Bio


Matthew Wilson Smith’s interests include modern theatre and relations between science, technology, and the arts. His book The Nervous Stage: 19th-century Neuroscience and the Birth of Modern Theatre (Oxford, 2017) explores historical intersections between theatre and neurology and traces the construction of a “neural subject” over the course of the nineteenth century. It was a finalist for the George Freedley Memorial Award of the Theater Library Association. His previous book, The Total Work of Art: From Bayreuth to Cyberspace (Routledge, 2007), presents a history and theory of attempts to unify the arts; the book places such diverse figures as Wagner, Moholy-Nagy, Brecht, Riefenstahl, Disney, Warhol, and contemporary cyber-artists within a coherent genealogy of multimedia performance. He is the editor of Georg Büchner: The Major Works, which appeared as a Norton Critical Edition in 2011, and the co-editor of Modernism and Opera (Johns Hopkins, 2016), which was shortlisted for an MSA Book Prize. His essays on theater, opera, film, and virtual reality have appeared widely, and his work as a playwright has appeared at the Eugene O’Neill Musical Theater Conference, Richard Foreman’s Ontological-Hysteric Theater, and other stages. He previously held professorships at Cornell University and Boston University as well as visiting positions at Columbia University and Johannes Gutenberg-Universität (Mainz).

Academic Appointments


  • Professor, German Studies
  • Professor, Theater and Performance Studies

Administrative Appointments


  • Chair, Theater & Performance Studies, Stanford University (2019 - Present)
  • Professor, Departments of German Studies and Theatre & Performance Studies, Stanford University (2018 - Present)
  • Associate Professor, Departments of German Studies and Theatre & Performance Studies, Stanford University (2013 - 2018)
  • Faculty Fellow, Cornell Society for the Humanities (2012 - 2013)
  • Associate Professor, Department of Comparative Literature, Cornell University (2011 - 2013)
  • Faculty Member, Harvard University, Mellon School of Theatre and Performance Research (2011 - 2011)
  • Associate Professor, Department of English, Boston University (2009 - 2012)
  • Junior Faculty Fellow, Boston University Center for the Humanities (2005 - 2006)
  • Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University (2004 - 2005)
  • Assistant Professor, Department of English, Boston University (2002 - 2009)
  • Instructor, American Studies Department, Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz (2000 - 2001)
  • Instructor, Columbia University (1997 - 2000)

Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations


  • Member, Editorial Board, Modern Drama
  • Submissions Reader, Routledge (Theatre and Performance Studies lists)
  • Submissions Reader, Northwestern University Press (Performance Studies list)
  • Submissions Reader, PMLA
  • Submissions Reader, Theatre Topics
  • Submissions Reader, Contemporary Literature
  • Submissions Reader, Forum Modernes Theater (Germany)
  • Chair of Undergraduate Studies, German Studies, Stanford University (2013 - Present)
  • Member, DAAD Application Review Committee, Cornell University (2011 - 2012)
  • Course Leader for Graduate Student Instructors, Cornell University (2011 - 2012)
  • Member, Humanities Curriculum Committee, Boston University (2010 - 2011)
  • Chair, Humanities Curriculum Committee, Boston University (2011 - 2011)
  • Member, Humanities Foundation Executive Committee, Boston University (2010 - 2011)
  • Member, Graduate Admissions Committee, Department of English, Boston University (2008 - 2011)
  • Member, Curriculum Review Committee, Department of English, Boston University (2007 - 2008)
  • Member, Curriculum Review Committee, Department of English, Boston University (2010 - 2011)
  • Member, Directorial Committee, Luce Program in Scripture and the Literary Arts, Boston University (2008 - 2009)
  • Member, Merit Committee, Department of English, Boston University (2008 - 2008)
  • Member, Merit Committee, Department of English, Boston University (2009 - 2009)
  • Acting Associate Chair, Department of English, Boston University (2007 - 2007)
  • Member, Graduate Admissions Committee, Boston University (2005 - 2006)
  • Co-organizer, Tertulia Junior Faculty Colloquium, Boston University (2005 - 2006)
  • Member, Hiring Committee, British Modernism & Women’s Studies, Boston University (2005 - 2006)
  • Member, Hiring Committee, Contemporary American Fiction, Boston University (2003 - 2004)
  • Member, CAS Academic Conduct Committee, Boston University (2003 - 2003)
  • Chair, Fitzgerald Translation Prize Committee, Boston University (2003 - 2003)
  • Judge, KCACTF Region 1 Dramaturgy Prize (2009 - 2009)
  • Program Notes Author, “Brecht’s Edward II,” Red Bull Theatre, NYC (2008 - 2008)

Program Affiliations


  • Modern Thought and Literature

Professional Education


  • Ph.D., Columbia University, English and Comparative Literature (Theatre Subcommittee) (2002)
  • M.A., Columbia University, English and Comparative Literature (Theatre Subcommittee) (1997)
  • M.A., University of Chicago, Religion (1995)
  • B.A., Brown University, History (1993)

2019-20 Courses


Stanford Advisees


  • Doctoral Dissertation Reader (AC)
    Kari Barclay
  • Doctoral Dissertation Advisor (AC)
    Meryem Deniz, Matt Stone
  • Doctoral (Program)
    Danielle Adair, Meryem Deniz

All Publications


  • The Nervous Stage: Nineteenth-Century Neuroscience and the Birth of Modern Theater (Book Review) NINETEENTH-CENTURY LITERATURE Book Review Authored by: Meeuwis, M. 2018; 73 (1): 135–37
  • Streamlined Synthesis of Polycyclic Conjugated Hydrocarbons Containing Cyclobutadienoids via C–H Activated Annulation and Aromatization JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY Jin, Z., Teo, Y. C., Zulaybar, N. G., Smith, M. D., Xia, Y. 2017; 139: 1806–1809

    Abstract

    The juxtaposition of fused cyclobutadienoid (CBD) with benzenoid creates intriguing alternating antiaromatic and aromatic conjugation. Synthetic accessibility of such molecules, however, has been challenging and limited in scope. We report a modular and streamlined synthetic strategy to access a large variety of polycyclic conjugated hydrocarbons with fused CBD. Synthesis was achieved through efficient palladium-catalyzed C-H activated annulation between abundant aryl bromides and oxanorbornenes, followed by aromatization under acidic conditions. The influence of four-membered ring was examined using spectroscopy, crystallography, and computation. This strategy will facilitate exploration on the chemical, structural, and electronic properties of such conjugated systems containing CBD.

    View details for DOI 10.1021/jacs.6b12888

  • Georg Büchner, J.M.W. Turner, and the Materiality of the Senses Georg Büchner: Contemporary Perspectives Smith, M. W. Brill. 2017: 344–353
  • Wagner and Neuroaesthetics Transformative Aesthetics Smith, M. W. Routledge. 2017: 129–144
  • Modernism and Opera MODERNISM AND OPERA Begam, R., Smith, M. W. 2016: 1–378
  • Restoration Dramas: Hofmannsthal's The Great World Theater of Salzburg and Cocteau's Antigone 1922: LITERATURE, CULTURE, POLITICS Smith, M., Rabate, J. M. 2015: 183–95
  • Tannhäuser und das demokratische Gefühl im Amerika des Gilded Age Tannhäuser—Werkstatt der Gefühle, Smith, M. W. Rombach. 2014: 201–210
  • The Theatre of the Bauhaus: The Modern and Postmodern Stage of Oskar Schlemmer (Book Review) MODERN DRAMA Book Review Authored by: Smith, M. W. 2012; 55 (1): 162-164
  • Georg Büchner: The Major Works edited by Smith, M. W. New York: Norton. 2012
  • GESAMTKUNSTWERK AND GLITCH Robert Lepage's Ring across Media THEATER Smith, M. 2012; 42 (2): 65–77
  • Victorian Railway Accident and the Melodramatic Imagination MODERN DRAMA Smith, M. W. 2012; 55 (4): 497-522
  • Total Theatre, Total Art, Total Market Scene Shifts Smith, M. W. edited by Arrhenius, S., Berg, M., Florin, M. Stockholm: Albert Bonnier. 2011: 174–180
  • LIQUID WALLS The Digital Art of Tamiko Thiel PAJ-A JOURNAL OF PERFORMANCE AND ART Smith, M. W. 2010: 25-34
  • Bernard Shaw: A Life (Book Review) MODERN DRAMA Book Review Authored by: Smith, M. W. 2008; 51 (2): 300-302
  • American valkyries: Richard Wagner, D.W. Griffith, and the birth of classical cinema MODERNISM-MODERNITY Smith, M. W. 2008; 15 (2): 221-242
  • Orson Welles The Routledge Companion to Directors’ Shakespeare Smith, M. W. edited by Brown, J. R. New York and London: Routledge. 2008: 493–508
  • The Wild Duck: A Play of Play Drama Criticism Smith, M. W. Detroit, MI: Gale Cengage. 2008
  • Poetry of the revolution: Marx, manifestos, and the avant-gardes. (Book Review) THEATRE SURVEY Book Review Authored by: Smith, M. 2007; 48 (1): 202-206
  • Print and the poetics of modern drama. (Book Review) THEATRE SURVEY Book Review Authored by: Smith, M. 2007; 48 (1): 202-206
  • The Total Work of Art: From Bayreuth to Cyberspace Smith, M. W. New York and London: Routledge. 2007
  • The Total Work of Art: From Bayreuth to Cyberspace Smith, M. W. Routledge. 2007
  • Bayreuth, Disneyland, and the Return to Nature Modern Drama: Critical Concepts Smith, M. W. edited by Puchner, M. London and New York: Routledge. 2007: 349–71
  • Laughing at the Redeemer: Kundry and the Paradox of Parsifal Modernist Cultures Smith, M. W. edited by Begam, R. 2007: 5–25
  • All theater is revolutionary theater. (Book Review) GERMAN QUARTERLY Book Review Authored by: Smith, M. 2006; 79 (2): 284-285
  • Vocal apparitions: The attraction of cinema to opera (Book Review) OPERA QUARTERLY Book Review Authored by: Smith, M. W. 2006; 22 (1): 170-172

    View details for DOI 10.1093/oq/kbi079

    View details for Web of Science ID 000244610900017

  • Scenography Oxford Encyclopedia of Theatre and Performance Smith, M. W. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2003: 1193
  • Scenery Oxford Encyclopedia of Theatre and Performance Smith, M. W. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2003: 1196–1209
  • The Weight of History: Max Frisch’s Andorra at the Lucille Lortel Theater Smith, M. W. 2003; 33 (1): 77-78
  • The 'Wild Duck': A play of play (Ibsen) MODERN DRAMA Smith, M. W. 2002; 45 (1): 9-22
  • Schlemmer, Moholy-Nagy, and the search for the absolute stage (The Bauhaus Totaltheater project) THEATER Smith, M. W. 2002; 32 (3): 87-101
  • Bayreuth, Disneyland, and the Return to Nature Land/Scape/Theater Smith, M. W. edited by Chaudhuri, U., Fuchs, E. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. 2002: 87–102
  • Joseph Urban and the Birth of American Film Design Architect of Dreams: The Theatrical Vision of Joseph Urban Smith, M. W. edited by Aronson, A. New York: Wallace Gallery, Columbia University. 2000: 48–55
  • 'Angels in America' - A progressive apocalypse (Tony Kushner) THEATER Smith, M. W. 1999; 29 (3): 152-165