Interview with Joseph Roach: What is Performance Studies? (2007)

Interview with Joseph Roach: What is Performance Studies? (2007) HIDVL

Interview with Joseph Roach, 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.


Joseph Roach is Sterling Professor of Theatre and English and Director of the Theater Studies Program at Yale University. Professor Roach has chaired the Department of Performing Arts at Washington University in St. Louis, the Interdisciplinary PhD in Theatre at Northwestern University, and the Department of Performance Studies at New York University. He has served as Director of Graduate Studies in English and as Chair of the Theater Studies Advisory Committee at Yale. His most recent book is It (University of Michigan Press 2007) presents a study of charismatic celebrity. His other books and articles include Cities of the Dead: Circum-Atlantic Performance (Columbia University Press 1996), The Player's Passion: Studies in the Science of Acting (University of Michigan Press 1993), and essays in Theatre Journal, Theatre Survey, The Drama Review, Theatre History Studies, Discourse, Theater, Text and Performance Quarterly, among others. Professor Roach holds a B.A. from the University of Kansas, an M.A. from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, and a Ph.D. from Cornell University.

Professor Roach's many honors include a Senior Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities and a Lifetime Distinguished Scholar Award from the American Society for Theatre Research. In 2006, he won a Distinguished Achievement Award from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to create Yale's research program in “World Performance.” In 2009, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters from the University of Warwick (UK) and the Fletcher Jones Distinguished Fellowship from the Huntington Library. A foremost theater historian and pioneer in the development of performance studies methods and research, his research negotiates the Circum-Atlantic, the threshold between life and death, the relationships between religion, ritual, performance, and daily life, and the way in which history “isn't over yet.”


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Additional Info

  • TItle: Joseph Roach: What is Performance Studies?
  • Date: 10 Nov 2007
  • Location: The Hemispheric Institute, New York, New York.
  • Interviewee: Joseph Roach
  • Interviewer: Diana Taylor
  • Duration: 00:12:44
  • Language: English