Award-winning performance studies scholar Judith Hamera will join the Lewis Center for the Art’s Program in Dance faculty at Princeton University in September. The addition of this new, full-time faculty position within the program signals a deepened commitment to the study of dance at Princeton by adding faculty dedicated to the history, theory and criticism of dance, and their relationship to dance practice and to other areas of inquiry across the University. Hamera’s scholarship is interdisciplinary; she works at the intersection of American, communication, and cultural studies, as well as performance and dance studies.
“I am thrilled that Judith Hamera will be joining our program,” notes Susan Marshall, Director of the Program in Dance. “Her expertise ranges from the cultural legacy of Michael Jackson to the study of urban amateur and concert dance practices. She will deepen the contextual discourse around our existing studio practices, as well as open new areas of study attracting diverse communities on our campus to the dance program.”
Hamera is the author of Dancing Communities: Performance, Difference and Connection in the Global City (2007), which received the Book of the Year award from the National Communication Association’s Ethnography Division and is considered by many as a landmark volume in dance scholarship. Her other books include Opening Acts: Performance In/As Communication and Cultural Studies (2006) and the Sage Handbook of Performance Studies, co-edited with D. Soyini Madison (2006). Her essays have appeared in Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies, Cultural Studies, TDR: The Drama Review, Modern Drama, Text and Performance Quarterly, Theatre Topics, and Women and Language. Her latest book steps away from the world of dance to investigate Parlor Ponds: The Cultural Lives of the American Home Aquarium, 1870-1970 (2012).
“Judith is recognized as one of the foremost scholars in performance studies with a specialty in dance,” adds Jill Dolan, Princeton’s Annan Professor of English, Professor of Theater and Director of the Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies, who chaired the search committee for this faculty position. “The appointment of a scholar of Judith’s stature acknowledges Princeton’s commitment to dance as a crucial area of study and the University’s growing commitment to scholarship on the arts.”
Michael Cadden, Chair of the Lewis Center, adds, “It is critical to the mission of the Center to have artists and scholars in dialog with one another. Judith’s work models what forms that dialog can take in an exemplary way.”
Hamera is the recipient of the National Communication Association’s Lilla Heston Award for Outstanding Scholarship in Performance Studies. She has served as editor of Text and Performance Quarterly, the performance studies journal of the National Communication Association, and is a member of the Congress on Research in Dance Board of Directors.
“I am very excited to join the Lewis Center for the Arts, with its distinguished faculty of artists and scholars,” notes Hamera. “I look forward to contributing to the very rich and robust Dance Program. I especially appreciate the Dance Program’s commitment to artistic excellence within a liberal arts education: an ideal way to shape creative and thoughtful dancer-scholar-citizens.”
Most recently, Hamera led the Department of Performance Studies at Texas A&M University, where she served on the faculty since 2005. She has also taught at California State University, Los Angeles, where she held numerous administrative appointments and was honored as both Outstanding Professor and President’s Distinguished Professor. She received her B.A. in Mass Communication from Wayne State University and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Interpretation and Performance Studies, respectively, from Northwestern University.