Research

Research

My interdisciplinary research is situated at the intersection of four academic fields: theatre studies, performance studies, disability studies, and mad studies. Specifically, I focus on the performativity of mental disability and its representation in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Through a combination of performance analysis, historical research, and practice-based methodologies, I explore cultural responses to bodymind difference in a variety of settings, including the theatre, the clinic, and the classroom:

  • In the theatre, I analyze live performance. I observe how artists reproduce specific gestures, vocalizations, or movements when portraying mental disability and distress, and assess how such representations reflect or refute ableist beliefs.
  • In the clinic, I evaluate archival documents. I identify the use of distinctly theatrical concepts within psychiatric literature, and trace the ways these concepts morphs in tandem with changing aesthetic preferences.
  • In the classroom, I survey a variety of teaching methods. I draw on theories from theatre studies and disability studies to develop strategies for accessible pedagogy, deploying drama-based activities as a means to foster diversity and inclusion.

I share this research in publications, presentations, workshops, and performances. My most recent creative-critical pieces, kin • song: ode to disability ancestors and The Mad Maps Project, can be accessed via the “Creative Work” menu above.

Below, you will find a list of my most recent publications and presentations. I also post links to access copies for a short time following presentations. For a full list, or if you’d like to request an access copy that is no longer available via this page, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Current Projects
  • Patient Acts: Performance, Disability, and the Making of Mad Memory, a dissertation investigating memorial performances created by survivors, artists, and clinicians at Oregon State Hospital (1883-present), one of the oldest continuously-operating psychiatric institutions in the United States. Forthcoming, May 2022.

    This project is produced through generous support from the American Theatre and Drama Society (ATDS) and a year-long fellowship from The Charlotte W. Newcombe Foundation and The Institute for Citizens and Scholars (formerly The Woodrow Wilson Foundation).
  • Performing the Mad Past: Criticism as Historiography in Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, a book chapter exploring the critical reception Steppenwolf Theatre’s 2000 touring production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Throughout, I position performance criticism as a method for writing and evaluating the history of madness and its treatment. Forthcoming, 2022.
Recent Publications
  • “Contesting the Clinic: Shifting Performatives on the Bipolar Spectrum,” International Review of Qualitative Research 12.2 (2019): 132-46. Print.
  • “Notes from the Field: Loving Cohorts: Tending to the Graduate Student Body,” co-authored with Michael J. Love, siri gurudev, Kristin Perkins, and Mason Rosenthal. Theatre Topics 29.2 (2019): 169-176. Print.
Access Copies for Recent Presentations