La Marr Bruce, IPSY Postdoctoral Associate, Lecturer in Theater and African American Studies

La Marr Jurelle Bruce has left IPSY to take a position as Assistant Professor of American Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park. An interdisciplinary humanities scholar, critical theorist, Afromanticist, he studies and teaches black expressive culture (especially literature and performance), critical race theory, queer theory, (pop) cultural studies, psychoanalysis, and their various intersections and combinations. Before arriving at Maryland, he earned his Ph.D. in African American Studies and American Studies from Yale University in 2013 and remained there for an additional year as IPSY Postdoctoral Fellow.

Dr. Bruce’s budding book project, “How to Go Mad without Losing Your Mind: Madness, Blackness, and Radical Creativity,” considers a cohort of twentieth- and twenty-first-century black artists who have instrumentalized “madness” for radical self-making, art-making, and world-making. His second project will generate a history and theory of joy! as depicted and manifested in black expressive cultures since the nineteenth century. Traversing literature, theater, music, sports, religiosity, and the quotidian, this project will explore the liberatory potentials of black joy and the existential perils that threaten and exploit it.

Additionally, Dr. Bruce’s work is featured in the “Black Performance” special issue of African American Review (for which he received the 2014 Joe Weixlmann Award) and forthcoming in Black Queer Studies 2.0 and TDR: The Drama Review. He has received grants and honors from the Beinecke Library at Yale University; the Carter G. Woodson Institute at the University of Virginia; the Fund for Lesbian and Gay Studies at Yale; the Social Science Research Council; and the Mellon Foundation.

Mary Isbell, IPSY Postdoctoral Associate, Lecturer in English and Theater Studies

Mary Isbell has left IPSY to become an Assistant Professor of English and the Director of First-Year Writing at the University of New Haven. She received her Ph.D. in English from the University of Connecticut in 2013. Her book project, “The Debut of the Amateur: Nineteenth-Century Theatricals,” theorizes how the careful maintenance of amateur status shaped theatrical culture in the long nineteenth century. She recovers the material conditions of amateur theatricals to document the widespread popularity of the practice with diverse social groups including aristocrats, middle-class families, university students, office clerks, and sailors aboard naval vessels. With Judith Hawley, Mary co-directs the international interdisciplinary network known as RAPPT (Research into Amateur Performance and Private Theatricals; Her work has been published in Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies, and is forthcoming in Victorian Literature and Culture.

Mary has worked with students on practice-based research into the history of shipboard theatricals through a production of a nineteenth-century farce aboard US Brig Niagara and the performance of a collaboratively written rehearsal play aboard USS Constitution. She is especially energized by the ways in which digital pedagogy is making student contributions more feasible and legible. Alongside her book project, she am developing a scholarly digital edition of The Young Idea: A Naval Journal Edited on Board the H.M.S. Chesapeake in 1857, 1858 & 1859The Young Idea was an illustrated weekly newspaper edited by A.D. McArthur (a clerk aboard the Chesapeake), circulated in manuscript at sea, and published by facsimile in London in 1867. She is currently developing “The Digital Young Idea” with University of New Haven students!

PSWG – Fall 2013 Program

*Unless otherwise specified, all meetings will be held from 1-2 p.m in  Rm 208 of the Whitney Humanities Center.

September 3  – Joseph Roach: Invisible Cities

September 10 – Mary Isbell:   “Maintaining the Dignity of the Stage” at Sea: Nineteenth-Century Shipboard Theatricals

September 17 –  Tanya Dean: Theatricalism at Play in Enda Walsh’s The Walworth Farce and The New Electric Ballroom

September 24 – Amanda Lahikainen: The Theatrical Promises of Imitation and Satirical Bank Notes: Visual Cultures of Paper Money in Britain, 1780-1850

October 1 – Daniel Sack: Staging the Genesis of a World: the Unknown Unknowns of Romeo Castellucci

October 8 – Todd Madigan: Perfect Fools: Sanctity, Madness, and the Theory of Ambiguous Performance

October 15 – Emily Coates and Sarah Demers

October 22 – Patricia Hardwick

October 29 – Amy Hughes

November 5 – La Marr Bruce

November 12- Kedar Kulkarni

November 19 – Lindsay Goss

December 3 – Elinor Fuchs