Academic Research, Writing & Teaching

 A lioness and her captive audience. Photo by Gowri Vijayakumar.

A lioness and her captive audience. Photo by Gowri Vijayakumar.

My research is concerned with questions of performance, political violence and the figure of the animal. I work mostly on Eastern Africa, though sometimes my comparativist training draws my attention elsewhere. My current book project, entitled The Animal Subaltern: Performing Race and Species in Africa, explores the ways in which racialized animal figures structure both the politics of performance and the performance of politics in Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia from the 1910s to the present. I am also working to translate the complete plays of Tanzanian dramatist Ebrahim Hussein from Swahili into English. If all goes according to plan, a critical edition of these plays will appear in 2020.

My academic and critical writing has appeared in ASTR OnlineTheatre JournalThe Johannesburg SalonTheatre Survey and Performance Research. Please see my academia.edu page for more information and PDFs.

 In rehearsal with student actors. Photo by  Alessandra Mello,  courtesy of TDPS.

In rehearsal with student actors. Photo by Alessandra Mello, courtesy of TDPS.

I am currently an Assistant Professor Faculty Fellow in the Drama Department at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where I teach courses in theatre studies, dramatic literature, theatre history, critical theory and animal studies. From 2016 to 2018, I served as a Preceptor of Expository Writing at Harvard University, where I taught freshmen writing seminars, including a course of my own design on black autobiography. Before that, I laid the groundwork for my teaching career as a PhD student in Performance Studies at U.C. Berkeley, where I taught courses in new play development, race and ethnicity in U.S. dramatic literature, and acting technique.

Images below (and on the main page), from left to right: Kokomo Jr., the "talking chimpanzee" who appeared on The Tonight Show and other television programs in the 1950s, © Getty Images; an (as far as I know) anonymous ape who features in many illustrations of the Infinite Monkey Theorem; and a dapper chimpanzee, likely named Consul, in a turn-of-the-century photograph © Hulton Archive / Getty Images.