Faculty Hofstra College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Rhetoric School of Humanities, Fine and Performing Arts

Dr. Lisa Merrill Wins National Essay Prize for Theatre Research

Lisa Merrill, PhD, professor of performance studies in the Department of Rhetoric, has been awarded the Oscar G. Brockett Essay Prize from the American Society for Theatre Research and the Oscar G. Brockett Center for Theatre History and Criticism at the University of Texas-Austin.

Her winning work, “Most Fitting Companions: Making Mixed-Race Bodies Visible in Antebellum Public Spaces,” was published in the academic journal, Theatre Survey, in May 2015. Dr. Merrill examines how individuals of mixed race used that heritage to publicly promote the abolitionist cause in the years leading up to the Civil War.

“I am very honored to have my research acknowledged in this way,” said Dr. Merrill, a widely-recognized scholar on performance studies, gender, and intercultural communication.

The prize, which carries an award of $1,500, honors the best essay written and published in English in a scholarly journal on any subject in theatre research.   Dr. Merrill will receive the award during the American Society for Theatre Research’s annual conference in Minneapolis in November.

In April, Dr. Merrill delivered a keynote speech on “Black Bodies, Black Voices: Transforming Antebellum Spaces,” that was based, in part, on the research from this essay at a conference at the Institute for Black Atlantic Research at the University of Central Lancashire in Preston, England, where she spent two months as an invited visiting scholar.  During her sabbatical, she also gave talks at the British and Irish associations of American Studies in Belfast, Ireland, the European Association for American Studies in Constanta, Romania, and the University of Nottingham in England.



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