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Susan Manning

Professor of English and Theatre & Performance Studies; Herman and Beulah Pearce Miller Research Professor

Ph.D. Columbia University


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. 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. Currently, Professor Manning is serving as Principal Investigator for a Mellon-funded project on Dance Studies in/as the Humanities.


Gender Studies, Theatre & Drama, Modern, Critical Race & Ethnicity Studies, American: 20th Century


Mary Wigman e la danza tedesca del primo Novecento
Mary Wigman e la danza tedesca del primo Novecento (Italiano Studi Germanici, 2015)
Italian translation of "Ecstasy and the Demon: Feminism and Nationalism in the Dances of Mary Wigman"
New German Dance Studies
New German Dance Studies (University of Illinois Press, 2012)
(edited by Susan Manning & Lucia Ruprecht)
Danse Noires, Blanches Amériques
Danse Noires, Blanches Amériques (Centre National de la Danse, 2009)
Modern Dance, Negro Dance: Race in Motion
Modern Dance, Negro Dance: Race in Motion (Univ Of Minnesota Press, 2004)

Other Major Publications

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

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