graduate program nor with those of this organization. Nevertheless, through attending ASTR and other conferences, I have encountered numerous colleagues who grapple with similar challenges in terms of bridging or, better, integrating the missions of their institutions, especially with respect to their students, with their research agendas. Like myself, many of us work as both research scholars and practitioners, striving to realize the best potentials of both through projects that are relevant to our students and that also will reach the communities that our institutions are designed to serve. Articulating that work for the purposes of publication is often a challenge in terms of methodology, time, and resources.
While my experience to date has been more as a mentor than as an administrator, I would offer that a streamlined application process for mini-grants, aligned with the goal of broad recruitment, and backed up by active communication strategy, is crucial to expanding the scope of offerings within the annual conference. I would also suggest that ASTR explore promoting attendance at the conference by upper level undergraduate students with the goal of expanding awareness of the potentials within our field and to de-mystify what graduate research is all about. I would like to help facilitate this sort of work, and the processes needed to foster it, as a member of the Executive Committee.
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Graduate Student Caucus President and Representative to the Executive Committee (vote for 1)
Lindsey R. Barr
University of Maryland
Lindsey R. Barr is the current Vice President and Representative to the Committee on Conferences for the GSC. As the current Administrator for the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas (LMDA), Lindsey has experience in working with large committees across disciplines in planning conferences and executing programmatic goals. As the Administrator, Lindsey is the representative for the LMDA membership, ensuring that concerns from the membership or executive decisions affecting them are clearly articulated and communicated. Having served as the VP for the GSC, Lindsey has used these skills to support the advancement of GSC programs, such as the Emerging Scholars panel and syllabus data bank currently being discussed and organized between the GSC committee. Lindsey finds the connection between the graduate student community and the larger ASTR conference as a whole to be crucial for the success of both and wants to be actively involved in shaping the future therein. Interested in serving as the through line between the GSC and the Executive Committee she brings a breadth of experience, allowing for her to serve the organization, bringing in her extensive knowledge in conference planning and arts management.
University of Texas at Austin
Alexis is a PhD Candidate in the Performance as Public Practice program at the University of Texas at Austin, where she studies performance and mental disability. She received an MA in Theatre from Bowling Green State University and a BA in Theatre and Dance from Rollins College. Alexis has presented at numerous academic conferences, including the American Society for Theatre Research (ASTR), the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) and the Mid-America Theatre Conference (MATC), and has published her research in Theatre Topics and The International Review of Qualitative Research. As a Vice President for the ASTR Graduate Student Caucus and Graduate Student Representative to the Conference Committee, Alexis currently works with the 2020 Conference Committee to advance graduate student concerns while developing new programming initiatives.
If honored to serve as GSC President, Alexis would draw on her research in critical (dis)ability studies to spearhead accessibility and inclusion initiatives within the GSC and ASTR. Specifically, she is eager to continue efforts to make annual conferences more accessible to our diverse membership by developing and enhancing accessible spaces (quiet rooms, child-friendly spaces, gender-neutral restrooms), circulating advanced information regarding the conference (dietary options, restroom features), and advocating for programming that addresses accessibility concerns particular to graduate students entering the field (job security, graduate student mental health). Moreover, Alexis hopes to extend the GSC’s presence beyond the physical conference by continuing the development of GSC-sponsored open-access resources for graduate instructors, livestreaming specific GSC conference events to include those unable to travel, and holding monthly “office hours” to better serve members.
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