Patrick McKelvey

  • Assistant Professor

Patrick McKelvey is a performance theorist and theatre historian. Dr. McKelvey’s current project, “Crip Enterprise: Disability Goes to Work in U.S. Performance” is the first book-length study to bring together theatre and performance studies, disability studies, and the history of work. It argues that since the 1970s, artists, activists, and policymakers have mobilized theatrical performance as a site of collective struggle over the importance of work in the lives of disabled Americans. “Crip Enterprise” demonstrates how a range of cultural and political actors have championed performance as a key mode of employment for disabled workers, while also showing how disabled artists have used theatre, performance art, and popular performance forms to stage cultural and political contests about employment as the prevailing horizon for disability politics.

Research toward “Crip Enterprise” has received recognition and support from the American Studies Association, the American Society for Theatre Research, the American Theatre and Drama Society, the Association for Theatre in Higher Education, and the Committee for LGBT History.

Representative Publications

“Ron Whyte’s ‘Disemployment’: Prosthetic Performance and Theatrical Labor” (Theatre Survey, 2016)

“Choreographing the Chronic,” in Queer Dance: Meanings and Makings (Oxford University Press), edited by Clare Croft

Reviews in Theatre Journal, Modern Drama, TDR, and The Journal of American Drama and Theatre

Research Interests

U.S. Theatre and Performance
Disability Culture, Politics, and Aesthetics
Queer and Feminist Studies
Histories and Theories of Performance Labor

Education & Training

  • PhD, Theatre and Performance Studies, Brown University, 2017
  • MA, Anthropology, Brown University, 2017
  • BA, English and Theatre/Dance, University of Texas-Austin, 2008

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