REMINDER: 2016 Mellon School of Theater and Performance Research at Harvard University

01 February, 2016 by Rebecca Kastleman | 0 comments

REMINDER: 2016 Mellon School of Theater and Performance Research at Harvard University

Applications for the sixth annual session of the Mellon School of Theater and Performance Research at Harvard University are due on March 1, 2016. The summer session will be held June 6-17, 2016.

reminder that applications for the 2016 Mellon School of Theater and Performance Research are due on March 1, 2016. Please see additional information below.


The Mellon School of Theater and Performance Research at Harvard University is pleased to announce that we are accepting applications for our sixth annual summer session, to be held June 6 - 17, 2016. The School offers faculty and advanced graduate students the opportunity to learn from leading scholars in theater and performance research in an intensive two-week summer program. Applications are due on March 1, 2016; please see our website for more information about how to apply.


The topic for the 2016 session will be "Theaters Sacred and Profane." Religious thought has long shaped the history and theory of theater. From the Festival of Dionysus to the English mystery play cycles, from Nō to Kathakali to the Rabinal Achí, theater has often been continuous with forms of worship, sacrifice, and communion. Does theater originate in religion? And if so, how has this origin shaped its history and practice? For the past century, both scholars and practitioners have been fascinated with the ritualistic origins of theater and performance; yet as much as theater borrows from ritual, it also seeks to move beyond it. How do we approach the question of theater’s debts to religion today, at a time when longstanding narratives of secularization and modernity are being revised? To what extent are our theoretical habits of mind shaped by underlying religious assumptions about the status of texts, presence, liveness, and transubstantiation? What theoretical tools and modes of inquiry (e.g., political theology, secularization theory, philosophies of religion) are available to reflect on these habits of mind? These and related questions will be explored in seminars, workshops, lectures, roundtables, and discussions.


Participants will work with a faculty of distinguished scholars in theater studies. This year's faculty includes:


Sarah Beckwith (Duke University)

Henry Bial (University of Kansas)

Marvin Carlson (CUNY Graduate Center)

Julia Lupton (UC Irvine)

Derek Miller (Harvard University)

Heather Nathans (Tufts University)

Ann Pellegrini (NYU)

Andrew Sofer (Boston College)

Emily Wilson (University of Pennsylvania)


Participants will take one of two daily seminars on overarching theoretical and methodological topics related to the theme of "Theaters Sacred and Profane." In addition to the morning seminars, the program includes discussions, research workshops, performances, and evening lectures taught by visiting faculty members. Graduate student participants take part in a writing workshop devoted to their dissertation research; junior faculty participate in a workshop focused on turning their dissertations into books.


Due to a generous grant from the Mellon Foundation, tuition will be free for all accepted participants.


Applications are due Tuesday, March 1, 2016. A complete application consists of our application form, a curriculum vitae, graduate transcripts (for current doctoral students only), a statement of interest, and a research statement. Admissions decisions will be announced by April 2016.


For more information and application instructions, please visit our website at or email


Please forward this announcement widely to interested colleagues.


Martin Puchner, Director

The Mellon School for Theater and Performance Research at Harvard University

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