Michelle Granshaw

  • Associate Professor / Director of Graduate Studies

Michelle Granshaw received her PhD in Theatre History, Theory, and Criticism from the University of Washington. Her research interests include American and Irish theatre and popular entertainment, diaspora and global performance histories, performance and the working class, and historiography.  

At the University of Pittsburgh, she teaches in the BA, MA, and PhD programs. She is affiliate faculty with the Global Studies Center, the European Union Center of Excellence/European Studies Center, Gender, Sexuality, and Women Studies Program, and Cultural Studies.

Dr. Granshaw’s articles have appeared in Theatre Survey, Nineteenth Century Theatre and Film, Popular Entertainment Studies, Journal of American Drama and Theatre, Theatre Topics, and the New England Theatre Journal. She has a forthcoming plate in the Atlas of Boston History: The Making of a City and an essay from her second book manuscript on sectarian violence and performance in nineteenth-century Belfast forthcoming in Theatre Survey. She has written almost twenty encyclopedia articles for BlackPast.org. In 2014, Dr. Granshaw was awarded the American Theatre and Drama Society Vera Mowry Roberts Award for Research and Publication for her Theatre Survey (January 2014) article “The Mysterious Victory of the Newsboys: The Grand Duke Theatre’s 1874 Challenge to the Theatre Licensing Law.”

Her first book, Irish on the Move: Performing Mobility in American Variety Theatre, is forthcoming Fall 2019 from the University of Iowa Press. The book analyzes the repeated narratives, strategies, and performative practices emerging from US society’s nineteenth-century debates surrounding movement and its meanings, which she calls “dramaturgies of mobility.” The book argues migrants and Irish Americans utilized physical and imagined mobility to resist a dominant culture determined to erase their humanity, culture, and right to participate in US democracy. She also suggests Anglo-Protestant discrimination, public debates over their migration and assimilation, and anxiety over the Irish’s mobile threat laid a framework for how the nation dealt with future large-scale migrations perceived as threatening. Dr. Granshaw won the 2013 Hibernian Research Award from the Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism at the University of Notre Dame, 2014 American Theatre and Drama Society Faculty Travel Award, and 2016-2017 Harry Ransom Center Research Fellowship in the Humanities in support of her book project. A conference paper drawing on her book research, entitled, "Inventing the Tramp: The Early Tramp Comic on the Variety Stage,” won the 2018 Robert A. Schanke Theatre Research Award at the Mid-America Theatre Conference.

In October 2015, Dr. Granshaw organized the “Spectacles of Labor: Performance and the Working Class” symposium at the University of Pittsburgh, which was supported by the Humanities Center, Provost’s Year of the Humanities, Center on Race and Social Problems, Departments of Theatre Arts, English, and History of Art and Architecture, and the 2015 Co-Sponsored Event Award from the American Society for Theatre Research. Attended by faculty from across the country, students, and Pittsburgh union leaders and community members, the symposium approached questions about labor and performance from an interdisciplinary perspective and examined critical questions about the ways that spectacles of labor function as sites of negotiation, revolution, and containment.

Dr. Granshaw has presented her research at the American Society for Theatre Research, Association for Theatre in Higher Education, American Society for Eighteenth Century Studies, McNeil Center for Early American Studies, and Mid-America Theatre Conference. She serves on committees for the American Theatre and Drama Society and the American Society for Theatre Research and is a co-chair of the Theatre History Symposium at the Mid-America Theatre Conference for 2016 and 2017.

Dr. Granshaw also works as a dramaturg. She has served on a variety of productions, including August Wilson’s Piano Lesson and Adolphe d’Ennery’s The Two Orphans. In Spring 2015, she served as the dramaturg for the UPitt Stages production of The Curse of the Starving Class. 

Representative Publications

Research Interest Summary

American theatre and popular entertainment, diaspora and global performance histories, performance and the working class, and historiography

Research Interests

US and Irish theatre and popular entertainment, diaspora and global performance histories, performance and the working class, and historiography

Education & Training

  • PhD, Theatre History, Theory, and Criticism, University of Washington, 2012
  • MA, Theatre and Performance STudies, University of Maryland, 2007
  • BA, History and Dramatic Literature, Theatre History, and Cinema, New York University, 2005