Laura Edmondson

Academic Appointments

Professor of Theater
Affiliated with African & African American Studies
Affiliated with Women's, Gender, & Sexuality Studies

Laura Edmondson teaches courses on postcolonial African drama, feminist and queer performance, transnational theater history, and human rights and performance. She has published widely on eastern and central African theater and performance, including articles in GLQ, Theatre Journal, Theatre Research International, TDR, and the anthologies African Performance Arts (Routledge) and Violence Performed (Palgrave Macmillan). She received the 2021 Oscar Brockett Best Essay Prize from the American Society of Theatre Research for her article, "Faustin Linyekula and the Violence of Plague" which appeared in Theatre Journal. Her books include Performance and Politics in Tanzania: The Nation on Stage and Performing Trauma in Central Africa: Shadows of Empire, both of which were published through the African Expressive Cultures series at Indiana University Press. Her research has been supported by grants from the National Endowment of the Humanities, the American Association of University Women, and the Fulbright Program. As a playwright, she has collaborated in the creation of Forged in Fire with Ugandan performer Okello Kelo Sam and Tanzanian musician Robert Ajwang, which integrates music, dance, and text to explore Okello's experiences of the LRA conflict in northern Uganda; it was produced at the Voorhees Theatre (Brooklyn) in 2015. She has also been a finalist or semi-finalist at the O'Neill Playwrights Conference, PlayPenn, Seven Devils, the Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Kitchen Dog Theatre's New Works Festival, the Global Age Project at the Aurora Theatre, and for the W. Keith Hedrick Playwright Award. She won the Gold Prize for New England Playwrights in 2019, awarded by Portland Stage. At Dartmouth, she has served as the department chair of Theater as well as program chair of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. She has also taught at Makerere University (Uganda), Florida State University, the University of Georgia, and the Bagamoyo College of Arts (Tanzania). She is the co-editor of Theatre Journal.

#105 Shakespeare Alley, Hopkins Center
HB 6204
African and African American Studies
Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
B.A. Indiana University at Bloomington
M.A. University of Texas at Austin
Ph.D. University of Texas at Austin

Selected Publications

“Faustin Linyekula and the Violence of Plague.” Theatre Journal (December 2020): 405-423.

"The Fabulous Pan-Africanism of Binyavanga Wainaina." GLQ 26.3 (June 2020): 529-560.

"Anti-Homosexual Acts on Trial: The Poetics of Justice in Uganda." TDR 63.2 (Summer 2019): 6-33.

Performing Trauma in Central Africa: Shadows of Empire. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2018.

Forged in Fire by Okello Kelo Sam, Laura Edmondson, and Robert Ajwang. Voorhees Theatre in Brooklyn, NY. 2015.

“Uganda Is Too Sexy: Reflections on Kony 2012.” TDR 56.3 (Fall 2012). 10-17.

Forged in Fire (play). By Okello Kelo Sam, Laura Edmondson, and Robert Ajwang. Excerpted in Refugee Performance: Practical Encounters. Ed. Michael Balfour. Bristol, UK and Chicago: Intellect Books and the University of Chicago Press, 2012. 61-66.

Eat Like a Bird (play). In Cultural Conversations: Works in Progress, Writers in the Making, ed. Susan B. Russell (Lemont, PA: Eifrig Publishing, 2011), 91-132. 

"Confessions of a Failed Theatre Activist: Intercultural Encounters in Uganda and Rwanda." In Avant-Garde Performance and Material Exchange: Vectors of the Radical, edited by Mike Sell.  Houndmills, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011. 41-59.

“Genocide Unbound: Erik Ehn, Rwanda, and an Aesthetics of Discomfort,” Theatre Journal, 61:1 (March 2009): 65-83.

Review essay: "Performing Africa."  African Affairs 109 (2009): 151-160.

“The Poetics of Displacement and the Politics of Genocide in Three Plays about Rwanda,” in Violence Performed: Local Roots and Global Routes of Conflict, edited by Patrick Anderson and Jisha Menon.  Houndmills, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008.  54-78.

Performance and Politics in Tanzania: The Nation on Stage, Indiana University Press, 2007.

“Of Sugarcoating and Hope,” TDR, 51:2 (May 2007): 7-10.

“Marketing Trauma and the Theatre of War in Northern Uganda,” Theatre Journal, 57:3 (2005): 451-474.

“Love in the Time of Dissertations: An Ethnographic Tale,” with R O Ajwang, Qualitative Inquiry, 9:3 (June 2003): 466-480.

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Works in progress

Pathology, Performance, and the Comorbid State in Central Africa

Forged in Fire