About Me

Website

www.cgrobe.com 

Degrees

Ph.D. (2011), M.Phil./M.A. (2009), Yale University, English Department

B.A. (2005), Yale University, English & Theatre Studies Departments

Overview

I specialize in the twentieth-century entanglement of literature, performance, media, and technology in American culture. Following "performance" wherever it goes, I study the role of personal storytelling in politics and art (e.g., The Art of Confession), the place of the theater in print-centric literary studies (e.g., "On Book"), the theatricality of American electoral politics (e.g., "The Artist Is President"), and the role artists play in constructing technology and determining its cultural significance (e.g., "Every Nerve Keyed Up").

My current research explores how ideas and people from the arts are imported into STEM research and the tech industry. Among other things, this project covers: (a) the role of MFA writers, dramatists, and actors in crafting voice-user interfaces (e.g., Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant), (b) the history of A.I. as a theatrical problem, and (c) the use of dance notation, acting theory, and ideas from puppeteering in the present-day design of social robots.

Publications

Books
  • The Art of Confession: The Performance of Self from Robert Lowell to Reality TV (NYU Press, 2017). (Link)
  • Imitation Games: Actors, Robots, and the Art of Seeming Human (manuscript in progress)
Journal Articles
  • "The Artist Is President: 'Performance Art' and Other Keywords in the Age of Donald Trump," Critical Inquiry (Summer 2020).
  • "On Book: The Performance of Reading," New Literary History 47.4 (Autumn 2016): 567-589. (Link)
  • contributor to "A Constellation of Imagined Theatres: Technology and Performance," ed. Daniel Sack, Theatre Journal 68.3 (September 2016): 379-403. (Link)
  • "Why It's 'Easier to Act with a Telephone than a Man,'" Theatre Survey 57.2 (May 2016): 175-199. (Link)
  • “Every Nerve Keyed Up: 'Telegraph Plays' and Networked Performance, 1850-1900," Theater 46.2 (Spring 2016): 7-33. (Link)
  • “The Breath of the Poem: Confessional Print/Performance Circa 1959."  PMLA 127.2 (March 2012): 215-230. (Link)
  • “Love and Loneliness: Secular Morality in the Plays of Conor McPherson.” Princeton University Library Chronicle 68.1-2 (2006): 684-704.
    • (excerpted in the Norton anthology of Modern and Contemporary Irish Drama, 563-568)
Book Chapters
  • “Sound, or, An Essay on 'O'” in Further Reading, ed. Leah Price & Matthew Rubery (Oxford UP, 2020).
  • “Playing with Technodollies: The TV Actress and Other Technologies,” Orphan Black: Performance, Gender, Biopolitics, ed. Andrea Goulet and Robert Rushing (Intellect Books, 2018).
  • contributor to Imagined Theatres: Writing for a Theoretical Stage, ed. Daniel Sack (Routledge, 2017): 140, 192-3, 233. (Link)
  • "Advertisements for Themselves: Poetry, Confession, and the Arts of Publicity," American Literature in Transition, 1950-1960, ed. Steven Belletto (Cambridge UP, 2017): 238-250. (Link)
  • "From the Podium to the Second Row: The Vanishing Feel of an Anne Sexton Reading" in This Business of Words: Reassessing Anne Sexton, (UP of Florida, 2017): 127-140. (Link
Editorial Projects
  • "The Anne Sexton Reading Poems" in This Business of Words: Reassessing Anne Sexton, University Press of Florida (2017): 141-154. (Link)
    • A collection of poems sent to Sexton by her fans about the experience of attending her poetry readings.
Reviews & Other Short Essays
  • “The Democratic convention was super awkward,” essay for the Washington Post, 21 August 2020. (Link)
  • “Offending the Audience,” essay for the Lights Camera Action Committee, 18 December 2019. (Link)
  • Review of It's All Allowed: The Performances of Adrian HowellsTDR: The Drama Review 62.1 (Spring 2018): 207-208. (Link)
  • "The Case of the Missing Detective: William Gillette's Sherlock Holmes Rediscovered and Restored," Los Angeles Review of Books (January 2016). Online.  (Link)
  • Review of Bodies on the Line: Performance and the Sixties Poetry Reading by Raphael Allison, New England Quarterly 88.3 (September 2015): 532-4.  (Link)
  • "Hollywood Calling: Luise Rainer, Sally Hawkins, and the First Law of Telephone Scenes," Los Angeles Review of Books (January 2015). Online.  (Link)
  • "Lending An Ear," Public Books (May 2014). Online.  (Link)
  • "Memoir 2.0; or, Confession Gone Wild," Public Books (March 2013). Online.  (Link)
  • Review of American Poetry in Performance: From Walt Whitman to Hip Hop.  Modern Drama 55.4 (Winter 2012): 579-81. (Link)
  • "Refined Mechanicals; Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Share the Stage: New Scholarship on Theater and Media." Theater 42.2 (May 2012): 139-146. (Link)
  • “Canonical Improvisations: The Case of Them.” Theater 41.2 (2011): 5-7. (Link)
  • “Twice Real: Marina Abramović and the Performance Archive.” Theater 41.1 (2011): 104-113. (Link)
  • The New Haven Independent (head theater critic, 2007-2008)
  • The Village Voice (contributing theater critic, 2008-2010)