Weiyu Li’s research focuses on the performances of race, ethnicity, gender, and class. As a theatre historian, her research explores how theatre and performance function in the construction of the public’s national, racial, and ethnic identity, and how the performances of race and nation got circulated and revised nationally and globally.
She received her Ph.D. in Theatre History and Theory from the University of Washington in August 2022. Her dissertation, entitled “Staging China as a Revolutionary Black Body: Performances of Racial Blackness on the Stage of Modern China,” argues that performing racial blackness played a crucial role in modern China’s nation-building project and in China’s rise as a global political actor from the late nineteenth century to the present. This project examines how theatre and the Chinese state conceptualized the modern nation and its global image through performances of racial blackness during major transitional moments. Also, it investigates the political alliance and cultural clash between China’s performance of racial blackness and the Black Theater Movement. This project won Henry Luce/ACLS Pre-dissertation Fellowship in Chinese Studies for 2019-2020 and Barry B. Witham Fund for 2021-2022.
Weiyu teaches courses on postcolonial African drama, Asian American theater, Asian diasporic theater, and transnational circulation of blackface performance. She is also working as a dramaturgy.
Global and Diasporic Performance; Performances of Race, Ethnicity, Gender, and Class; Asian American Theatre; Postcolonial Theatre; Historiography; Dramaturgy.
Education & Training
- 2017-2022, PhD degree, Theater Theory and Criticism, University of Washington,
- 2015-2016, MA degree, Theater History and Criticism, Indiana Univ
- 2008-2012, BA degree, Dramatic Literature, Central Academy of Drama, Beijing