Judith Hamera is Professor of Dance in the Lewis Center for the Arts with affiliations in American Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and Urban Studies. Her scholarship and teaching are interdisciplinary and examine a wide range of sites, united by commitments to ethnography as a research method and to investigating ways specific performance practices reflect and respond to the racialized, gendered political economic challenges of US urban life in periods of structural change.
Her latest book, Unfinished Business: Michael Jackson, Detroit, and the Figural Economy of American Deindustrialization (Oxford University Press, 2017) argues that the effects of U.S. deindustrialization cannot be understood apart from issues of race and racism, that performances by and about African Americans from the mid1980s to the present are a crucial representational commons figuring structural economic change, and performances by Michael Jackson and about Detroit reveal these dynamics with special clarity.
Unfinished Business received the 2018 Association for Theatre in Higher Education's Outstanding Book Award and the 2017-2018 Biennial Sally Banes Publication Prize from the American Society for Theatre Research.
Other books include Parlor Ponds: The Cultural Lives of the American Home Aquarium, 1870-1970 (University of Michigan Press, 2012), which posits theatricality and the theater as crucial to both the emerging popularity of the hobby and to its social work, and Dancing Communities: Performance, Difference and Connection in the Global City (Studies in International Performance: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), which received the Book of the Year award from the National Communication Association’s Ethnography Division. Other books are: the Cambridge Companion to American Travel Writing (Cambridge University Press, 2009) with Alfred Bendixen, Opening Acts: Performance In/As Communication and Cultural Studies (Sage, 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, Modern Drama, PMLA, Qualitative Inquiry, TDR: The Drama Review, Text and Performance Quarterly, Theatre Topics, and Women and Language. She is the recipient of the National Communication Association’s Lilla Heston Award for Outstanding Scholarship in Performance Studies and has served as editor of Text and Performance Quarterly, the performance studies journal of the National Communication Association.
Before coming to Princeton in 2014, Dr. Hamera taught at Texas A&M and at California State University, Los Angeles, where she held numerous administrative appointments and was honored as both a university 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.