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Curated Resources

A (seletive and in no way complete) 
Finding Aid for Pedagogical Ideas about Teaching Theater History in the Core Curriculum and Beyond
created 08/2016
last updated 08/2016


This (admittedly incomplete) finding aid provides a curated online supplement to the ATHE 2016 (Chicago) panel session "Diversity in Core Curriculum Courses: Case Studies and Brainstorming." These informative resources by no means exhaust the materials that discuss the pedagogy of theater history or other core curriculum courses in theater. Rather, this gathering hopes to format a starting point that is focused and germane.

The objective of this panel session sought to challenge the centrality of whiteness and tokenism of non-European or EuroAmerican materials in theater curricula. Participants offered various strategies that reimagine course design for theater history and beyond.

Panel members hope the links, texts, and materials gathered here will provide provocations, ideas, and fortitude for instructors wishing to create curricula that not only grant legibility to a diversity of theatermaking voices but also centralize the  import of their study to students.

Panel participants:

  • Faedra Chatard-Carpenter, University of Maryland

  • Martine Kei Green-Rogers, University of Utah

  • Irma Mayorga, Dartmouth College

  • Aaron C. Thomas, University of Central Florida


“To the theatre historian self-conscious about truth claims and knowledge production, conceding the nonneutrality of facts and the partiality of one's location may seem antithetical to the project of historical research and discovery. And yet, only through the process of interpretation do facts come to meaning, and that meaning is always subject to the politics of time and location. I am by no means arguing for an approach to theatre history that is overly presentist, imposing present values onto the past, but for writing or making history for the present moment. What I am advocating is a recognition of the given 'interestedness' of any official history and thus the right of others to participate in the writing of history, whatever their self- and racial interests, especially as compensation when writ out of the master histories.”
— from "Making History" by Harry J. Elam, Jr., 
Theatre Survey, 45.2, 277


ne of ATHE President Patricia Ybarra's top initiatives seeks to address diversity within ATHE. Here, diversity specifically signifies identificatory nodes such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, ability, and class. This panel takes forward an idea developed through a committee on diversity convened in the late spring of 2015 by President Ybarra of which two of the proposed presenters are members. An offshoot of the strategic planning committee President Ybarra convened during her year as ATHE president-elect, members of this committee have dedicated time to thinking on actions that will enable ATHE to effectuate diversity. The horizon of this committee's goal seeks to shift not only diversity within ATHE, an organization built of leading teachers and researchers, but also, with this instatement, create legible shifts in U.S. American theater in total. As recent conversations across the United States' theater communities have made clear, parity of many sorts in U.S. American theater has vaulted forward as one of the leading challenges to the future of theater making. As the success of, for example, *Bootycandy* by Robert O'Hara, *Hamilton* by Lin-Manuel Miranda, or *Fun Home* by Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori have evidenced, creative voices traditionally marginalized from the limelight of U.S. American stages have come to the fore, and indeed, have helped to begin dismantling the center's entrenched whiteness and maleness.

One of the top questions among ATHE members and theater pedagogues more generally is how to incorporate works by marginalized minoritarian communities into their curriculums, specifically into core courses of the theater major such as theater history. This too requires an action of dismantling entrenched canons and reimagining course trajectories and objectives while also avoiding the equally egregious misstep of tokenism (one August Wilson play among a host of works by white and male playwrights of the twentieth century does not constitute a diverse syllabus). Decolonizing the imperialism of whiteness is a necessary first step if core theater courses desire not only to fully and responsibly impart the leading voices of - most specifically - the twentieth and twenty-first centuries but also if they wish to respond to the dramatic demographic shift that is occurring among their student populations now and moving into the immediate future. For this panel each participant will offer strategies and ideas to help teachers of core theater courses reconceptualize their course content as well as encourage them to let go of a center that is artificially constructed and, more importantly, is ill-suited for preparing student artists and makers to meet and address the audiences of their future careers and realities.



"Multiplicity and Freedom in Theatre History Pedagogy: A Reassessment of the Undergraduate Survey Course" by Jerry Dickey and Judy Lee Oliva

Theater Topics 4.1 (1994): 45-58.


"Teaching Introduction to Theatre Today: An Analysis of Current Syllabi" by Alicia Kae Koger

Theater Topics 4.1 (1994): 59-63.

"Advocacy and Activism: Identity, Curriculum, and Theatre Studies in the Twenty-first Century" by Jill Dolan

Theater Topics 7.1 (1997): 1-10. DOI: 10.1353/tt.1997.0003 


"Introduction to special edition of Theatre Topics: 'Reconstructing Theatre/ History' by Harley Erdman

Theater Topics 9.1 (1999): 1-2. DOI: 10.1353/tt.1999.0003

"Reconstructing Theatre/History" by Joseph R. Roach

Theater Topics 9.1 (1999): 3-10. DOI: 10.1353/tt.1999.0005

"Educating the Creative Theatre Artist" by Sonja Kuftinec

Theater Topics 11.1 (2001): 43-53. DOI: 10.1353/tt.2001.0008 

"Myths and Metaphors from the Mall: Critical Teaching and Everyday Life in Undergraduate Theatre Studies" by Anne Berkeley

Theater Topics 11.1 (2001): 19-29. DOI: 10.1353/tt.2001.0001 

"Roman Holiday: Bridging Disciplinary Divides through Special Programs"

by Dorothy Chansky

Theater Topics 11.2 (2001): 131-144. DOI: 10.1353/tt.2001.0011 

"Intimate Engagement: Student Performances as Scholarly Endeavor by Bryant Keith Alexander

Theater Topics 12.1 (2002):  85-98. DOI: 10.1353/tt.2002.0001

McConachie, Bruce, and Ackerman Alan L. "American Theater History Coming of Age." American Literary History 14, no. 1 (2002): 141-48.

"Writing Intensive Courses in Theatre" by Alisa Roost

Theater Topics 13.2 (2003): 225-233. DOI: 10.1353/tt.2003.0036 

Enders, Jody. (2004). "Introduction: Theatre history in the new millennium." Theatre Survey - the Journal of the American Society for Theatre Research, 45(2), 173-175. Retrieved from

  • This special Issue features essays by the following scholars, among others:

    • ​Marvin CarlsonThomas PostlewaitVirginia ScottAnnette FernTracy C. DavisHarry J. Elam, Jr., Shannon Jackson, Herbert Blau, W.B. Worthen, Richard Schechner, and Joseph Roach

"Teaching Theatre Today: Pedagogical Views of Theatre in Higher Education" (review) by Jeanne Klein

Theater Topics 17.2 (2007): 169-170. DOI: 10.1353/tt.2008.0008  

"A Note from the Editor" [Theater Topics Special Issue: Re-imagining History in the Theatre arts Curriculum] by Jonathan L. Chambers

Theater Topics 17.1 (2007): vi-viii. DOI: 10.1353/tt.2007.0003  


"In Defense of Pleasure: Musical Theatre History in the Liberal Arts [A Manifesto]" by Stacy Ellen Wolf

Theater Topics 17.1 (2007): 51-60. DOI: 10.1353/tt.2007.0014 


"Theatre History, Undergraduates, and Critical Thought" by Erica Stevens Abbitt

Theater Topics 17.1 (2007): 69-79. DOI: 10.1353/tt.2007.0000 


"First Contact-Introductory Courses" by Ronald Harold Wainscott

Theater Topics 17.1 (2007): 29-31. DOI: 10.1353/tt.2007.0013 

"Theatre Squared: Theatre History in the Age of Media" by Sarah Bay-Cheng

Theater Topics 17.1 (2007): 37-50. DOI: 10.1353/tt.2007.0001


"Remapping Theatre History" by Steve Tillis

Theater Topics 17.1 (2007): 1-19. DOI: 10.1353/tt.2007.0012 

"History in the Directing Curriculum: Major Directors, Theory and Practice"

by James Peck

Theater Topics 17.1 (2007):  33-35. DOI: 10.1353/tt.2007.0010  

"Yes, No, Maybe: A Position Statement from Midstream" by Dorothy Chansky

Theater Topics 17.1 (2007): 21-27. DOI: 10.1353/tt.2007.0004

"Stanley McCandless, Lighting History, and Me" by Linda Essig

Theatre Topics 17.1 (2007): 61-67.  DOI: 10.1353/tt.2007.0008

"The Theatre Historian as Rock Star, or Six Axioms for a New Theatre History Text" by Henry Bial 

Theatre Topics 17.1 (2007): 81-86. DOI: 10.1353/tt.2007.0000

"A Note from the Editor" by Sandra G. Shannon

Theater Topics 18.1 (2008): 1-2. DOI: 10.1353/tt.0.0066


"Financialization of Education: Teaching Theatre History in the Corporatized Classroom" by Branislav Jakovljevic, Wade Hollingshaus, and Mark Foster

Theater Topics 18.1 (2008): 69-85. DOI: 10.1353/tt.0.0009

"The Theater of Teaching and the Lessons of Theater" (review) by Miriam M. Chirico

Theater Topics 18.2 (2008): 249-250. DOI: 10.1353/tt.0.0036 

Theatre Topics Special Issue: Teaching African American Theatre

"Introduction: Black Plays" by Harvey Young, Guest Editor

Theater Topics 19.1 (2009): xiii-xviii. DOI: 10.1353/tt.0.0046 

"Insert [Chitlin Circuit] Here: Teaching an Inclusive African American Theatre Course" by Rashida Z. Shaw

Theater Topics 19.1 (2009): 67-76. DOI: 10.1353/tt.0.0053

"The Wisdom of 'Worldliness': Bringing African American Theatre and Drama into Existing Course Syllabi" by Jonathan Shandell

Theater Topics 19.1 (2009): 51-58. DOI: 10.1353/tt.0.0051

"Teaching Theatre as Diplomacy: A US Hamlet in the European Court"

by Charlotte M. Canning

Theater Topics 21.2 (2011): 151-162. DOI: 10.1353/tt.2011.0019 

"A Note from the Editor" by James Peck

Theater Topics 22.2 (2012): 1-2. DOI: 10.1353/tt.2012.0018


"Hyperlinking and Hyperthinking through Theatre History: Haiti, 'Hotel California,' Woyzeck, Hegel, and Back Again" by Megan Lewis and Will Daddario

Theater Topics 22.2 (2012): 183-194. DOI: 10.1353/tt.2012.0020


"Personal Narratives: A Course Design for Introduction to Theatre"

by Claire Syler

Theater Topics 22.2 (2012): 173-181. DOI: 10.1353/tt.2012.0017

"Stagings in Scarlet: Exploring History, Historiography, and Historicity with Late-Victorian Murder Melodrama" by Justin A. Blum

Theater Topics 23.2 (2013): 157-168. DOI: 10.1353/tt.2013.0017

"To Teach and to Mentor: Toward Our Collective Future" by Jill Dolan

Theater Topics 23.1 (2013): 97-105. DOI: 10.1353/tt.2013.0012

"Reflections from Former Editors" by Gwendolyn Alker, Beverley Byers-Pevitts, Suzanne Burgoyne, Jenny Spencer, Harley Erdman, Stacy Wolf, Joan Herrington, Jonathan Chambers, Sandra G. Shannon, Kanta Kochhar-Lindgren, and James Peck

Theater Topics 24.2 (2014): 71-84. DOI: 10.1353/tt.2014.0012

"A Note from the Editor" [Theatre Topics Special Issue: Theatre and/as Education] by Gwendolyn Alker

Theater Topics 25.3 (2015): ix-xi. 

"Theatre Education in the Academy: Major Impacts of Minor Differences"

by Matt Omasta and Drew Chappell

Theater Topics 25.3 (2015): 185-197.

"Toward Revising Undergraduate Theatre Education" by Peter Zazzali and Jeanne Klein

Theater Topics 25.3 (2015): 261-276.

"Embracing the 'Foggy Place' of Theatre History: The Chautauqua/ Colloquia Model of Public Scholarship as Performance" by Jane Barnette

Theater Topics 25.3 (2015): 231-242. 

"The Courage to Teach and the Courage to Lead: Considerations for Theatre and Dance in Higher Education" by Ray Miller

Theater Topics 26.1 (2016): E-1-E-7. DOI: 10.1353/tt.2016.0001 



"The classroom remains the most radical space of possibility in the academy. For years it has been a place where education has been undermined by teachers and students alike who seek to use it as a platform for opportunistic concerns rather than as a place to learn. With these essays, I add my voice to the collective call for renewal and rejuvenation in our teaching practices. Urging all of us to open our minds and hearts so that we can know beyond the boundaries of what is acceptable, so that we can think and rethink, so that we can create new visions, I celebrate teaching that enables transgressions – a movement against and beyond boundaries. It is that movement which makes education the practice of freedom."
from Teaching to Transgress: Education as the
Practice of Freedom by bell hooks

"Faculty Club" resource page

  • From the website: "Welcome to the Faculty Club: your open-source destination for all things pedagogical. The syllabi, assignment prompts and classroom activities here represent our collective investment in the future of theater history. Please borrow freely from the resources your colleagues have so generously shared. And, if you are so inspired, submit your own."

  • Here you will find a bounty of syllabi to resource as well as suggested assignments and activities.

"Theatre History (Ir)Rationale" by Will Daddario

"Report from the Trenches - Thoughts from the 2014 Theatre History and Theatre as a Liberal Art Preconference" by Jeanne Willcoxon, August 04, 2014.

"Latina/o Plays for Young Performers: A Resource for Teachers" by Roxanne Schroeder-Arce - A knowledge commons by and for the theatre community.

  • a wealth of new writing and resources on diversity, theatermaking,  theatermakers, as well as pieces on current debates, ideas, and questions about theater more generally

​Looking for Latina/o/x plays to teach? "101 Plays by The New Americans, or on Latinidad" by Tlaloc Rivas

Café Onda: The Journal of the Latina/o Theatre Commons

  • posts and pieces on Latina/o/x theater

Brief Guide to Internet Resources in Theatre and Performance Studies created and maintained by Ken McCoy



“[N]o reason exists why course content needs to mimic the organization of the required textbook. We may use the textbook as an invaluable resource for our teaching but supplement it with omitted material as we are able (and we need to keep trying to make ourselves more able).”
from “Multiplicity and Freedom in Theatre History Pedagogy: A Reassessment
of the Undergraduate Survey Course” by Jerry Dickey and Judy Lee Oliva,
Theatre Topics 4.1  (1994): 50

Bial, Henry, and Scott Magelssen. 2010. Theater historiography: critical interventions. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Canning, Charlotte M. and Thomas Postlewait. 2010. Representing the Past: Essays in Performance Historiography. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2010.

Fliotsos, Anne L., and Gail S. Medford. 2004. Teaching theatre today: pedagogical views of theatre in higher education. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Hobgood, Burnet M. 1988. Master teachers of theatre: observations on teaching theatre by nine American masters. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press.


hooks, bell. 1994.Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom. New York: Routledge.

Kindelan, Nancy Anne. 2012. Artistic literacy: theatre studies and a contemporary liberal education. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.

Lazarus, Joan. 2004. Signs of change: new directions in secondary theatre education. Portsmouth, NH : Heinemann.

Postlewait, Thomas, and Bruce A. McConachie. 1989. Interpreting the theatrical past: essays in the historiography of performance. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press.

Radulescu, Domnica, and Maria Stadter Fox. 2005. The theater of teaching and the lessons of theater. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.





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