Department Grads & Faculty Win Four Awards at National Conference

We are happy to announce four awards won by graduate students and faculty and the American Society for Theatre Research national conference, held November 7-10 in Dallas, TX.

Ariel Nereson was awarded the Gerald Kahan Scholar’s Prize and the Helen Krich Chinoy Dissertation Fellowship.  Deirdre O’Rourke was awarded the Thomas Marshall Student Awards, and Dr. Lisa Jackson-Schebetta was awarded the ASTR Collaborative Research Award in conjunction with Dr. Jeanmarie Higgins of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.


Ariel Nereson, PhD candidate, was awarded the 2013 Gerald Kahan Scholar’s Prize for her recent article, “Queens ‘Campin’’ Onstage: Performing Queerness in Mae West’s ‘Gay Plays,’” published in Theatre Journal Vol 64, No.4, December 2012. 513-532 (edited by Penny Farfan).  The Kahan award is given to the year's best English-language theatre research essay published in a refereed scholarly journal by an untenured, early-career scholar.

Dr. Barry Witham, emeritus professor at the University of Washington, presented the award.  “Nereson’s scholarship makes a significant contributions across theatre history, cognitive science, and queer theory,” he said.

Ariel was also awarded one of three Helen Krich Chinoy Dissertation Fellowships for her work on the role of emotion in meaning-making processes in the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company repertory.  The Chinoy award supports travel to national and international collections for dissertation research.

Ariel Nereson, the department’s current Mellon Fellow, is the only member of the society to have received both awards in the same year.


Deirdre O’Rourke, PhD candidate, received one of three Thomas Marshall Student Awards.  The Marshall award funds graduate student attendance at the conference.  In Dallas Deirdre presented her paper “John Lacy’s ‘Sauny’ Shakespeare,” which is a portion of her dissertation research on Restoration Shakespeare Adaptations.  She also participated in the ASTR meta-committee, which strategized the future of arts and humanities in higher education.

Deirdre O’Rourke currently enjoys the prestigious American Association of University Women Dissertation Fellowship, awarded via a national selection process.


Dr. Lisa Jackson-Schebetta, assistant professor of Theatre Arts, and Dr. Jeanmarie Higgins, assistant professor of Dramaturgy at University of North Carolina at Charlotte, were awarded the ASTR Collaborative Research Award, which funds collaboration on scholarly or creative research through faculty exchanges across different academic and community environments in the US and abroad.

Jackson-Schebetta and Higgins’ project, “Embodied Research/Researching Embodiment,” consists of three related research symposia to be held at Pitt and UNC Charlotte.  These symposia will explore critical questions of race, ethnicity, and embodiment in the Americas through the combined strategies of dramaturgy, historiography, practice-as-research, and performance.


This year’s awards demonstrate the Theatre Arts Department’s continued active participation in the society and the theatre research community at large.  For more information about ASTR and its awards, visit its webpage.