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Harvey Young Jr., theatre

Harvey Young Jr. is a busy man, but he thinks that his busy career reflects how much he wants to bring to his classroom—and how busy his students are, too.

Young is the author of more than a dozen articles and two dozen reviews/essays on black theatre and performance. He published his first book, Embodying Black Experience: Stillness, Critical Memory, and the Black Body (University of Michigan Press) in 2010, co-edited an anthology, Performance in the Borderlands (Palgrave Macmillan) in 2011, and has the next few years mapped out. He’s traveling in support of his published works while also putting together a new anthology of plays relating to neighborhood integration (including Clybourne Park, a play by Northwestern alumnus Bruce Norris) for 2012, editing The Cambridge Companion to African American Theatre for 2013, and writing two books related to the history of theatre in Chicago.

"Much like Northwestern students, I am staying busy," Young said.

One thing that has Young’s attention: the new module system in the school and, in particular, The Theatre and Performance in the Americas module. "The module is a university-wide but School of Communication-administered collection of courses, co-curricular events (speakers, seminars, symposia), and extracurricular activities that introduce students to the rich history and the broad range of theatrical and performance styles within our hemisphere," he said. "It provides an opportunity to consider the flow of culture throughout the ‘Americas’ and the Caribbean."

A big project—but Young gets his energy from his students.

"Northwestern students are inspiring—in their creativity, positive energy, and desire (and ability) to create community," he said. "They produce, direct, design, and star in nearly 60 fully realized theatrical productions on campus every year; raise nearly a million dollars to support a local charity, simply by dancing, every year; and win prestigious national fellowships and competitive university grants to see the world, study abroad, and return to campus to share their discoveries every year. Students enter with so much potential and promise that, as a professor, you want to invest yourself in them and help them to succeed."

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Harvey Young Jr. is an associate professor in the Department of Theatre at the School of Communication at Northwestern University.