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Tracy C. Davis

Ethel M. Barber Professor of Performing Arts; Professor of English and Theatre


Tracy C. Davis is a specialist in performance theory, theatre historiography, and research methodology. She works with students in various programs, including English, Theatre and Drama, Performance Studies, Musicology, History, and Rhetoric. She is Director of the Graduate School's Excellence in Doctoral Mentoring Initiative and former Chair of Northwestern University Press's Editorial Board. In 2016 she joined the SSRC's Advisory Committee for the Mellon-funded University-Based Dissertation Proposal Development Training Programs and the Advisory Board for the Marvin Carlson Center at the Shanghai Theatre Academy. Her active research projects are on nineteenth-century Liberalism, scenography, theatre and anthropology, and professional mermaids.

view Mentorship Philosophy

Teaching and Research posts held at:

University of Cologne, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (Munich) Centre for Advanced Studies, John Rylands Research Institute at the University of Manchester, University of Malta, Harvard University, University of Glasgow, Bristol University, Queen's University (Kingston), University of Calgary, Queen Mary University London.

Series Editor:

  • Theatre and Performance Theory - General Editor, Cambridge University Press.
  • Transnational Theatre Histories - Co-Editor, Palgrave
  • Cultural History of Theatre - General Editor, Bloomsbury UK

Editorial Boards:

  • Associate Editor, Theatre Journal
  • Editorial Board, Theatre Research in Canada
  • Editorial Board, Theatre Survey
  • Contributing Editor, TDR: The Drama Review
  • Honorary Advisory Editor, New Theatre Quarterly

Selected Academic Awards, Honors, and Research Grants:

  • 1990-91
    • Andrew W. Mellon Faculty Fellowship, Harvard University
  • 1994-95
    • American Philosophical Society Research Grant
  • 1995
    • National Endowment for the Humanities Research Fellowship
  • 2000
    • George Freedley Memorial Award (Theatre Library Association) representing excellence in writing on live theatre
  • 2004
    • Clarence Ver Steeg Graduate Faculty Award (Northwestern University)
  • 2005
    • Distinguished Scholar's Prize (American Society for Theatre Research)
  • 2007
    • Lane Humanities Institute Teaching Professor
  • 2007-08
    • Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellow, Huntington Library
  • 2008-09
    • Stanley J. Kahrl Fellowship in Theatre History, Houghton Library
  • 2016-18
    • Alexander von Humboldt Research Award, University of Cologne


Victorian, Gender Studies, Theatre & Drama


The Cambridge Companion to Performance Studies
The Cambridge Companion to Performance Studies (Cambridge University Press, 2008)
Theatricality (Cambridge University Press, 2004)
The Economics of the British Stage, 1800-1914
The Economics of the British Stage, 1800-1914 (Cambridge University Press, 2007)
Playwriting and Nineteenth-Century British Women
Playwriting and Nineteenth-Century British Women (Cambridge University Press, 1999)

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