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.

Tarek Adam BenchouiaTarek Adam Benchouia
Tarek's research project is an ethnographic study that explores the culture and politics of Mahraganat, a contemporary and emergent genre of music in Egypt. His areas of research include: Middle Eastern and North African studies, ethnomusicology, women and gender studies, cultural anthropology, and sound studies. Specific research interests include: Arab masculinities, critical performance ethnography, listening as public performance, the politics of desire and belonging, and affect and non-representational theory. Tarek received his BA in government and Arabic and his MA in Middle Eastern studies from the University of Texas at Austin.

Mayfield BrooksMayfield Brooks
Mayfield Brooks is a cultural worker and movement-based performance artist who studied contemporary dance at the School for New Dance in Amsterdam, danced with SF Aerial Dance Company, Fly Away Productions, and recently completed an MFA in Theater and Dance in 2014. After escaping the east coast for many years, Mayfield has returned to NYC at the behest of the ancestors and is most curious about intersectional politics, cultural organizing, gender fuck, ancestral memory, dancing flesh, and shapeshifting improvisation.

Artemisa ClarkArtemisa Clark
Artemisa Clark is a performance artist whose research interests include trauma studies, Latinx studies, embodied and critical pedagogies, diasporic performance, intersections/formations of collective and individual memory, postcolonial feminism, performances of knowledge/excellence, alternative documentary methods, queer studies, affect studies, and surveillance. She received her MFA in Visual Arts from the University of California, San Diego in 2015.

Misty De BerryMisty De Berry
Misty De Berry is a mixed-media installation and performance-artist. Her original solo-play Milkweed is published in solo/black/woman: Scripts, Interviews, Essays and excerpts from her latest performance work, little sister, can be found in E-Misférica “12.1 Caribbean Rasanblaj”. De Berry’s research emerges across the fields of phenomenology and affect theory; feminist theory/practice; contemporary art and visual studies; critical theory; black performance theory and black critical thought. Her dissertation examines performances of socially engaged art practices that are taken up by Black women and women of color in the US from the turn of the 21st century during the recent expansion of the prison industrial complex. Situating these practices as emblematic of a Black feminist avant-garde tradition, De Berry is concerned with aesthetic uses of duration as strategies for interrupting habituated modes of everyday hostility directed towards Black women. Understanding these ‘everyday hostilities’ as developing over various temporal constructions and characteristic of larger overlapping systems of violence, she studies performances of everyday gesture asking how is time felt, embodied and materialized differently at the intersections of prison-nation subjectivities? How may embodied experiences of duration engender a liminal space for new modes of being to emerge? To contact De Berry, please email her at

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.

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.

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
Ashlie Sandoval’s research lies at the intersections of contemporary art, performance studies, Marxist theory, and continental philosophy. Her research and teaching interests include socially-engaged art, urban design, critical theory, communist aesthetics, phenomenology, feminist and queer theory. Her dissertation specially explores how contemporary urban art interventions are deployed to critique neoliberal spatial policies and practices that structure city spaces to service a wealthy minority at the expense of marginalized communities. She examines how these interventions through proposing new uses, forms, and circulations for space, architecture, and bodies might allow for a commons to manifest. At the same time, her project explores how these urban art interventions are subject to commodification and appropriation by private and public actors that frequently redeploy aspects of these artistic interventions for capitalist ends. She is currently occupied with the relationship between “perception” and “capability” as it relates to aesthetic form; the concurrent evolution of defensive architecture and tactical urbanism; and the role of “use” in art and architecture.

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."

Chaunesti WebbChaunesti Webb
Chaunesti Webb is an interdisciplinary theater artist with a background in contemplative approaches to creating performance, combining somatic techniques, mindfulness practices, psychophysical acting and extended voice techniques. She is interested in exploring the intersections of performance and mindfulness in communities of color, community development, cultural studies, contemporary performance practices, experimental theater, movement studies, ritual and activism.

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.