The University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance announces that Professor Jenna Gerdsen will join the faculty as an assistant professor in the Department of Theatre & Drama in fall 2023. Gerdsen is a theatre historian and dramaturg whose teaching and research areas include theatre history and historiography, interculturalism, critical race theory and Asian American and Pacific Islander theatre. Students can anticipate assignments that intertwine analysis and practice in her Script Analysis courses.
“I am absolutely delighted to be a part of the School of Music, Theatre & Dance at the University of Michigan because of its commitments to social justice and innovations of theatre pedagogy, practice, and research,” said Gerdsen. “I look forward to developing and teaching courses that provide students opportunities to implement and improve their theatre training, deepen their understanding of categories of difference, and engage with a variety of communities.”
Gerdsen has presented at conferences such as the Association for Theatre in Higher Education, Performance Studies International, Comparative Drama Conference, Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association, and the American Society for Theatre Research, where her work was featured as a part of the “New Directions in Theatre and Performance Studies” panel. Her work has been published in Theatre Journal, Theatre Topics, and on the website HowlRound. She is currently working on her first book, an archival and interview-based study of Hawaii’s theatre history and contemporary theatre scene.
“Dr. Jenna Gerdsen asks transformational questions about theatre scholarship, and her research areas foster reflection on approaches to global literature,” said Tiffany Trent, chair and associate professor of the Department of Theatre & Drama. “Further, her teaching methods recognize that history is ongoing and present, and we look forward to the new dimensions her expertise will bring to our department and student experience.”
Gerdsen received her PhD in theatre and performance studies from the University of Maryland, College Park, where she was awarded the Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Florida State University.