Susan Manning Professor of English and Theatre & Performance Studies; Chair of the Department of English

Susan Manning has pursued her research interest in dance studies, an emergent discipline within the humanities, by working through the more established fields of drama, theatre, and performance studies. As a Professor of English, Theatre and Performance Studies at Northwestern University, she teaches the history and theory of twentieth-century theatrical performance, including dance, drama, and music theatre.

She is the author or editor of four books: Ecstasy and the Demon (1993; 2nd ed. 2006) traces the shift from modernist bodies to fascist bodies in the works of Mary Wigman, Germany's leading dancer between the two world wars. Modern Dance, Negro Dance: Race in Motion (2004) explores changing relations between modern dancers and African-American concert dancers in New York City from the Red Decade of the 1930s to the Red Scare of the 1950s. Danses noires/blanche Amérique (2008), the catalogue for an exhibit she curated at the Centre national de la danse in Paris, narrates the history of African-American theatre dance in the U.S. from the era of Plessy v Ferguson to the election of Barack Obama. New German Dance Studies(2012) is a coedited anthology that surveys new research by scholars inside and outside Germany since the fall of the Berlin Wall. Currently Professor Manning is serving as Principal Investigator for a Mellon-funded project on Dance Studies in/as the Humanities. She recently completed a three-year project serving as dramaturge for Reggie Wilson's Moses(es), premiered in 2013, and has written extensively on the project for TDR: A Journal of Performance Studies.


Modern Dance, Negro Dance: Race in Motion
Modern Dance, Negro Dance: Race in Motion (Univ Of Minnesota Press, 2004)
New German Dance Studies
New German Dance Studies (University of Illinois Press, 2012)
(edited by Susan Manning & Lucia Ruprecht)

Essays & Articles

  • "On Reggie Wilson and Moses(es)," TDR 59.1 (Spring 15): 12-24. A special section by Susan Manning.