Current Students

Adekemi AdeyemiAdekemi Adeyemi

Kemi Adeyemi’s dissertation explores how blackness is articulated in Chicago’s gentrifying landscapes where black music and sound are integral to the cultural experience of “urban renewal,” particularly within hipster culture, even as black people are few and far between. This ethnographic project follows a small population of black so-called hipsters who circulate in the queer dance party scene of a gentrifying neighborhood and details how micropractices of gesture, clothing, dance and affect animate racialized expectations and assumptions of both “hipster” and “black.”  In the process, Kemi’s project explores how racialized ways of seeing the city impact ways of being in the city, and vice versa.

Misty De BerryMisty De Berry

Misty Michael De Berry is a theatre and performance artist who is interested in embodiments of power, authority and desire within pedagogical and other socially transformative processes. She is especially interested in queer and gender nonconforming artists-activists-scholars of color who are engaged in processes of healing from sexual, spiritual and other forms of systemic violence and oppression. Her research interests include Restorative Justice Frameworks, Transformative Pedagogies, Transnational Feminisms, Feminists Psychoanalytics, Somatic Psychology, Queer Studies, Black Sexualities, Spiritualism, Folk Healing, Ritual and the Americas.

Andrew James BrownAndrew James Brown

Research: queer memory practices in diaspora, genocide, and refugee conditions; re-emergence and resilencing in commemoration, musealization, and monument building.
Performance: exploring the line of appropriation in theories of epic memory and the ability to remember what belongs to another time, space, and identity.

Ivan BujanIvan Bujan

Ivan works on a project with two key aspects: (1) the role of pharmaceutical technologies in queer subject formation during and after the AIDS crisis and (2) the intergenerational affective exchanges informed by the crisis and ongoing stigmatization of people living with HIV/AIDS. Dealing with these aspects will allow for meditating upon cultural and political ways of de-stigmatizing HIV-positivity, whereas both pharmacy and the haunting of the pre-crisis promiscous cultures assist in rethinking queer performativity. Ivan’s desire is to open up a space for the intergenerational dialogues that will reflect how moments of the past inform queer world-making and belonging today.

Hilary CoopermanHilary Cooperman


Colleen DaniherColleen Daniher

Research Interests: Mixed-race cultural production and performance in everyday life; racial epistemologies (especially "post-race" rhetoric); affect and identity.

Meiver De la Cruz Meiver De la Cruz

Research Interests: Dance studies, queer theory, marxist feminism, globalization studies, ethnic/American studies, circulation of cultural practices, diasporic performance, intersections of race, gender, sexuality, and political economy.

Eddie GamboaEddie Gamboa

Eddie Gamboa is interested in the performative history of queer identities and sexual practices in relation to border rhetorics. Of particular interest are developing digital performance technologies which enable new patterns of community formation and individual mobility, while paying attention to the ethics of documenting groups which have historically maintained their agency through by relying on the ephemerality of their performances.

Roy Gomez-CruzRoy Gomez-Cruz

Interests: Contemporary circus as a multidimensional performance space where varied forms of circus tradition and popular culture are being reinterpreted for global audience’s consumption. The politics of labor practices in the itinerant circus. Aesthetic in circus and the connotations of transgression, grotesquery and bestiality historically associated with traditional circuses.

Mario LaMotheMario LaMothe

Mario’s dissertation project explores the process by which Haitian creative practitioners (dis)articulate facets of Haitianness. He illustrates this by demonstrating how Franco-Haitian singer Toto Bissainthe (1934–1994), Haitian-American novelist Edwidge Danticat (b. 1969), and Haitian choreographer Jean-René Delsoin represent the folk in music, dance, spoken word, literature, and visual arts. He specifically investigates the ways in which they question images of the folk as the "ethnic" Haitian body that has been metonymic of these remembering expressive practices.

Rae Ann LangesRae Langes

Rae’s research examines how queer and transgender performance artists utilize tropes of monstrosity to reflect/resist/refigure constructions of gender, sexuality, race, and national belonging in twenty-first century United States. Areas of study include queer performance, transgender studies, queer theory, critical race studies, affect theory, monster studies, feminist theory.

Margaret LebronMargaret Lebron

Research interests: performances of patriotism and national identity in the United States, affective and embodied formations of patriotic collectives, disciplining structures of military training as identity formation.

Scott LeydonScott Leydon

Scott Leydon is interested in the enforcement, performance, and reformulation of sexual, gendered, raced, and classed identities and relations in settler colonial contexts. Specific research interests include queer of color and queer indigenous theory and criticism; contemporary performance and visual culture; and fictocriticism and performative writing. Scott Leydon is interested in the enforcement, performance, and reformulation of sexual, gendered, raced, and classed identities and relations in settler colonial contexts. Specific research interests include queer of color and queer indigenous theory and criticism; contemporary performance and visual culture; and fictocriticism and performative writing.

Jonathan MagatJonathan Magat

Jonathan's research interests include queer, critical race, and feminist theories; Filipino and Filipino/American studies; politics of desire; and visual culture.

Jasmine MahmoudJasmine Mahmoud

Research interests: Political economy of theater and performance landscapes; arts policy; dialogue among cultural histories and normative historical narratives.

Andreea Micu

Andreea's current research project focuses on Muslim and Arab American stand-up comedians post 9/11 and examines the ways in which they employ humor to engage current stereotypes about Muslims and Arabs circulating in American society. This projects looks specifically at comedy and activism and explores the potential of stand-up comedy to invert and comment upon hegemonic discourses of Islamophobia. Andreea received her B.A. in Journalism and Communication in 2003 from the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid in Spain. She received her M.A. in Performance Studies from Texas A&M University. 

Didier MorelliDidier Morelli

Didier Morelli is an interdisciplinary artist and scholar who combines practice and research in both his academic and performative explorations. He seeks to develop a framework for examining and comprehending movement/action-based performance in the everyday context. A particular concern is the relationship of the human body to the prescriptive and regulatory built forms that surround it. Gestures such as repetition, energy created through motion, and friction against materials, are crucial in his goal to develop a practice-based understanding of transgressive actions in public and private environments. His research interests include the history of performance and conceptual art, spatial and architectural theory, institutional critique, pedagogy within the arts, as well as athletics and the culture of sport.

Mbongeni MtshaliMbongeni Mtshali

A contemporary dance and physical theatre performer and choreographer, Mbongeni is also an actor, director, designer and puppeteer, and is particularly interested in site-specific multimedia performance art works.  His research focusses on postcolonial black modernities, the politics of intimacy, affect and belonging, and the spatial modalities of race, ethnicity, gender and class in post-apartheid South Africa.

Patricia Nguyen

Research Interests: concepts of freedom and development, political economy, home and healing in diasporic oral histories and performances, black feminisms, postcolonial feminisms, critical performance ethnography, social justice and human rights.   

Shoniqua RoachShoniqua Roach

Research Interests: Black Performance Theory, Black Feminisms, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Visual Culture, Media and Popular Culture.

Ashlie SandovalAshlie Sandoval

Research interests include: queer activism, critical utopianism, narrative and queer world-making, and theories of the commons.

Kantara SouffrantKantara Souffrant


Leila Tayeb

Leila's research centers on the constitution of gendered identities and structures via music in 2011-2012 revolutionary Libya. Areas of interest include phenomenology, dance studies, feminist and queer theory, diaspora and "return." 

Rhaisa WilliamsRhaisa Williams

Rhaisa research interests include: black women's travel; deviancy; politics of respectability; alternative space making practices; destabilizing "home" and "motherhood;" oral history performance.

Nikki YeboahNikki Yeboah

Nikki Yeboah's dissertation engages Sankofa as a creative practice that has been critical to the national imaginary of Ghana in the post-colonial moment. She focuses on the uptake of Sankofa in Ghana's national theatre movement since 1954. Her dissertation pays particular attention to the role of Sankofa in the work of Efua Sutherland, noted as the "mother" of Ghanaian theatre. Other research interests include: African-American repatriates, oral history, diaspora studies, and performance ethnography.

Soo Ryon YoonSoo Ryon Yoon

Soo Ryon’s current research interests are in the intersectionality of nationalism, political economy, race (with particular attention to the concept of “blackness” circulating in AfroAsian context), and gender in South Korea, and its manifestation through performance including dance practices in the era of globalization. She sees performance as a site where South Korea’s nationhood and its ideology are manifested, revealed, and contested. Before coming to Northwestern University, she was an administrative manager and curator for Seoul International Dance Festival among other performing arts festivals inSouth Korea. Soo Ryon has also worked closely as an activist, coordinator, and freelance translator with South Korean feminist NGOs including Unninetwork. 

Mlonolozi ZondiMlonolozi Zondi

Research areas include Contemporary African Dance, Black queer studies, Black consciousness, performance activism, critical race theory, postcolonial theory, Afropessimism, feminist theory, critical pedagogy. MFA Dance - University of California, Irvine; BA (Hons) Drama and Performance Studies ­ University of Kwa-Zulu Natal (Pietermaritzburg)

Justin ZulloJustin Zullo

Justin is a sound designer, percussionist, and hip hop music producer interested in the correlations of art, activism and identity.  His research focuses on community-based performance as radical pedagogy, and the performance of protest in the DREAM Act movement.