Advisory Board


Huey Copeland

Huey Copeland is Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in The Graduate School and Associate Professor of Art History with affiliations in the Gender and Sexuality Studies Program and the Department of African American Studies. His writing—which has been translated into French, German, and Spanish—focuses on modern and contemporary art with an emphasis on articulations of blackness in the Western visual field. (more)



Miriam Petty

Miriam Petty is an Associate Professor in the Department of Radio/Television/Film at Northwestern University. Her book, Stealing the Show: African American Performers and Audiences in 1930s Hollywood (University of California Press), explores the complex relationships between black audiences and black performers in the classical Hollywood era. (more)


Johnson_E. Patrick

E. Patrick Johnson

E. Patrick Johnson is the Carlos Montezuma Professor of Performance Studies and African American Studies at Northwestern University. A scholar/artist, Johnson performs nationally and internationally and has published widely in the areas of race, gender, sexuality and performance. (more)



Susan Manning 

Susan Manning is Professor of English, Theatre, & Performance Studies at Northwestern University. She 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. (more)



Ivy Wilson

Ivy Wilson is the Associate Professor of English and Director of American Studies at Northwestern University. His current research interests focus on the solubility of nationalism in relationship to theories of the diaspora, global economies of culture, and circuits of the super-national and sub-national. (more)


Affiliated Faculty

Thomas Bradshaw

Associate Professor of Radio/Television/Film at Northwestern University (more)


aymar christian

Aymar Jean Christian

Assistant Professor of Communication Studies at Northwestern University (more)



Lisa Corrin

Ellen Philips Katz Director of the Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University (more)


Ryan Dohoney

Assistant Professor of Musicology at Northwestern University (more)


Peter Erickson

Senior Lecturer in Theatre, faculty affiliate in African American Studies at Northwestern University (more)



D. Soyini Madison

Professor of Performance Studies, African American Studies and Anthropology at Northwestern University (more)



Toni-Marie Montgomery

Dean and Professor of Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University (more)



Ramon Rivera-Servera

Chair and Associate Professor of Performance Studies at Northwestern University (more)



Nitasha Sharma

Associate Professor of African American Studies, Asian American Studies, and Performance Studies at Northwestern University (more)



Krista Thompson

Weinberg College Board of Visitors Professor and Professor in the Department of Art History at Northwestern University (more)


Natasha Trethewey

Board of Trustees Professor of English at Northwestern University (more)



Tracy Vaughn

Associate Professor of Instruction and Director of Undergraduate Studies in African American Studies at Northwestern University (more)



Alexander Weheliye

Professor of African American Studies at Northwestern University (more)




Black Performing Arts Postdoctoral Fellow


Bimbola Akinbola

Bimbola Akinbola’s research examines how women artists of the Nigerian diaspora use contemporary visual art, performance, film, and literature to contest and redefine their familial, cultural, and national belonging in Nigeria and its diasporas. Foregrounding the work of women artists who straddle multiple geographies, identities, and allegiances, her project analyzes how these artists resist trauma narratives of loss and displacement by illuminating the generative potential of what she calls “disbelonging.” As a scholar of museums and material culture, Akinbola also researches the museum space as a site of dissent and collaboration for visitors, and the race, class, and gender politics of “community engaged” programming.

An interdisciplinary artist and scholar, she regularly collaborates with Dance Exchange, a multidisciplinary and cross-generational performance company, where she has contributed to several movement-based projects exploring racism, memory, and historical erasure with communities across the United States.


Past Black Performing Arts Postdoctoral Fellow


Fumi Okiji (2016-2018)

Fumi Okiji’s research explicates the ways in which black expression provides alternative epistemologies. Her forthcoming book Conglomeration of Deviates: Jazz, Adorno and the Critical Potential of Black Expression shows how the music, as expression of life that incessantly calls into question the world’s integrity, provides social critique and models an alternative mode of sociality. She is currently working on two projects. The first, centered on a response to Saidiya Hartman’s Lose Your Mother, looks at black intimacy and wounded kinship through a particularized lens of a Western woman of Nigerian descent. The other is a practice-enabled research project that theorizes and experiments with vandalism/breakage of record(s) and a refusal to document, as ways to alternative epistemological frameworks. Okiji is also a singer and makes sound works.

Kashif Powell (2014-2016)

Kashif’s dissertation, “Specters and Spooks: Developing a Hauntology of the Performative Black Body,” examines the relationship between the black body and the history of death, particularly as it relates to how the black body performed under the institution of slavery.  He is also an accomplished performer, having recently created a solo show titled, “Sketches of a Man, based on Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man.

Jade Huell (2012-2014)

Jade C. Huell is the inaugural Black Performing Arts Fellow in the Department of Performance Studies. After receiving a B.A. in Communication at Columbia College in Columbia, South Carolina, she earned an M.A. in English and a Certificate of Graduate Study in Gender Studies from the University of South Carolina. In 2011, Jade was awarded the Marie J. Robinson Scholarship by the National Communication Association’s Performance Studies Division. She has recently earned her PhD in Communication Studies at Louisiana State University. During her doctoral studies, Jade conceived and produced three ensemble performances centered on Black Diaspora performance practices and nostalgia as a conceptual frame for viewing and expressing aesthetic and everyday performance. She is currently continuing her research in theories of the body, memory, and performance.