School of Humanities and Sciences
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Assistant Professor of Theater and Performance Studies
BioSamer is Assistant Professor of Theatre And Performance Studies, and a member of the faculty at the Center for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity (CCSRE) and the Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies. Before coming to Stanford, he has taught at various institutions (Davidson College, Florida State University) on a wide range of topics, including Conflict and Theatre, Arab Theatre and Culture, Palestinian Theatre, Staging Islam and American Politics, and Orientalism and the Victorians. At Stanford, he teaches courses concerned with identity, race, and ethnicity at the intersection of Islam and the Arts His international research is focused on the cultural dimensions of the Arab World, the Middle East, and Islamicate regions. He has taught widely on topics of Western and non-Western theater as well as American, Middle Eastern, and Global performance. As artist/scholar, his fieldwork intersects with theatre practice as a director and writer. His work appeared in Theatre Research International, Alt.Theatre, Performance Paradigm, Critical Survey, Theatre Survey, Jadaliyya, Counterpunch, This Week In Palestine, and various edited volumes, such as Palgrave’s Performing For Survival, Edinburgh Press’ Being Palestinian, and the Freedom Theatre’s recently published Performing Cultural Resistance in Palestine. He is the co-editor of the anthology Stories Under Occupation and Other Plays from Palestine (Seagull Press/University of Chicago Press) and Arab, Politics, Performance (Routledge - Forthcoming). He edited a collection of plays: Youth Plays from Gaza (Bloomsbury Press). Courses taught include: Performing Identities, Race and Performance, Advanced Directing: Actor-Director Dialog, Making Your Own Solo Show, Edward Said: Scholar Vs Empire, Performing Arabs, Introduction to Comparative Race and Ethnicity, New Play Development, and World Theater History. Samer serves on the advisory boards of Arab Stages and Golden Thread Productions in San Francisco.
Areas of expertise: Theory; History; Criticism; Middle East Studies, Western Theater, Non-Western theater, Race and Performance, Middle Eastern Theatre; Islam and the Arts; Arab Theatre; Directing; Historiography; Postcolonialism; Nationalism; Ethnography; Performance, Politics, Casting, and Collaboration.
BioNina Ball (she/ her) is an award winning scenic designer whose professional work has been seen at American Conservatory Theater, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, California Shakespeare Theater, Shotgun Players, San Francisco Playhouse, Marin Theatre Company, Aurora Theatre Company, Center Repertory Theatre, UC Berkeley TDPS, TheatreFIRST, The Cutting Ball Theater, San Jose Repertory Theatre, San Francisco Mime Troupe, and Z Space, among many others. She has been a company member at Shotgun Players in Berkeley since 2009 as well as TheatreFIRST (also in Berkeley) since 2018.
Recent awards include a Theatre Bay Area award for "The Nether" at San Francisco Playhouse; San Francisco Bay Area Critic Circle awards for her designs of "My Fair Lady" at San Francisco Playhouse and "Metamorphosis" at the Aurora; a Shellie award for "Mirandolina" at Center REP; a Broadway World San Francisco Award for "Care of Trees" at Shotgun Players and an Arty Award for her design of "Eurydice" at Solano College Theatre. In addition to theatre, Ms. Ball is also a production designer and has worked on numerous film, TV and commercial productions locally and in LA.
Ms. Ball holds a bachelor degree in biology with an emphasis in marine ecology from UC Santa Cruz and studied visual art and photography at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York City. She received her masters degree in scenic design with a costume design secondary from San Francisco State University.
She is also a lecturer at UC Berkeley where she teaches Design for Performance in the Theatre Dance and Performance Studies department.
Ms. Ball is a member of United Scenic Artists, Local 829.
Senior Lecturer of Theater and Performance Studies
BioBecky Bodurtha is a professional costume designer with regional, international and New York City credits. Recent credits include Drowing in Cairo (Potrero Stage), Felix Starro (Theatre Ma-Yi), Open (The Tank), 1000 Nights and One Day (Prospect Theatre Company), and Mr. Burns (NYU Gallatin). Other credits: Constellations (Wilma), The Strangest (East 4th Street), Among the Dead (Theatre Ma-Yi) Passover (Cherry Lane), The Wong Kids in the Secret of the Space Chupacabra, Go! (Theatre Ma-Yi), Livin’ La Vida Imelda (Theatre Ma-Yi), and This Lingering Life (HERE Arts). International credits include Anna in the Tropics (Repertory Philippines), Movement for Humanity and Africa’s Hope for the Ubumuntu Festival in Kigali, Rwanda. Becky is the resident costume designer for Vermont Shakespeare Festival where she recently designed Taming of the Shrew and Julius Caesar. She has served as an assistant costume designer on Broadway as well as on feature film.
Alongside her professional design work, Ms. Bodurtha has been an educator with 15 years of experience in teaching the new generation collaborative design and theatre making.
She received her MFA in Theatre Design from University of Iowa. Please visit her website at: www.beckybodurtha.com
Jennifer DeVere Brody
Professor of Theater and Performance Studies
BioJennifer DeVere Brody (she/her) holds a B.A. in Victorian Studies from Vassar College and an M.A. and Ph.D. in English and American Literature from the University of Pennsylvania. Her scholarship and service in African and African American Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies, visual and performance studies have been recognized by numerous awards: a 2022 Guggenheim Fellowship, a 2023 Virginia Howard Fellowship from the Bogliasco Foundation, support from the Mellon and Ford Foundations, the Monette-Horwitz Prize for Independent Research Against Homophobia, the Royal Society for Theatre Research, and the Thurgood Marshall Prize for Academics and Community Service among others. Her scholarly essays have appeared in Theatre Journal, Signs, Genders, Callaloo, Screen, Text and Performance Quarterly and other journals as well as in numerous edited volumes. Her books include: Impossible Purities: Blackness, Femininity and Victorian Culture (Duke University Press, 1998), Punctuation: Art, Politics and Play (Duke University Press, 2008) and Moving Stones: About the Art of Edmonia Lewis(forthcoming from Duke University Press). She has served as the President of the Women and Theatre Program, on the board of Women and Performance and has worked with the Ford and Mellon Foundations. She co-produced “The Theme is Blackness” festival of black plays in Durham, NC when she taught in African American Studies at Duke University. Her research and teaching focus on performance, aesthetics, politics as well as black feminist theory, black queer studies and contemporary cultural studies. She co-edited, with Nicholas Boggs, the re-publication of James Baldwin’s illustrated book, Little Man, Little Man (Duke UP, 2018). She held the Weinberg College of Board of Visitors Professorship at Northwestern University and has been a tenured professor at six different universities in her thirty year career. Her expertise in Queer Studies fostered her work as co-editor ,with C. Riley Snorton, of the flagship journal GLQ. She serves on the Editorial Board of Transition and key journals in global 19th Century Studies. At Stanford, she served as Chair of the Theater & Performance Studies Department (2012-2015) and Faculty Director of the Center for Comparative Studies in Race & Ethnicity (2016-2021) where she won a major grant from the Mellon Foundation and developed the original idea for an Institute on Race Studies.
Senior Vice Provost for Education, Vice President for the Arts, Freeman-Thornton Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education and the Olive H. Palmer Professor in Humanities, Emeritus
BioVice Provost for Undergraduate Education; Olive H. Palmer Professor in the Humanities; Robert and Ruth Halperin University Fellow for Undergraduate Education; Director of the Institute for Diversity in the Arts. Harry J. Elam, Jr. is the Olive H. Palmer Professor in the Humanities and the Freeman-Thornton Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education at Stanford University.
He is author of and editor of seven books, Taking It to the Streets: The Social Protest Theater of Luis Valdez and Amiri Baraka; The Past as Present in the Drama of August Wilson (Winner of the 2005 Errol Hill Award from the American Society of Theatre Research); and co‑editor of four books, African American Performance and Theater History: A Critical Reader; Colored Contradictions: An Anthology of Contemporary African American Drama; The Fire This Time: African American Plays for the New Millennium; and Black Cultural Traffic: Crossroads in Performance and Popular Culture. His articles have appeared in American Drama, Modern Drama, Theatre Journal, Text and Performance Quarterly as well as journals in Israel, Taiwan and Poland and several critical anthologies. Professor Elam is also the former editor of Theatre Journal and on the editorial boards of Atlantic Studies, Journal of American Drama and Theatre, and Modern Drama. He was elected to the College of Fellows of the American Theatre in April 2006. In August 2006 he won the Betty Jean Jones Outstanding Teaching Award from the American Theatre and Drama Society and in November 2006 he won the Distinguished Scholar Award form the American Society of Theatre Research. In July 2014, Elam received the Association of Theatre in Higher education’s highest award for theatre scholars, the Career Achievement Award.
In addition to his scholarly work, he has directed professionally for over twenty years: most notably, he directed Tod, the Boy Tod by Talvin Wilks for the Oakland Ensemble Company, and for TheatreWorks in Palo Alto California, he directed Jar the Floor by Cheryl West and Blues for an Alabama Sky by Pearl Cleague, which was nominated for nine Bay Area Circle Critics Awards and was the winner of DramaLogue Awards for Best Production, Best Design, Best Ensemble Cast and Best Direction. He has directed several of August Wilson's plays, including Radio Golf, Joe Turner's Come and Gone, Two Trains Running, and Fences, the latter of which won eight Bay Area “Choice” Awards.
At Stanford he has been awarded five different teaching awards: The ASSU Award for Undergraduate Teaching, Small Classes (1992); the Humanities and Sciences Deans Distinguished Teaching Award (1993); the Black Community Service Center Outstanding Teacher Award (1994), The Bing Teaching Fellowship for Undergraduate Teaching (1994-1997); The Rhodes Prize for Undergraduate Teaching (1998).
He received his AB from Harvard College in 1978 and his Ph.D. in Dramatic Arts from the University of California Berkeley in 1984.
Artist-in-Residence in the Department of Theater and Performance Studies
BioAmy Freed is the author of Restoration Comedy, The Beard of Avon, Freedomland, Safe in Hell, The Psychic Life of Savages, You, Nero and other plays. She 's a past recipient of the Charles McArthur Playwriting Award (D.C.) The New York Art's Club Joseph Kesserling Award, a several-times winner of the LA Critic's Circle Award, and a Pulitzer Prize Finalist. Her work has been produced at South Coast Repertory Theater, New York Theater Workshop, Seattle Repertory, American Conservatory Theater, Yale Rep, California Shakespeare Theater, Berkeley Rep, the Goodman, Playwright's Horizons, Woolly Mammoth, Arena Stage and other theaters around the country.
Her most recent play is The Monster Builder, and she is developing commissions for Berkeley Rep, South Coast Rep and Arena Stage. She is currently Artist-in-Residence at Stanford University and also holds a Mellon Foundation Playwriting Residency for the Arena Stage in Washington, D.C.