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Joshua Chambers-Letson
Associate Professor
Performance Studies

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

Joshua Chambers-Letson

Joshua Chambers-Letson is a writer and performance theorist who researches and teaches courses in performance studies, critical race theory, political theory, and queer of color critique. His books and essays place performance studies in conversation with a diverse set of fields including black studies, Asian American studies, Latinx studies, art history, legal studies, and Marxist theory to ask two central questions: How do black, brown, Asian, queer, and trans people (alongside other minoritarian subjects) use performance both to survive the destruction and devaluation of their (our) lives and lifeworlds? And how does performance become a means for rehearsing and enacting new worlds and new ways of being in the world together? Artists that he considers in his scholarship include Nao Bustamante, Danh Võ, Nina Simone, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Eiko, Keijaun Thomas, Teching Hsieh, Moriyuki Shimada, and Alexandria Eregbu.

He is the author of After the Party: A Manifesto for Queer of Color Life (NYU Press, 2018) and A Race So Different: Law and Performance in Asian America (NYU Press, 2013—winner of ATHE’s Outstanding Book Award in 2014). Academic writing has appeared in edited volumes and journals including Social Text, Political Theory, Criticism, Cultural Studies, MELUS, and women & performance. Art writing has appeared in catalogues for Teching Hsieh’s exhibition at the 2017 Venice Bienale and the Chrysler Museum/Grey Art Gallery’s Tseng Kwong Chi: Performing for the Camera, as well as Dirty Looks, The Brooklyn Rail, ASAP/J, and the Walker Reader. With Ann Pellegrini and Tavia Nyong’o he is a series co-editor of the Sexual Cultures series at NYU Press. He received his PhD from New York University in 2009 and was a postdoctoral fellow at Wesleyan University’s Center for the Humanities from 2009-2010.


PhDPerformance Studies, New York University
MAPerformance Studies, New York University
BALiberal Arts, Eugene Lang College of the New School

Selected Publications

After the Party: A Manifesto for Queer of Color Life. NY: New York University Press, 2018

A Race So Different: Law and Performance in Asian America. NY: New York University Press, 2013

“Twelve Notes on Ferguson: Black Performance and Police Power,” in Law and Performance, Ed. Austin Sarat, Lawrence Douglas, and Martha Merrill Umphrey. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2018

“The Queer of Color’s Mother: Ryan Rivera, Audre Lorde, Martin Wong, Danh Vō.” TDR: The Drama Review. (62: 1, T237, Spring: 46-59) 2018

“Withdrawal” in Tehching Hsieh: Doing Time, ed. Adrian Heathfield. (Venice, IT: La Biennale de Venice) 2017: 36-44

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

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

Selected Courses

PERF-ST 515 Asian American Aesthetics and Performance
PERF-ST 515 Marxism and Performance
PERF-ST 515 The Archive and the Body
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