Joshua Takano Chambers-Letson

Joshua Chambers-Letson’s research and teaching interests include contemporary art and performance, Asian American studies, Marxist theory, political theory, and queer theory. He is the author of A Race So Different: Law and Performance in Asian America  (NYU Press, 2013), winner of the 2014 Outstanding Book Award from the Association of Theater in Higher Education (ATHE). His second book project, The Coming Communism: Marxism and Minoritarian Performance, studies the rehearsal, anticipation, and realization of actually existing communism in contemporary performance and art. It does so through an exploration of the work of artists including Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Michi Barall, Kenneth Pietrobono, Ruth Ozeki, Dahn Vo, Tehching Tshieh, Kelis, and The Knife. He has published (or has forthcoming publications) in Social Text, Political Theory, Criticism Journal, Cultural Studies, MELUS, Women & Performance: a journal of feminist theory, Journal of Popular Music Studies, Trans Asia Photography Review, Theater Survey, and TDR: The Drama Review. He is a series co-editor of the Sexual Cultures series at NYU Press with Ann Pellegrini and Tavia Nyong’o. He also serves on the executive committee of ASTR and holds courtesy appointments in Northwestern’s Asian American Studies Program and the Department of Theater.


PhD Performance Studies, New York University
MA Performance Studies, New York University
BA Liberal Arts, Eugene Lang College of the New School


A Race So Different: The Making of Asian Americans in Law and Performance (NY: NYU Press, 2013) [Outstanding Book Award recipient, Association for Theater in Higher Education]

Selected Articles and Book Chapters
co-authored with Yves Winter, “Shipwrecked Sovereignty: Neoliberalism and a Disputed Sunken Treasure” in Political Theory. forthcoming

“Compensatory Hypertrophy, or All About My Mother” in Social Text Special issue “Being With” on the work of José Esteban Muñoz. 121/32: 4 (2014): 13-24

co-authored with Katherine Lemons: “Rules of Law: Sharia Panic and the US Constitution in the House of Representatives” in Cultural Studies. Special issue on “Cultural Studies and/of the Law.” 28: 5-6 (2014): 1048-1077

“The Inoperative Iphigenia: Race, Law, and Freedom in Michi Barall’s Rescue Me” in Theater Survey 55: 2 (2014): 145-164

“Imprisonment/Internment/Detention” in The Routledge Companion to Asian American and Pacific Islander Literature. Ed. Rachel Lee. 144-153. (Oxford, UK: Routledge, 2014)

“Kestutis Nakas’ Fable of the Bees” in Animal Acts: Performing Species Today. Ed. Una Chaudhuri and Holly Hughes. 104-110. (Ann Arbor: U of Michigan Press, December 2013)

“Afterword” In The World of Extreme Happiness. Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig. 89-95. (London: Methuen, 2013 [2014 U.S. Reprint])

“Performed Otherwise: The Political and Social Possibilities of Asian/American Performance.” (dialogue w/ Elizabeth W. Son) Theater Survey. 54: 1 (2013): 131-139

"The Principle of Hope: Reflections on a Revival of Angels in America" The Drama Review: TDR. T213 (2012): 141-147

"A Race So Different: Staging Racial Exception in Ping Chong’s Chinoiserie," MELUS Special Issue on Asian American Performance. 36: 4 (2011): 115-135

"No, I Can’t Forget": Performance and Memory in Dengue Fever’s Cambodian America," Journal of Popular Music Studies 23: 3 (2011): 259-287

"National Rose Garden: Kenneth Pietrobono’s Queer Landscape of American Empire," Women and Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory 20: 1 (2011): 13-32

"Contracting Justice: The Viral Strategy of Felix Gonzalez-Torres," Criticism: A Quarterly for Literature and the Arts 51: 4 (2010): 559-587

"Embodying Justice: The Making of Justice Sonia Sotomayor," Women & Performance: a journal of feminist theory 20: 2 (2010): 149-172

"The Queer Politics of Failure: Nao Bustamante’s Hero," The Drama Review (TDR). T195 (2007): 174-181

"Introduction: Reparative Feminisms, Repairing Feminism—Reparation, Postcolonial Violence, and Feminism". Women & Performance: a journal of feminist theory. 16: 2 (2006): 169-190


PERF-ST 515 Asian American Aesthetics and Performance
PERF-ST 515 Marxism and Performance
PERF-ST 515 Performance and Law
PERF-ST 515 Staging Sovereignty, Performing Power
PERF-ST 515  Performing Racial Exception
PERF-ST 330 Censorship and the Culture Wars
PERF-ST 216  Performance and Culture


Joshua Takano Chambers-Letson

Assistant Professor; Director of Undergraduate Studies


Performance Studies


70 Arts Circle Drive
Room 5-153
Evanston, IL 60208