Jisha Menon is Professor of Theater and Performance Studies, and (by courtesy) of Comparative Literature. Her research interests lie at the intersection of critical theory and performance studies; law and performance; race and the carceral state; affect theory, cities, and capitalism; gender and sexuality; cosmopolitanism and nationalism. Her current research project, Confessional Performance: The Cultural and Legal Arts of Personhood, explores how legal practices entrench a particular liberal topology of personhood, and how this conception departs from other societies where persons are conceived in more plural and discontinuous ways. The book argues that attending to the fictive constitution of the person within the law allows us to highlight the artifice, indeed, the aesthetics that are central to jurisprudence. Her four books explore arts and aesthetics in relation to neoliberal capitalism, postcolonial nationalism, secularism, and geopolitical conflict. Her newest book, Brutal Beauty: Aesthetics and Aspiration in Urban India (Northwestern UP, 2021) considers the city and the self as aesthetic projects that are renovated in the wake of neoliberal economic reforms in India. The study explores how discourses of beauty are mobilized toward anti-democratic ends. Sketching out scenes of urban aspiration and its dark underbelly, the book delineates the creative and destructive potential of India’s lurch into contemporary capitalism. Her first book, The Performance of Nationalism: India, Pakistan and the Memory of Partition (Cambridge UP, 2013), examines the affective and performative dimensions of nation-making. The book recuperates the idea of "mimesis" to think about political history and the crisis of its aesthetic representation, while examining the mimetic relationality that undergirds the encounter between India and Pakistan. She is also co-editor of two volumes: Violence Performed: Local Roots and Global Routes of Conflict (with Patrick Anderson) (Palgrave-Macmillan Press, 2009) and Performing the Secular: Religion, Representation, and Politics (with Milija Gluhovic) (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017.) She has published essays on the Indian partition, diasporic feminist theatre, political violence and performance, transnational queer theory, and neoliberal urbanism. Previously, she served as Assistant Professor of English at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.

Academic Appointments

  • Professor, Theater and Performance Studies
  • Professor (By courtesy), Comparative Literature

Administrative Appointments

  • Fisher Family Director, Stanford Global Studies (2021 - 2023)
  • Steering Committee, Faculty Women's Forum (2020 - 2022)
  • Senator, Faculty Senate (2020 - 2022)
  • Denning Faculty Director, Stanford Arts Institute (2019 - 2021)
  • Faculty Director, Centre for South Asia, Stanford Global Studies (2017 - 2021)
  • Core Committee, Feminist, Gender, Sexuality Studies (2015 - 2018)
  • Advisory Board, Introductory Seminars (2016 - 2019)
  • Academic Council Committee Member, Committee on Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid (2015 - 2018)
  • Advisory Committee, Centre for South Asia (2015 - 2017)
  • Member, Breadth Governance Board (2015 - 2017)
  • Director of Undergraduate Studies, Theatre and Performance Studies (2014 - 2016)
  • Visiting Faculty, MAIPR Program, University of Warwick (2013 - 2013)
  • Committee in Charge, member, Modern Thought and Literature (2011 - 2015)
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Theatre and Performance Studies Stanford University (2009 - 2015)
  • Assistant Professor, Department of English University of British Columbia (2004 - 2008)

Honors & Awards

  • Violet Andrews Whittier Faculty Fellow, Stanford Humanities Center (2023-24)
  • CCSRE Faculty Research Fellow, Center for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity (2023-24)
  • Principal Investigator (with Professor Grant Parker and Dr. Katherine Kuhns) Oceanic Imaginaries, Changing Human Experience, Humanities and Sciences, Stanford (2023-25)
  • Project Director, Stanford Global Studies, Title VI International and Foreign Language Education, U.S. Department of Education (2022-2026)
  • Marta Sutton Weeks Faculty Scholar in the School of Humanities and Sciences, Stanford University (2022-2025)
  • Principal Investigator (with Professor David Sklansky) Mellon Grant for Imagining Justice, CCSRE, Stanford (2020-)
  • Inaugural Award for Outstanding Leader, Faculty Women's Forum (2020)
  • Fellow, Stanford Fellows Program (2018-2020)
  • Faculty Fellow, Feminist, Gender, Sexuality Studies (2017)
  • Stanford Initiative for Religious and Ethnic Understanding and Coexistence, Stanford (2015)
  • artsCatalyst Grant, Stanford University (2015)
  • Urban Beyond Measure, Stanford Global Studies (2013)
  • Clayman Institute for Gender Research, Stanford University (2011)
  • Annenberg Faculty Fellow, Stanford University (2010)
  • Standard Research Grant, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (2007 - 2010)
  • Whiting Fellowship, Stanford University (2003-2004)

Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations

  • Member, International Federation for Theatre Research
  • Member, Performance Studies International
  • Member, Association for Theatre in Higher Education
  • Member, Women and Theater Program
  • Member, Modern Language Association
  • Member, American Society for Theatre Research
  • Member-at-Large, Executive Committee, Women and Theatre Program, Association for Theatre in Higher Education
  • Advisory Board, Centre for South Asia, Stanford (2015 - Present)
  • Core Committee, Feminist, Gender, Sexuality Studies (2015 - Present)
  • Member, Board ofDirectors, Performance Studies International (2011 - 2015)
  • Member, Executive Committee, South Asian Literary Association, Modern Languages Association (2004 - 2006)
  • Member, Research and Publications Committee, Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) (2004 - 2005)

Program Affiliations

  • Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
  • Modern Thought and Literature

Professional Education

  • Ph.D., Stanford University, Drama (2004)
  • MA., Jawaharlal Nehru University, English (1996)
  • B.A., Bangalore University, English (1993)

2023-24 Courses

Stanford Advisees

All Publications

  • Scenes of Objection: Performance and Protest in Manipur ASIAN THEATRE JOURNAL Menon, J. 2021; 38 (2): 424-440
  • Toxic Colonialism and the Gesture of Generosity Performance Research Menon, J. 2018
  • Introduction: Performing the Secular: Religion, Politics, and the Public Sphere PERFORMING THE SECULAR: RELIGION, REPRESENTATION, AND POLITICS Gluhovic, M., Menon, J., Gluhovic, M., Menon, J. 2017: 1–23
  • Valuing Ecologies of Performance: Culture and capital in a neoliberal world PERFORMANCE RESEARCH Eckersall, P., Gray, D., Menon, J., Van Graan, M. 2013; 18 (2): 31-45
  • Queer Selfhoods in the Shadow of Neoliberal Urbanism JOURNAL OF HISTORICAL SOCIOLOGY Menon, J. 2013; 26 (1): 100-119

    View details for DOI 10.1111/johs.12006

    View details for Web of Science ID 000316633500006

  • Calling Local, Talking Global: The Cosmo-politics of the Call Center Industry Women and Performance Menon, J. 2013; 23 (2)
  • Review of Erin Mee's Theatre of Roots: Re-directing the Indian Stage TDR Jisha, M. 2012; 56 (4)
  • sacredsecular: contemplative cultural critique (Book Review) FEMINIST REVIEW Book Review Authored by: Menon, J. 2011: E7-E8

    View details for DOI 10.1057/fr.2010.43

    View details for Web of Science ID 000288493800004

  • Dancing on Glass Art Connect Menon, J. 2011; 5 (1)
  • Review of Helen Gilbert and Jacqueline Lo's Performance and Cosmopolitics: Crosscultural transactions in Australasia Alt: Theatre Review Menon, J. 2009; 6 (4)
  • Rehearsing the partition: gendered violence in Aur Kitne Tukde FEMINIST REVIEW Menon, J. 2006: 29-47
  • Theatres of independence: Drama, theory, and urban performance in India since 1947. (Book Review) THEATRE JOURNAL Book Review Authored by: Menon, J. 2006; 58 (2): 383-384
  • Unimaginable fine communities: Identities in traffic in Rukhsana Ahmad's 'Black Shalwar' MODERN DRAMA Menon, J. 2005; 48 (2): 407-427
  • Review of Shyam Selvadurai, Story-wallah: South Asian Fiction Canadian Literature Menon, J. 2005
  • Unhomely nations: Minorities and refugees of the subcontinental partition MODERN DRAMA Menon, J. 2003; 46 (2): 182-206