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, Performing Arabs, Staging Islam and American Politics, and Orientalism. 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. As artist/scholar, his field work intersects with theatre practice as a director and writer.
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.
Jennifer DeVere Brody
Professor of Theater and Performance StudiesOn Leave from 09/01/2021 To 03/31/2022
BioJennifer DeVere Brody graduated with a B.A. in Victorian Studies from Vassar College and did her graduate work in English and American Literature at the University of Pennsylvania which awarded her the Thurgood Marshall Prize for Academics and Community Service. Her scholary essays have appeared in Theatre Journal, Signs, Genders, Callaloo, Screen, Text and Performance Quarterly and in numerous edited volumes. Her books, Impossible Purities: Blackness, Femininity and Victorian Culture (Duke University Press, 1998) and Punctuation: Art, Politics and Play (Duke University Press, 2008) both discuss relations among and between sexuality, gender, racailization, visual studies and performance. 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 received that Monette-Horwitz Prize for Independent Research Against Homophobia. 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 and subjectivity as well as black feminist theory, black queer studies and contemporary cultural studies. She co-edited a re-publication of James Baldwin’s illustrated book, Little Man, Little Man and is writing a new book about the intersections of sculpture and performance in the work of Edmonia Lewis. She held the Weinberg College of Board of Visitors Professorship at Northwestern University and was a member of Duke University's African & African American Studies Dept. for three years. She co-edits GLQ with Riley Snorton.
BioKara Davis, Co-Artistic Director of project agora, danced for Atlanta Ballet, Ohio Ballet, SF Opera Ballet, and Ballet Jörgen in Toronto, Ontario. She is a founding member of KUNST-STOFF and Janice Garrett & Dancers both of whom she danced for ten years. She has performed choreography by Margaret Jenkins, Alex Ketley, Amy Raymond, Pearl Ubungen, Val Caniparoli (ACT), Holly Johnston, and Robert Moses. She has received multiple Isadora Duncan awards and nominations. Her choreography has been presented at the Bates Dance Festival, Edinburgh Fringe Festival ACDA Nationals at the Kennedy Center, ODC Theater, YBCA, SF MOMA and Headlands Center For The Arts,. She has taught and choreographed at LINES Dominican University and Training Program since 2005. She earned her MFA from Hollins University in 2013.
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.