Elizabeth W. Son

Dr. Elizabeth Son is an interdisciplinary scholar whose research focuses on the interplay between histories of gender-based violence and contemporary performance in the United States and South Korea. She teaches courses on theatre and social change; race, gender, and performance; and performance, memory, and violence in U.S. and transnational contexts. Her book Embodied Reckonings: “Comfort Women,” Performance, and Transpacific Redress (University of Michigan Press, 2018) examines the political and cultural aspects of contemporary performances in South Korea, Japan, and the United States that have grappled with the history of Japanese military sexual slavery. Son’s current book project titled Possessing History explores how Korean and Korean American women artists and activists engage with histories of political unrest, militarism, and displacement on the Korean peninsula through site-specific methods. Her scholarly articles have appeared in Asian Theatre JournalTheatre SurveyTheater, and e-misférica. She also writes op-eds, which have appeared in such publications as the Los Angeles Review of Books and The Hill.

Son’s work has been recognized with national fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Fulbright Program, and the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. She is also the recipient of the Florence Howe Award for Outstanding Feminist Scholarship from the Women’s Caucus for the Modern Languages, an allied organization of the MLA, and Honorable Mention for the Gerald Kahan Scholar’s Prize from the American Society for Theatre Research. Her teaching has been recognized with the Clarence Simon Award for Outstanding Teaching and Mentoring and the Karl Rosengren Faculty Mentoring Award at Northwestern University.

She serves on the executive committee of the American Society for Theatre Research and co-coordinates the Gender & Sexuality Studies Seminar at The Newberry Library. Son is also the interim director of the Interdisciplinary PhD in Theatre and Drama (IPTD) program and holds courtesy appointments in the Department of Performance Studies, Asian American Studies Program, and the Program in American Studies at Northwestern University.


PhD American Studies, Yale University
MPhil American Literature, University of Cambridge
BA English, Wellesley College

Select Awards and Fellowships

  • Clarence Simon Award for Outstanding Teaching and Mentoring, School of Communication, Northwestern University, 2018

  • Karl Rosengren Faculty Mentoring Award, Office of Undergraduate Research, Northwestern University, 2018

  • Gerald Kahan Scholar’s Prize, Honorable Mention, American Society for Theatre Research, 2017

  • Florence Howe Award for Outstanding Feminist Scholarship, Women’s Caucus for the Modern Languages, 2016

  • Career Enhancement Fellowship for Junior Faculty, Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, 2015

Undergraduate Courses

  • Performance and Politics in Asia 

  • Performing Asian America

  • War, Gender, and Memory in Asian American Performance 

  • Asian/Black Connections in U.S. Theatre and Performance 

  • Theatre in Context

  • Theatre and Social Change 

  • Theatre and Violence 

  • Contemporary Women Playwrights

Graduate courses

  • Race and the Body

  • Performance and Politics in Asia

  • Violence, Memory, and Performance

  • Research Design and Prospectus Writing

Elizabeth W. Son

Associate Professor




70 Arts Circle Drive
Evanston, IL 60208



Graduate Programs:

IPTD; Performance Studies