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Tracy C. Davis
Professor, Ethel M. Barber Professor in Performing Arts
Theatre; SoC Administration

Tracy C. Davis

Tracy C. Davis is a specialist in performance theory, theatre historiography, and research methodology. She is Director of the Graduate School’s Excellence in Mentoring Initiative. She edits the book series “Cambridge Studies in Theatre and Performance Theory” and co-edits the book series “Transnational Theatre Histories” for Palgrave. Since 2013, she has been co-director of the Summer Institute in Cologne, an international summary school for graduate students at the Theatrewissenschaftlichte Samlung. She has served as President of the American Society for Theatre Research and on the Board of Directors for Performance Studies international.

Mentoring Philosophy


PhD, Theatre Studies, University of Warwick
BFA, Drama, University of Calgary

Recent Publications

Davis’ most recent books are Uncle Tom’s Cabins: The Transnational Histories of America’s Most Mutable Book (University of Michigan Press, 2018), the six-volume Cultural History of Theatre (Bloomsbury UK, 2017), The Broadview Anthology of Nineteenth-Century British Performance (Broadview, 2012), The Cambridge Companion to Performance Studies (Cambridge University Press, 2008), Stages of Emergency: Cold War Nuclear Civil Defense (Duke), The Performing Society: Nineteenth-Century Theatre’s History (co-edited with Peter Holland, Palgrave), and Considering Calamity: Methods for Performance Research (co-edited with Linda Ben-Zvi, Assaph) all in 2007. She has also authored Actresses as Working Women: Their Society Identity in Victorian Culture (1991), George Bernard Shaw and the Socialist Theatre (1994), The Economics of the British Stage (2000), and co-edited Women and Playwrighting in Nineteenth-Century Britain (with Ellen Donkin, 1999), and Theatricality (with Thomas Postlewait, 2004). Forthcoming Book: The Broadview Anthology of Nineteenth-Century British Performance (Broadview Press, 2011).

Work in Progress

(Author) Studies in Liberal Subjectivity
(Co-editor) Routledge Companion to Theatre and Performance Historiography
(Series editor) Cambridge Studies in Theatre and Performance Theory (Cambridge UP)
(Series co-editor) Transnational Theatre Histories (Palgrave)

Awards and Honors

1990-91Andrew W. Mellon Faculty Fellowship, Harvard University
1994-95Kathleen Barker Research Award, Society for Theatre Research
1994-95American Philosophical Society Research Grant
1995National Endowment for the Humanities Research Fellowship
1997Folger Library Short-Term Fellowship
2001George Freedley Memorial Award (Theatre Library Association)
2003Eisenhower Presidential Foundation Travel Grant
2004Clarence Ver Steeg Graduate Faculty Award (Northwestern University)
2004White House Historical Foundation Grant
2005Distinguished Scholar’s Prize (American Society for Theatre Research)
2007Lane Humanities Institute Teaching Professor
2008Stanley J. Kahrl Fellowship in Theatre History, Houghton Library (Harvard)
2009Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellow, Huntington Library
2016-18Alexander von Humboldt Research Award, Köln Univerität

Recent Grants

2008-09 Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellow, Huntington Library
2008-09 Stanley J. Kahrl Fellowship in Theatre History, Houghton Library

Editorial Boards

Associate Editor, Theatre Journal
Editorial Board, Theatre Research in Canada
Editorial Board, Theatre Survey
Contributing Editor, TDR: The Drama Review
Honorary Advisory Editor, New Theatre Quarterly

Research Boards (selected)

Social Science Research Council, University Advisory Committee, Dissertation Proposal Development
Advisory Board, Shanghai Theatre Academy
Advisory Board, Gate Theatre Research Network


Recent graduate courses:

  • Cultural History of Theatre
  • Historical Ethnography
  • Nineteenth-Century Repertoire
  • The 1850s
  • Theatre Research Methodology
  • Victorian Liberalism

Recent undergraduate courses:

  • Caryl Churchill
  • Museums and Exhibiting
  • Nineteenth-Century Repertoire
  • Strategic Blackface
  • Transnational Histories of Uncle Tom’s Cabin
  • Women Characters and Characterizations in Contemporary Drama