Professor of Rhetoric
Degrees: PHD, 1985, New York Univ; MA, 1977, New York Univ; BA, 1976, CUNY City Coll
Lisa Merrill, Professor, Department of Speech Communication, Rhetoric & Performance Studies, (Ph.D., New York University), teaches courses in performance studies, gender and intercultural communication, nonverbal communication, public address, dramatic activities in educational and therapeutic settings, cultural and performance history, and women's studies.
Dr. Merrill's ongoing research and publications are in the fields of performance studies, American studies, critical race and cultural studies, and women's and gay and lesbian history. She has published widely on the performance of gender, race, and sexuality in historical and contemporary cultural settings. Dr. Merrill's critical biography of 19th-century actress Charlotte Cushman, When Romeo was a Woman: Charlotte Cushman and Her Circle of Female Spectators (University of Michigan Press, 1999, 2000pbk), was awarded the 2000 Joe A. Callaway Prize for Best Book in Theatre or Drama by an American author. Her text, The Power to Communicate: Gender Differences as Barriers (co-authored with Deborah Borisoff) (Waveland Press, 1985, 1991, 1998), was an early investigation of research on gender and communication. Dr. Merrill has explored the interdisciplinary connections between communication, language, gender and power in her anthology, Untying the Tongue: Power, Gender and the Word (co-edited with Linda Longmire) (Greenwood Press, 1998). In addition to publishing over a dozen book chapters and articles in scholarly journals, Dr. Merrill serves on the editorial boards for the Journal of Comparative American Studies, Text and Performance Studies, and the University of Edinburgh Press. Dr. Merrill served as President, Women's Theatre Program (WTP) of the Association for Theatre and Higher Education, August 2004- August 2006. Dr. Merrill is also a registered drama therapist.
Professor Merrill's research has been widely recognized. She has been an invited Visiting Professor at Northwestern University (2002). She received the National Endowment for the Humanities senior faculty research fellowship, (2002-2003); received the Lilla A. Heston Award for Outstanding Scholarship in Interpretation and Performance Studies, from the National Communication Association (2002), was awarded a Visiting Scholar Fellowship, Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge University, (Spring 2003); was awarded a Visiting Fellowship, Institute for Advanced Study, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia, (Spring 2005); and was invited to deliver the endowed Wallace A. Bacon Memorial Lecture in Performance Studies, Northwestern University (2009) on her current work on nineteenth century performances of race. (pr and photo available through link) http://www.communication.northwestern.edu/departments/performancestudies/news/newsletter/Fall_09.pdf
In 2010, Dr. Merrill's talks and appearances in Britain on nineteenth century performances of race in the abolition movement and onstage were sponsored, in part by Centre for the Study of International Slavery, Liverpool, England.
Most recently, Professor Merrill has been awarded the Eccles Centre Visiting Professorship in North American Studies at the British Library for 2010-2011 by the British Association for American Studies for her current research project: "Performing Race and Reading Antebellum American Bodies."