Current Students

Tarek Adam BenchouiaTarek Adam Benchouia
Tarek's research project is an ethnographic study that explores the culture and politics of Mahraganat, a contemporary and emergent genre of music in Egypt. His areas of research include: Middle Eastern and North African studies, ethnomusicology, women and gender studies, cultural anthropology, and sound studies. Specific research interests include: Arab masculinities, critical performance ethnography, listening as public performance, the politics of desire and belonging, and affect and non-representational theory. Tarek received his BA in government and Arabic and his MA in Middle Eastern studies from the University of Texas at Austin.

Ivan BujanIvan Bujan
Ivan’s research analyzes performances of recreational sex, drug use, and HIV prevention as instances of queer world-making. He holds a master’s degree in Performance Studies from New York University (2014), a master’s degree in Gender Studies from Central European University (2012), and a bachelor’s degree in Croatian Language and Literature and Philosophy from University of Rijeka (2010).

Misty De BerryMisty De Berry
Misty De Berry is a mixed-media installation and performance-artist. Her original solo-play Milkweed is published in solo/black/woman: Scripts, Interviews, Essays and excerpts from her latest performance work, little sister, can be found in E-Misférica “12.1 Caribbean Rasanblaj”. De Berry’s research emerges across the fields of phenomenology and affect theory; feminist theory/practice; contemporary art and visual studies; critical theory; black performance theory and black critical thought. Her dissertation examines performances of socially engaged art practices that are taken up by Black women and women of color in the US from the turn of the 21st century during the recent expansion of the prison industrial complex. Situating these practices as emblematic of a Black feminist avant-garde tradition, De Berry is concerned with aesthetic uses of duration as strategies for interrupting habituated modes of everyday hostility directed towards Black women. Understanding these ‘everyday hostilities’ as developing over various temporal constructions and characteristic of larger overlapping systems of violence, she studies performances of everyday gesture asking how is time felt, embodied and materialized differently at the intersections of prison-nation subjectivities? How may embodied experiences of duration engender a liminal space for new modes of being to emerge? To contact De Berry, please email her at

Meiver De la Cruz Meiver De la Cruz
Research Interests: Dance studies, queer theory, marxist feminism, globalization studies, ethnic/American studies, circulation of cultural practices, diasporic performance, intersections of race, gender, sexuality, and political economy.

Eddie GamboaEddie Gamboa
Eddie Gamboa is interested in the performative history of queer identities and sexual practices in relation to border rhetorics. Of particular interest are developing digital performance technologies which enable new patterns of community formation and individual mobility, while paying attention to the ethics of documenting groups which have historically maintained their agency through by relying on the ephemerality of their performances.

Roy Gomez-CruzRoy Gomez-Cruz
Interests: Contemporary circus as a multidimensional performance space where varied forms of circus tradition and popular culture are being reinterpreted for global audience’s consumption. The politics of labor practices in the itinerant circus. Aesthetic in circus and the connotations of transgression, grotesquery and bestiality historically associated with traditional circuses.

Rae Ann LangesRae Langes
Rae’s research examines how queer and transgender performance artists utilize tropes of monstrosity to reflect/resist/refigure constructions of gender, sexuality, race, and national belonging in twenty-first century United States. Areas of study include queer performance, transgender studies, queer theory, critical race studies, affect theory, monster studies, feminist theory.

Margaret LebronMargaret Lebron
Research interests: performances of patriotism and national identity in the United States, affective and embodied formations of patriotic collectives, disciplining structures of military training as identity formation.

Scott LeydonScott Leydon
Scott Leydon’s research examines contemporary Indigenous art and performance culture in Canada. He focuses on Indigenous feminist and queer work that intervenes into colonial representational violences. His work draws on affect studies, contemporary art history, critical Indigenous studies, critical race theory, feminist theory, Marxist theory, and queer theory.

Jonathan MagatJonathan Magat
Jonathan's research interests include queer, critical race, and feminist theories; Filipino and Filipino/American studies; politics of desire; and visual culture.

Andreea Micu
Andreea's current research project focuses on Muslim and Arab American stand-up comedians post 9/11 and examines the ways in which they employ humor to engage current stereotypes about Muslims and Arabs circulating in American society. This projects looks specifically at comedy and activism and explores the potential of stand-up comedy to invert and comment upon hegemonic discourses of Islamophobia. Andreea received her B.A. in Journalism and Communication in 2003 from the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid in Spain. She received her M.A. in Performance Studies from Texas A&M University.

Didier MorelliDidier Morelli
Didier Morelli is an interdisciplinary artist and scholar who combines practice and research in both his academic and performative explorations. He seeks to develop a framework for examining and comprehending movement/action-based performance in the everyday context. A particular concern is the relationship of the human body to the prescriptive and regulatory built forms that surround it. Gestures such as repetition, energy created through motion, and friction against materials, are crucial in his goal to develop a practice-based understanding of transgressive actions in public and private environments. His research interests include the history of performance and conceptual art, spatial and architectural theory, institutional critique, pedagogy within the arts, as well as athletics and the culture of sport.

Mbongeni MtshaliMbongeni Mtshali
A contemporary dance and physical theatre performer and choreographer, Mbongeni is also an actor, director, designer and puppeteer, and is particularly interested in site-specific multimedia performance art works. His research focusses on postcolonial black modernities, the politics of intimacy, affect and belonging, and the spatial modalities of race, ethnicity, gender and class in post-apartheid South Africa.

Patricia Nguyen
Research Interests: concepts of freedom and development, political economy, home and healing in diasporic oral histories and performances, black feminisms, postcolonial feminisms, critical performance ethnography, social justice and human rights.

Shoniqua RoachShoniqua Roach
Research Interests: Black Performance Theory, Black Feminisms, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Visual Culture, Media and Popular Culture.

Ashlie SandovalAshlie Sandoval
Ashlie Sandoval’s research lies at the intersections of contemporary art, performance studies, Marxist theory, and continental philosophy. Her research and teaching interests include socially-engaged art, urban design, critical theory, communist aesthetics, phenomenology, feminist and queer theory. Her dissertation specially explores how contemporary urban art interventions are deployed to critique neoliberal spatial policies and practices that structure city spaces to service a wealthy minority at the expense of marginalized communities. She examines how these interventions through proposing new uses, forms, and circulations for space, architecture, and bodies might allow for a commons to manifest. At the same time, her project explores how these urban art interventions are subject to commodification and appropriation by private and public actors that frequently redeploy aspects of these artistic interventions for capitalist ends. She is currently occupied with the relationship between “perception” and “capability” as it relates to aesthetic form; the concurrent evolution of defensive architecture and tactical urbanism; and the role of “use” in art and architecture.

Kantara SouffrantKantara Souffrant


Leila Tayeb
Leila's research centers on the constitution of gendered identities and structures via music in 2011-2012 revolutionary Libya. Areas of interest include phenomenology, dance studies, feminist and queer theory, diaspora and "return."

Chaunesti WebbChaunesti Webb
Chaunesti Webb is an interdisciplinary theater artist with a background in contemplative approaches to creating performance, combining somatic techniques, mindfulness practices, psychophysical acting and extended voice techniques. She is interested in exploring the intersections of performance and mindfulness in communities of color, community development, cultural studies, contemporary performance practices, experimental theater, movement studies, ritual and activism.

Mlonolozi ZondiMlonolozi Zondi
Research areas include Contemporary African Dance, Black queer studies, Black consciousness, performance activism, critical race theory, postcolonial theory, Afropessimism, feminist theory, critical pedagogy. MFA Dance - University of California, Irvine; BA (Hons) Drama and Performance Studies ­ University of Kwa-Zulu Natal (Pietermaritzburg)

Justin ZulloJustin Zullo
Justin Zullo is a sound designer and hip hop music producer. He teaches digital music composition at Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center. His research examines how Chicago-based practices of hip-hop pedagogy operate in relationship local political economy. Using ethnographic methods, and performance studies, black studies, and sound studies theory, he analyzes hip hop performance as a critical, embodied remodeling of traditional education, and a process constitutive of a body politic.