people / faculty / Shannon Jackson


Shannon Jackson

PhD, Northwestern
Richard and Rhoda Goldman Chair, Arts & Humanities
Full CV
215 Dwinelle Annex
Research Interests
Performance theory
Contemporary visual and performance art
American studies

Sex/gender/race studies
History of disciplines
Solo performance

New media theatre


Shannon Jackson is Professor of Rhetoric and of Theater, Dance and Performance Studies. She is also currently the Director of the Arts Research Center. Her most recent book is Social Works: Performing Art, Supporting Publics, and she is also working on a book about The Builders Association. Other awards and grants include: Lilla Heston Award for Outstanding Scholarship in Performance Studies (NCA); Junior Faculty Fellowship, Radcliffe College; the Kahan Scholar’s Prize in Theatre History (ASTR); the Spencer Foundation Dissertation fellowship; the Black Theater Network; the National Endowment for the Humanities, and several project grants from the Walter and Elise Haas Fund, UCIRA, the San Francisco Foundation, and the LEF Foundation. Selected adaptation, performance, and directing credits: White Noises, The Smell of Death and Flowers, Hull-House Women, Catastrophe, The Successful Life of 3. Jackson serves on the boards of Cal Performances, the Berkeley Art Museum, and the Berkeley Center for New Media.  She serves on the editorial boards of several journals, has been a keynote speaker at a variety of international symposia, and has co-organized conferences and residencies with the Arts Research Center, The Builders Association, Touchable Stories, American Society of Theatre Research, the American Studies Association, the Women and Theatre Project, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, the Multi-campus Research Group on International Performance, and UCB’s Center for Community Innovation.  Jackson was an Erasmus Mundus visiting professor in Paris at the Maison des Sciences de l’Homme Nord and at the Université Libre de Bruxelles for the 2008-09 academic year. Before moving to Berkeley, Jackson was an assistant professor of English and Literature at Harvard University from 1995 to 1998.



The Builders Association: New Media for 'Old' Theatre (with Marianne Weems), contracted with MIT Press
Social Works: Performing Art, Supporting Publics (New York and London; Routledge, February 2011)
Professing Performance: Theatre in the Academy from Philolgy to Performativity (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge UP, December 2004)
Chapters in Edited Collections

"Life Politics/Life Aesthetics: Environmental Performance in red, black, & GREEN: a blues," Politics of Space: Theatre and Topology. Edited by Erika Fischer-Lichte and Benjamin Wihstutz (London and New York: Routledge, 2012). [peer-reviewed]

"Kleenex Citizens and the Politics of Disposability in France," Scales of Production: Performance and Internationalism, Ed. John Rouse (London: Palgrave, forthcoming). [peer-reviewed]
“When ‘Everything Counts’: Experimental Performance and Performance Historiography,” Representing the Past: Essays in Performance and Historiography, Eds. Canning and Postlewait, (Iowa UP, 2010) [peer reviewed]
“When Is Art Research?,” Scholarly Acts, eds. Lynette Hunter and Shannon Riley, (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009).[peer-reviewed] [pdf]
“Rhetoric in Ruins,” Contesting Performance, eds. Jon McKenzie and Heike Roms, (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009) [peer-reviewed] [pdf]
“Toward a Queer Social Welfare Studies,” Ed. Carol Nackenoff, et al, Jane Addams and the Practice of Democracy: Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Theory and Practice, (Urbana: University of Illinois P, January 2009); reprinted in Jane Addams: Re-Reading the Canon, Ed. Maurice Hamington (Penn State University Press, 2010). [both peer reviewed] [pdf]
“What is the “social” in Social Practice: Comparing Experiments in Performance,” Cambridge Handbook of Performance Studies, Ed. Tracy Davis (Cambridge UP 2008). [peer-reviewed] [pdf]
“Settling: Die Pädagogik der Performance in Hull-House,” Persistenz und Verschwinden ed. by Michael Göhlich, Caroline Hopf, Daniel Tröhler, Wiesbaden (VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, 2008).[pdf]

"Institutional Genealogies of Performance Studies,"   Sage Handbook of Performance Studies Ed. Madison et al (New York: Sage, December 2005).

"Touchable Stories and the Infrastructural Imagination," Rememberings: Performance and Oral History, Ed. Della Pollock (St. Martin's Press, October 2005).

"Professing Performance: Disciplinary Genealogies," reprinted in The Performance Studies Reader, Ed. Henry Bial (London: Routledge, 2004).

"Why Modern Drama is Not Culture: Disciplinary Blind Spots," reprinted in Performance: Critical Concepts , ed. Philip Auslander (New York: Routledge, 2003) and in Modern Drama: Defining the Field, Eds. Richard Knowles, Joanne Tompkins, W.B. Worthen (Toronto: U of Toronto P, 2003)

"Theatricality's Proper Objects: Genealogies of Performance and Gender," Theatricality, Eds. Tracy Davis and Tom Postlewait (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2003).

"Performance at Hull-House: Museum, Micro-fiche, Historiography," Exceptional Spaces: Essays in Performance and History, ed. Della Pollock (Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 1998), 261-93. 

Essays in Peer-Reviewed Journals

"Just-in-Time: Precarity, Affect, and the Labor of Performance," The Drama Review (Spring 2012)

"Working Publics," Performance Research (Spring 2011).

"Concentrating Creativity: An Exploration of Informal and Formal Arts Districts," Karen Chapple, Shannon Jackson, Ann Martin, City, Culture and Society, (Spring 2011).
“Toward an Integrated Epistemology,” co-authored with Karen Chapple, Journal of Environment and Space Planning (Spring 2010) [pdf]
“Performing Literature and Performance Studies,” Performance Research (March 2009)

“Theatre…Again,” Art Lies: Special Issue on Theatre, 60 (Winter 2008) [pdf]
“Social Practice,” Lexicons: Special issue of Performance Research (January 2007). Reprinted in documenta 12 magazines, 2007 [pdf]

"Caravans Continued: Remembering Dwight Conquergood," The Drama Review: 50 th Anniversary Issue (Spring 2006). [pdf]

"Performing Show and Tell: On the Disciplinary Problems of Mixed-Media Practice," The Journal of Visual Culture, Special Issue: "Show and Tell: The State of Visual Culture Studies," edited by Martin Jay, August, 2005.

"Resist Singularity," Theatre Survey, Special Issue: "What is the single most important thing we can do to bring theatre history into the new millenium?," edited by Jody Enders, Fall 2004.

"Partial Publicities and Gendered Remembering" Cultural Studies (Fall 2003).
"Why Modern Drama is Not Culture: Disciplinary Blind Spots" Modern Drama (Spring 2002).

"Professing Performance: Disciplinary Genealogies," The Drama Review (Spring 2001) [pdf]

"White Noises: On Performing White, On Writing Performance," The Drama Review (March 1998): 49-65. [pdf]

"Pedagogy and White Privilege: Nadine Gordimer in Performance" Theatre Topics: Special Issue "Pedagogy/Performance" (Fall 1997): 117-38. [link]

"Civic Play-Housekeeping: Gender, Theatre, and American Reform," Theatre Journal: Special Issue "Enacting American" (Fall 1996): 337-61. [pdf]

"Representing Rape: Model Mugging's Discursive and Embodied Performances," The Drama Review (Fall 1993): 110-41. [pdf]

"Rooms of Re-collection: Adrienne Kennedy's Post-Modern Art of Memory," Theatre Annual (Spring 1993): 73-83.

"Audition and Ethnography: Performance as Ideological Critique," Text and Performance Quarterly (Winter 1993): 21-43.

"Performing the Performance of Power in Beckett's Catastrophe," The Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism (Spring 1992): 23-41.



Keynote, “How Are We Performing Today?,” Annual Symposium, Museum of Modern Art, New York, November 2012
Keynote, “Rimini Protokoll’s Parallel Cities Symposium,” University of Zurich, October 2012
Keynote, “Upsetting the Relations: The Politics of the Social in Contemporary Art,” Tate Modern, London, July 2012
"Why the Public Sector Makes Me Cry," Opening Keynote, BIARI Series on Civic Arts, Brown University, June 2012
“Performance and the Museum,” Keynote, Whitney Biennial and Artists Space, May 2012
"Art Works/Social Works," Keynote," Open Engagement: Annual Conference on Socially-Engaged Art," Portland, Oregon, May 2012
Recent Lectures, Seminars and Interviews
"Theaters and Galleries," School of Humanities Spring Lecture, Texas Tech University (April 2012)
"Reality's Referents: Forms of the Real Across the Arts," Keynote, Monsters of Reality: An International Symposium on New Documentary Theatre, University of Oslo (March 2011)
"Arts and Infrastructures in Public Practice," Keynote, Light It Up: Optimizing Public Practice, Arizona State University (October 2011)
"Social Art Works: Social Turns and Reciprocal Systems," The Art, Technology, and Culture Colloquium, UC Berkeley's Center for New Media (September 19, 2011, 7:30-9 p.m., Sutardja Dai Hall, Banatao Auditorium)
"Performance: The Body Politic," An interview with Shannon Jackson by Christina Linden, Art Practical, 2011
"Social Works and the Legacy of Critical Pedagogy in Brazil and Beyond," Organized by Pable Helguera, Museum of Modern Art, New York (July 2011)
"Theaters and Galleries: Medium-Specificity and Cross-Media Performance," The Mellon School of Theater and Performance Research at Harvard University (June 2011)
"Social Aesthetic Questions in Contemporary Arts Research," a seminar in Performance and Media Studies at the Johannes Gutenberg Universitat, Mainz (May 2011)
"Acting In/Stalled," Performance Studies International, Utrecht, Netherlands (May 2011)
"Social Works and Interdisciplinary Arts Research," University of Mainz, Germany, Organized by Michael Bachmann (May 2011); Freie Universitat, Berlin, Organized by Erika Fischer-Lichte (May 2011)
"The Performative Turn in Socially Engaged Art," Freie Universitat, Berlin, Organized by Doris Kolesch (May 2011); University of Oslo, Organized by Ragnhild Tronstad (April 2011)
"Re-skilling: Performance Across Artistic and Social Sectors," Trondheim University, Norway, Organized by Elena Perez (April 2011)
"The Performance Turn: Disciplined Interdisciplinarity," International PerFormativity Seminar at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, NTNU Trondheim, organized by Elena Perez (April 2011)
"Performative Turns in Socially-Engaged Art," The Oslo School of Architecture and Design (April 2011)
Symposium: Reciprocal Aesthetics, Performing Idea, 2009-2010 [video]



  • 2007, Author of the Year, Comparative Drama Association
  • 2005, Best Book, National Communications Association
  • 2005, Best Book, Association for Theatre in Higher Education
  • 2001, Honorable Mention, Best Book, American Studies Association
  • 1997/98, Radicliffe Institute of Advanced Study
  • 1995, Michigan Society of Fellows (declined)
  • 1994/95, National Endowment of the Humanities (declined)
  • 1994/95, Spencer Foundation Fellowship