Interview with Tracy Davis, conducted by Diana Taylor, founding director of the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics. This interview is a part of a series curated by the Hemispheric Institute, articulated around the question 'What is Performance Studies?' The series aims to provide a multifaceted approach to the often difficult task of defining the coordinates of both a field of academic study as well as a lens through which to assess and document cultural practice and embodied behavior. The contingent definitions documented in this series are based on the groundbreaking experiences and the scholarly endeavors of renowned figures in contemporary performance studies and practice.
Tracy C. Davis is a specialist in performance theory, theatre historiography, and research methodology. She holds a Doctoral degree in Theatre Studies from the University of Warwick and she is currently Director of the Interdisciplinary PhD in Theatre and Drama at Northwestern University and President of the American Society for Theatre Research. A feminist theater historian, her areas of interest include nineteenth century British theater history, gender and theater, economics and business history of theater, performance theory, research methodology, museum studies, and Cold War studies.
Professor Davis's most recent books are The Cambridge Companion to Performance Studies (Cambridge University Press 2008), Stages of Emergency: Cold War Nuclear Civil Defense (Duke 2007), The Performing Century: Nineteenth-Century Theatre's History, co-edited with Peter Holland (Palgrave 2008), and Considering Calamity: Methods for Performance Research, co-edited with Linda Ben-Zvi (Assaph 2007). She has also authored Actresses as Working Women: Their Society Identity in Victorian Culture (Routledge 1991), George Bernard Shaw and the Socialist Theatre (Praeger 1994), and The Economics of the British Stage (Cambridge University Press 2000), and co-edited Women and Playwrighting in Nineteenth-Century Britain (with Ellen Donkin, 1999), and Theatricality (with Thomas Postlewait, 2004). She is also working on her forthcoming book: The Broadview Anthology of Nineteenth-Century British Performance (Broadview Press, 2011). Professor Davis edits the book series Cambridge Studies in Theatre and Performance Theory and she is part of the Board of Directors for Performance Studies International. Among many honors, she received the Stanley J. Kahrl Fellowship in Theatre History, Houghton Library (Harvard) in 2008, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellow, Huntington Library in 2009.