Ashley E. Lucas

Professor of Theatre & Drama and LS&A Residential College


Ashley Lucas is Professor of Theatre & Drama, the Residential College, the Penny Stamps School of Art & Design, American Culture, and English Language and Literature at the University of Michigan. She is the Director of Latina/o Studies, Former Director of the Prison Creative Arts Project (PCAP), and a founding member of the Carceral State Project. She holds a B.A. in Theater Studies and English from Yale University and a joint Ph.D. in Ethnic Studies and Theatre and Drama from the University of California, San Diego. She is a fellow of the Ford Foundation, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) Faculty Engaged Scholars Program, UNC’s Institute for Arts and Humanities, UM’s Institute for the Humanities, and Hedgebrook Writers in Residence program. Her research and teaching interests include U.S. Latina/o theatre, prison theatre, theatre for social change, and related topics in acting, playwriting, and comparative ethnic studies. Lucas is also the author of an ethnographic play about the families of incarcerated people entitled Doin’ Time: Through the Visiting Glass, which she has performed as a one-woman show throughout the U.S. and in Ireland, Brazil, and Canada. Her book Prison Theatre and the Global Crisis of Incarceration (Bloomsbury, 2020) examines the ways in which incarcerated people use theatre to counteract the dehumanizing forces of the prison. The book was also translated into Portuguese by Vicente Concilio and published in Brazil (Editora Hucitec, 2021). Her publications include articles in Plough QuarterlyJournal of American Drama and Theatre, the Journal for the Study of RadicalismLatin American Theater ReviewAmerican Music, Urdimento, and Revista de Literatura Contemporania de México. Together with sociologist Jodie Lawston, Lucas guest edited a special issue of the National Women’s Studies Association Journal on the topic of “Women and Criminal Justice: Policing, Prosecution, and Incarceration” (Summer 2008). Lucas and Lawston also collaborated on an edited volume entitled Razor Wire Women: Prisoners, Activists, Scholars, and Artists (SUNY Press 2011) and write a blog by the same title: From 2013-2019, Lucas also ran the PCAP Brazil Exchange—an exchange program with the Universidade Federal do Estado do Rio de Janeiro and the Universidade do Estado de Santa Catarina—taking students to Rio and Florianópolis each summer to do theatre work inside prisons, hospitals, and favelas.


BA (theater studies and English), Yale University
MA (ethnic studies), University of California – San Diego
PhD (ethnic studies and theatre & drama), University of California – San Diego.

Updated on: 5/14/2024