The working group in Drama, Theater & Performance Studies seeks to provide a central forum for cutting-edge interdisciplinary research and practice at New York University. Bringing together graduate students and faculty from departments and programs across NYU, as well as NYC more broadly, this working group will establish a much-needed space for promoting and sharing new work on theater, performance, and dramatic literature. 

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Our Task

The principal aim of DTAPS is to provide a space for faculty and graduate students to come together to share and present research, by highlighting different disciplinary approaches to performance, while also creating a supportive scholarly community around this rapidly evolving field. Our task is to forge a space of collaboration, exchange, support, and debate. 

In addition to providing a necessary forum for our NYU community, there is also an urgent need for a downtown location for artists and scholars in and around the city to gather and share their work. Through scholarly lectures, guest artist talks, and performance visits, the working group will take advantage of New York City’s vast performing arts landscape to publicly consider the role of performance research in the context of our city’s history and politics.

Our Topics

While the subjects of our discussions will ultimately be determined by the group’s participants, some possible themes for discussion are the interdisciplinary intersections of: 

  • Performance and politics: Authoritarianism, populism, capitalism, democracy, race, gender, disability, and sexuality;
  • Performance and media: Questions of form and formalism in literary studies and theater studies, visual art, television, film, and digital art;
  • Performance and technology: The rise of AI, virtual and augmented reality, social media, surveillance, and data-mining in the context of the performing arts;
  • Performance and philosophy: Critical theory, phenomenology, hermeneutics, postcolonial theory, and psychoanalysis


If you have any questions about the working group, please contact co-convenors:

Alisa Zhulina (Tisch Drama):
Brandon Woolf (English/Dramatic Literature):
J de Leon (NYU Skirball):

The DTAPS Working Group is generously supported by the Department of English and NYU Skirball.