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Lisa Merrill

Professor of Writing Studies and Rhetoric


Degrees

PHD, 1985, New York Univ (NYU); MA, 1977, New York Univ (NYU); BA, 1976, CUNY City Coll


Bio

Professor Merrill's ongoing research and publications are in the fields of performance studies, critical race and cultural studies, American studies, and women's and LGBTQ history. Her critical biography, When Romeo was a Woman: Charlotte Cushman and her Circle of Female Spectators (U of Michigan Press, 2000) was awarded the Joe A. Callaway Prize for Best Book on Drama or Theater. She has recently been awarded the Oscar G. Brockett Essay Prize from the American Society for Theatre Research and the Oscar G. Brockett Center for Theatre History and Criticism at the University of Texas-Austin for "Most Fitting Companions: Making Mixed-Race Bodies Visible in Antebellum Public Spaces," published in Theatre Survey, May 2015.  

Professor Merrill was awarded the Eccles Centre Visiting Professorship in North American Studies at the British Library for 2010-2011: "Performing Race and Reading Antebellum American Bodies." She also received a 2002-2003 National Endowment for the Humanities senior faculty research fellowship. 

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 IBAR, the Institute for Black Atlantic Research, UCLAN, Preston England, where she was a visiting scholar in 2016. She has published widely in the US and UK, most recently in the journal Slavery and Abolition, 2016, vol. 37, no.3: "Amalgamation, Moral Geography and 'Slum Tourism': Irish and African Americans Sharing Space on the Streets and Stages of Antebellum NY."

At Hofstra, Dr. Merrill teaches courses in Performing History, Performance Art, Nonverbal Communication, Performing for Social Change, Dramatic Activities in Educational and Therapeutic Settings, and Women's Studies, among others. During each of the three presidential debates held at Hofstra University (2008, 2012, 2016) she has staged public historical performance re-enactments as a form of Democracy in Performance. Professor Merrill is a member of Hofstra's Digital Research Center.


Teaching Interests

performance and social change, historical reenactments, performing literature, performance art, performance and healing,nonverbal communication, women's and gender studies, drama therapy,

Research Interests

performance history, critical race studies, gender studies, 19th century Black, diaspora, and women's history, memorialization, LGBTQ+ cultural studies, abolition movements

Recent Courses Taught

Course Title Level
LGBT 180T (IS) CROSSDRESSING & PASSING Undergraduate
PPPS 162 INTERNSHIP IN PPPS Undergraduate
RHET 009 INTRO TO PERFOMANCE STUDIES Undergraduate
RHET 024 READERS THEATER Undergraduate
RHET 033 NONVRBL COMM IN HMN INTRCTN Undergraduate
RHET 129 PERFORMING HISTORY Undergraduate
WST 150Q (IS) CROSS-DRESSING & PASSING Undergraduate
WST 198 INDEPENDENT STUDY IN WST Undergraduate
Photo of Lisa Merrill

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