Photo credit: Amber Dyke Photography.
What are you studying at Pitt?
I am finishing up my PhD in Theatre and Performance Studies. My dissertation theorizes new forms of human/nonhuman relationships developing in response to rapidly increasing disruptions of known and lived environmental norms. I examine a variety of practices—political protest, museum exhibitions, artistic production—which I argue have become sites for negotiating ecological relationships. I ask how these relationships form under the conditions of planetary emergency, including global warming, environmental racism, ocean acidification, the inequities of global capitalism, and biodiversity loss. Ultimately, I argue that identifying and understanding these emerging ways of being, which I call planetary praxes, are imperative to forge a future of ecological justice.
How has the PhD program helped you move towards your personal and professional goals?
The PhD program allowed me to pursue my wide-ranging intellectual interests. Along with course work in the Department of Theatre Arts, my advisors supported my activities in other parts of the university, like the Humanities Center, World History Center, and other departments. This helped me build the interdisciplinary foundation I wanted for my research.
Is there a research opportunity, production, internship, class, etc. that has been instrumental to your time at Pitt or in helping you form your post-graduation goals? If so, please tell us about the experience.
In spring 2019 I taught the “Introduction to Dramatic Art” course. I appreciated the freedom to adapt the syllabus to my interests, and also to decide what kinds of plays I felt were important for students to experience. With this flexibility I designed a syllabus to include plays written post-1970, and all the plays I selected were written by women playwrights. This class ended up being one of the best experiences I’ve had at Pitt. The students taught me so much, and it reaffirmed my choice to study performance.
What do you hope to do when you graduate?
When I graduate I hope to go into academic and scholarly editing, either as an acquisitions assistant at a university press or as a freelance editor working with academic authors.
What do you enjoy doing outside of academics?
When I’m not reading, writing, or editing, I enjoy reading sci fi and fantasy novels, cross-stitching, and doing crossword puzzles. (My current streak for the New York Times crossword is 129 days, which I am very proud of.)
Is there something you would like to share that you wish we asked you about?
One of the most important parts of my time at Pitt has been working as part of the Pitt Graduate Student Organizing Committee (GSOC). We have been organizing for a union for grad workers for more than six years. Grads from all Pitt schools and departments come together to support each other and fight for workplace protections, job security, and other goals. My work on GSOC has been so important to me, and I will continue to support Pitt grads working to make the university a better place for all members of the Pitt community.