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Student Draft

Pepe Álvarez

Pepe Álvarez is an interdisciplinary artist and researcher in the theatre, dance, and performance art scenes in Puerto Rico. His solo performance works have been presented in Chile, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, and Puerto Rico. He holds and MA in Theatre and Live Arts from the National University of Colombia and a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Puerto Rico. His research project examines the tension between performance art’s economy of the ephemeral and its historical documentation. His work can be located within the field of practice as research and critical performance ethnography with which he deploys creative practices as a framework for advancing the examination and compilation of Puerto Rico’s performance history. Focused on the history of experimental dance in Puerto Rico his research analyzes movement improvisation as an artistic form and a training technique that have been iconically central to the canon of Puerto Rico’s artistic experimentalism, political activism and social performances. He is interested in improvisation as both an object of study and as a methodology that can drive historical research and cultural critique. His areas of research include: dance studies, Latino’s studies queer performance, cultural anthropology critical race, feminist theories, institutional critique, art theory and practice.

Tarek Adam Benchouia

Tarek Adam Benchouia is a scholar and artist from Austin, Texas. He holds a B.A. in Arabic and M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies from The University of Texas at Austin. His dissertation project focuses on masculinity and digital culture surrounding mahraganat music in Egypt. His research interests include performance in Egypt and Algeria, postcolonial and decolonial theory, popular music studies, sound studies, gender and sexuality studies, and digital humanities.

Robert Biedrzycki

Robert Biedrzycki is an interdisciplinary artist, scholar, and activist who uses performance to study U.S. carceral power. His research explores methods of incarceration used to organize and manage social disposability, and the grassroots movements fighting to resist these forces. Areas of interest include: critical performance ethnography, performance pedagogy, Black performance theory, Marxist theory, critical legal studies and critical race studies. Robert is a prison abolitionist and social justice activist committed to building a world without prisons.

Rashayla Marie Brown

Rashayla Marie studies conceptual performance art, modern and contemporary art markets, arts education, Black performance and aesthetics of relation, and Global modernisms. The art market heavily influences art education, which thereby influences which artists are historically canonized and which studio practices dominate our understanding of who deserves to be considered a “master” artist. Rashayla Marie hopes to work as a professor or curator at a major educational art institution while maintaining an active studio practice and producing art essays and films for popular audiences.

Ali Faraj

With a background in Computer and Audio Engineering, DJ-ing, English Literature and advertising copywriting/translation, Ali’s general (research) interests encompass the circulation, consumption and performance of culture across languages, genres and media. More specifically, Ali is interested in comparing different performances of fandom and stardom of working class communities, and their depictions of anger, social mobility and racial identity. These performances include, but are not limited to: Northern Soul music, Kitchen Sink Drama and Egyptian popular culture post Suez Crisis.

Ethan Fukuto

Presently, Ethan’s research investigates how Asian American aesthetic practices intervene into or otherwise disrupt relational bonds through strategies of fatigue and fragmentation across performance, video, and sound art. Put differently, Ethan is interested in the perversions of Asian American racial- and sexualization as sites from which to rethink relationality and subjecthood. The work is animated variously by queer and feminist theory, being an exhausted Asian American in the shadow of capital, performance theory, and Asian American studies.

Roy Gomez-Cruz

Roy Gomez Cruz’s research examines the political economy of contemporary circus industries in North America under competing modes of transnationalism. Approaching performance ethnographically, his work illuminates how circus troupes perform across national borders by both resisting and reproducing tensions between the circus body imagined as a source of economic capital and circus performance as vessel of creative agency. His interests concerned the critical study of circus, transnational social movements, cultural industries, creative economies and urban spectacles, particularly through the lens of performance, critical race, and queer theory. Of particular interest is practicing a performance-centered pedagogy aimed to provide students with tools for critical thinking, empirical research and artistic expression. Roy’s pedagogical orientation aims to bridge gaps between theory and praxis. By drawing from his two areas of expertise: ethnography and circus studies, his pedagogy seeks to foster inclusive learning as an embodied, empowering and transformative experience.

Gabriel Guzman

Gabriel Guzmán is a multifaceted scholar and thinker from Tijuana and San Diego. Their research interests are moved by questions surrounding the phenomenological effects of neon lighting in relationship to the queer body especially in nightlife contexts and across transnational settings. This project aims to uncover the way that the excess of neon tableau and other forms of color (lighting) can enact and shroud queer quotidian choreographies. This is especially prominent in understanding the strategies of survival that minoritarian subjects fashion moving through time and space. Being first-generation and Latinx, Gabriel wants to contribute to the diversification of educators in the higher educational context, stimulate new directions of thinking, and to positively nurture future students of color.

Nathan J. Lamp

Nathan J. Lamp is a theatre director, dramaturg, and writer from Toledo, OH. They received their B.S. in Performance Studies & Biological Anthropology from Northwestern University and their M.A. in Theatre & Performance Studies from Washington University in St. Louis. Nathan’s research interests include popular music as performance, sound studies, media studies, musical theatre, 20th-century and contemporary American theatre, dance, and performance, applied theatre practices, dramaturgy, Jewish studies, gender & sexuality studies, feminist performance theory, queer theory, trans studies, and disability studies. Nathan has worked with organizations such as St. Louis Actors’ Studio, Union Avenue Opera, First Run Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Broadway in Chicago, Waltzing Mechanics, the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center at the University of Notre Dame, the Performing Arts Department at Washington University, and Imagine U/Northwestern’s Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts.

Madeleine Le Cesne

Madeleine Le Cesne is a New Orleanian poet scholar working across the fields of performance studies, critical race theory, environmental studies, urban studies, and affect theory. Her research focuses on porosity and points of seepage as critical relationalities that blur the boundaries between body, object, and land in New Orleans’ past-present-future black creole communities. She is invested in the worldmaking potential of critical theory and hopes to return to New Orleans after her studies to develop this work into practice. She holds an A.B. in Anthropology with certificates in Dance Studies and Creative Writing from Princeton University (2019).

Malú Machuca Rose

Malú Machuca Rose is a transfeminist scholar/organizer/cultural worker from Perú. Currently, Malú is a PhD student in the Department of Performance Studies and a Mellon Fellow in Gender and Sexuality Studies at Northwestern. Their research focuses on queer of color critique, particularly around questions of trans and queer death and survival, desire, nightlife, sex and risk, decoloniality, feminism, critical theory, performance, visual culture and healing justice. Their most recent work appears in the Trans en las Américas issue of TSQ and interrogates the necropolitical response to HIV/AIDS through the racialized and classed lens of a travesti politics of refusal, in the essay “Giuseppe Campuzano’s Afterlife: Towards a Travesti Methodology for Critique, Care and Radical Resistance” (2019). Malú received their MA in Gender and Women’s Studies from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and their BA in Sociology from PUCP. Malú is co-author of “Estado de Violencia” and “Nuestra Voz Persiste”, books published on the situation of LGBTIQ people in Peru as part of their work in No Tengo Miedo.

Shelby Mack

Shelby Mack is a proud former community college student, who graduated from West Los Angeles Community College in the spring of 2015. She then transferred and graduated from the University of California Berkeley in the fall of 2018, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in American Studies (cum laude honors) with a concentration in African American Studies and Education. Shelby also studied at Yale University as a Yale ESI-PREP  Research Fellow (cohort 2019-2020), taking graduate courses in African American Studies and Gender and Women Sexuality studies, while also developing an academic research project which examined the various intersections between disidentification, hyper-femme aesthetics, and hip-hop culture.

Her project was supported by Dr. Roderick Ferguson, chair of the Gender Women Sexuality Studies Department at Yale University. Currently her work examines how visual representations of Black queer women artists (from genres such as – Hip-Hop, R&B, Dancehall) coupled with their lyrics, individual personas, and gender performance demonstrate the complexities and contradictions of Black womanhood, Black female sexuality, and intimacy.

Her research interests include: Black Feminist Thought, Black Queer Studies, Afro-Futurism, Pan-Africanism, Black Radical Imagination, Sound Studies, Utopian Performativity, Minoritarian Performance, Protest-Music, Fan Culture, and Black Cultural Production. To stay connected, view her academic website,

Greg Manuel

Greg Manuel is a researcher and sound artist from far Northern California. In the wake of the catastrophic megafires that swept through the region in 2018, Greg’s research asks how local rhythms of human and nonhuman life might respond to profound and repeated disturbance. As rural landscapes reorganize themselves under the pressures of global climate change and decades of land mismanagement, fires burn differently and demand new forms of reckoning. Greg’s work zooms in on the modes of improvisation, memory, and performance through which fire-disturbed communities grapple with the volatile landscapes that surround them. Alongside performance studies, Greg’s interests include the environmental humanities, affect theory, plant studies, science studies, process thought, and rural geography. Greg holds a B.Mus. in Composition from Oberlin Conservatory and an M.A. in Performance Studies from Northwestern University.

Gervais Marsh

Gervais Marsh’s research project considers different forms of queer (non-normative) performance in the Anglophone Caribbean as sites that facilitate processes and modes of decolonization, particularly related to gender and sexuality. The project focuses on Dancehall and Carnival Culture, LGBTQ+ activism and theater performance artists as potential research sites, spaces and interlocutors. Research Interests: Black Feminisms, Caribbean Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Black Queer Studies, Critical Race Theory, Postcolonial Theory, Black Performance Theory.

Michell Nicole Miller

Michell Nicole Miller is an undisciplined poet and educator. Her current project explores the intersections of black feminist spiritualities, reproductive justice, and ritual performance. Her research interests include: transnational black feminisms, postcolonial/decolonial praxis, black poetics, and sound studies. She holds an A.M. in Theater and Performance Studies from Washington University in St. Louis and a B.A. in English Literature and Languages.

Natalia Molebatsi

Natalia Molebatsi is a PhD student in Performance Studies. She is a Pan-African feminist and queer poet, writer and cultural worker from South Africa. Natalia is the editor of We are: A Poetry Anthology (Penguin, 2008) and Wild Imperfections: An Anthology of Womanist Poems (forthcoming from Penguin Random House and Cassava Republic Press, 2021). She is the author of Sardo Dance (Ge’ko, 2009) and Elephant Woman Song (Forum, 2017).  Her writing is included in, among other journals, Scrutiny2Rhodes Journalism ReviewAgendaMuziki and the National Political Science Review. Her MA thesis (through the University of South Africa) entitled An Analysis of Representations of Women in SAfm’s Poetry in the Air, focused on a critical discourse analysis of womanist cultural production on public radio. Her BA (Hons) work focused on the representation of Black women’s hair in television advertisements. Her research interests include feminist media inquiry; Black queer and feminist performance and poetry in theatre as radical (intersectional) feminist intervention. Natalia has performed poetry and presented creative writing workshops in over 15 countries.

Justin C. Moore

Justin C. Moore is a doctoral student in the Department of Performance Studies and an Andrew W. Mellon Interdisciplinary Cluster Fellow in Gender and Sexuality Studies. He received his Bachelor of Arts in African American Studies from Emory University. His research interests include Black Performance Studies, Black Genders & Sexualities, 19th and 20th Century African American literature, Sound Studies, Intimacy, Abjection, Flesh, and Affect.

Yaquelin Eunise Morales

Yaquelin Eunise Morales is an interdisciplinary scholar from Los Angeles California. Her research focuses on the multiple forms of displacement of Latinx populations particularly the Central American experience. She works with Los Angeles based poet Yesika Salgado self proclaimed Fat, Fly, Brown Poet. Through this collaborative work with Yesika she investigates the ways in which she uses her body, aesthetics, and poetry to challenge gentrification in Los Angeles. Yaquelin’s work comes from an urgent need to highlight the multilayered forms of displacement that marginalized groups face in the wake of gentrification, she focuses on exploring the question of what happens in the in-betweenness of displacement. She received her B.A in Sociology from California State University, Northridge. Her research interests are Latina/o Studies, Central American Studies, Border Studies, Chicana/o Studies, Urban Planning Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies. After graduation Yaquelin hopes to continue working with the poetry/activist community and help develop a bridge between community work, performance, and non traditional educational routes.

Didier Morelli

Didier Morelli is an interdisciplinary artist and scholar who combines practice and research in both his academic and performative explorations. His dissertation investigates the relationship between the body of the artist and the infrastructure of the city in Los Angeles and New York City between 1970 and 1985, with specific attention to how performance art resists, renegotiates, and responds to architectural and urban functionalism. The project offers a historical genealogy, conceptual framework, and practical entry point into architecturally engaged practices. Additional research interests include the history of conceptual art, institutional critique, pedagogy within the arts, media, as well as athletics and the culture of sport. Morelli hopes to continue his professional career as an artist while teaching.

Cordelia Rizzo

Cordelia Rizzo Is an activist-scholar from Monterrey, Mexico. With a background in Human Rights and Philosophy, her current research project is looking at embroidery as a form of performing resistance against the dehumanizing apparatus of the current War on Drugs in Mexico. The production of textiles is a way of preserving an archive of women’s voices implicitly resisting the idea that war and violence are inevitable. She is also interested in the political aspect of the performance of touch and other everyday rituals.

Arnaldo Rodríguez-Bagué

Arnaldo Rodríguez-Bagué is an interdisciplinary artist, curator, and a practice-as-research scholar. He received an MA on Cultural Management (2015) and a BA in Anthropology (2012) both from the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus. Rodríguez-Bagué’s research project focuses on contemporary visual art and performance on colonial insular geographies in the Caribbean and the Pacific islands. His project articulates an archipelagic performance in relation to the queer possibilities produced by the intersections of geography, colonialism, and climate change in the age of the Anthropocene. His research interest center around Performance Theory, Archipelagic American Studies, Caribbean Studies, Pacific Studies, Critical Geography, Transnationalism and Globalization, Decolonial Theory, Postcolonial Theory, Environmental Humanities, Eco-criticism, and New Materialism.

Danielle Ross

Danielle Ross is a choreographer and performer. Her research examines movement-based artists that work in transnational contexts and consider women’s histories which face erasure and absence. Ross’ work asks how motion (both choreographic and geographic) provides an analytic for historicizing and keeping in relation to variously formed lineages. Ross’ project sits at the intersection of Performance Studies, Dance Studies, Black Feminisms, Postcolonial Studies, Transnational Studies, and Women’s Studies. This work considers the relational histories of marginalized groups outside of a framework of the nation or forms of documentation legislated by dominant histories and archival practices. Opposing analytics of capture, Ross’ research considers sensation, affect, and motion as methods for maintaining relationality to lineage. In addition to her research, Ross is an independent artist and choreographer. Her work has been presented across the United States, including Portland, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Chicago, Seattle, and Detroit. She has received grants from numerous institutions including the Regional Arts and Culture Council and the Andy Warhol Foundation. Currently, she is working on a solo project titled You Are Not Alone and a duet with Ginger Krebs (School of the Art Institute of Chicago). As a performer, she has worked with Linda Austin, Ayako Kato, lu yim, Bouchra Ouizguen, Zoe|Juniper, and more. Find more at

Enzo E. Vasquez Toral

Enzo E. Vasquez Toral is a theater director, scholar, and performer originally from Peru. His doctoral work focuses on queer and trans engagement in patron-saint fiestas, folklore, and religiosity in the Andes, with a special focus on the theorization of ritual cross-dressing from queer and trans perspectives through ethnographic and historiographical methods. He has presented his academic and performance work in conference and theater festivals in Latin America, the United States and Europe; most recently, he has been touring his solo performed-ethnography piece Cuir Devotion. His academic work in English and Spanish has been published or is forthcoming in publications such as Modern DramaEl AltoKeywords;For Further Consideration, and several edited volumes. He currently serves as Assistant Chair for the Public Affairs Residential College at Northwestern, and as Graduate Representative for the Performance Studies Focus Group in the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE). Enzo holds MA degrees from Northwestern University and Princeton University, and a BA from Harvard University. Formerly, he was a Graduate Fellow at Northwestern’s Center for Native American and Indigenous Research (CNAIR), a Harvard Artistic Development Fellow in Brazil, and the Director and Founder of Princeton University’s Spanish Theater group. Before coming to Northwestern, Enzo was an Exchange Scholar in the Department of Theater and Performance Studies at Stanford University.

Chaunesti Webb

Chaunesti Webb is a PhD candidate and interdisciplinary artist working at the intersection of performance, race, gender, and political economy. Her research interests include Black performance theory, contemporary Black feminist performance, Black feminist theory, performance art history, and feminist art history. Her dissertation examines alternative Black performance aesthetics by investigating how artists theorize and manifest risk, physical vulnerability, and alterity to reimagine identity, forms of belonging, and care in contemporary Black life. With a background in ensemble-based performance, contemplative arts, and devised theater, Chaunesti holds a BA in Communication Studies from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and an MFA in Theater and Contemporary Performance from Naropa University.

Benjamin Zender

Benjamin Zender considers practices of hoarding and abject object management in relationship to the labor of minoritarian archives. He is interested in how normative conceptions of household management help to demarcate whose lives and objects are worthy of documentation and communal memory. His research areas include queer and trans theory, feminist theory, affect studies, new materialisms, critical race theory, disability studies, and critical university studies. Zender received an M.A. in Composition and Rhetoric from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a B.A. in Writing and Rhetoric from Syracuse University.)