About Me




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

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


I specialize in the twentieth-century entanglement of literature, performance, media, and technology in US 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 US electoral politics (e.g., "The Artist Is President"), and the role artists play in constructing new technologies and determining their cultural significance (e.g., "Every Nerve Keyed Up").

My current research is going in two directions. In one, I ask how ideas, techniques, and people from the arts are carried over into STEM research and tech-industrial practices. This project covers such phenomena as (a) the role of MFA writers, dramatists, and actors in crafting voice-user interfaces ("The Programming Era"), (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.

The other side of my current research agenda tries to define "performance literacy" for politics--that is, a set of foundational concepts from the theater and from the field of performance theory that can help us see politics more clearly and act politically with greater purpose. I am particularly interested in ideas of political performance that are native to right-wing politics (e.g., "The Deep, Dark Play of the US Capitol Riots").


  • The Art of Confession: The Performance of Self from Robert Lowell to Reality TV (NYU Press, 2017). (Link)
  • Imitation Games: Acting, A.I., and the Arts of Seeming Human (monograph in progress)
  • Performance Literacy for Politics (monograph in progress)
Journal Articles
  • "'A Terrible Art of Sharpshooting at the Audience': Teaching the Shock of Modern Drama via the Play of Ideas," Modern Drama 66.2, Special Issue on "Teaching Modern Drama" (June 2023): 158-178 (Link)
  • "The Programming Era: The Art of Conversation Design, from ELIZA to Alexa," Post45 (Spring 2023) (Link)
  • "The Deep, Dark Play of the US Capitol Riots," Performance Research 27.1, Special Issue "On Protest" (2023) (Link)
  • "The Artist Is President: 'Performance Art' and Other Keywords in the Age of Donald Trump," Critical Inquiry (Summer 2020). (Link)
  • "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). (Link)
  • “Playing with Technodollies: The TV Actress and Other Technologies,” Orphan Black: Performance, Gender, Biopolitics, ed. Andrea Goulet and Robert Rushing (Intellect Books, 2018). (Link)
  • 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
  • "Can the Computer Speak?" (review of Deceitful Media: Artificial Intelligence and Social Life After the Turing Test and The Computer's Voice: From Star Trek to Siri), American Literature 95.2, Special Issue on "Critical AI: A Field in Formation" (June 2023): 439-443. (Link)
  • "Why I'm Not Scared of ChatGPT," essay for The Chronicle of Higher Education, 17 January 2023. (Link)
  • Review of Interchangeable Parts: Acting, Industry, and Technology in US TheaterTheatre Journal 73.2 (Summer 2021): 257-8. (Link)
  • "How to Resist When Resistance Feels Impossible" (review of The Play in the System: The Art of Parasitical Resistance), Performance Research 25.7 (Spring 2021): 167-8. (Link)
  • “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)