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The central objective of this assignment sought to encourage students to engage in independent research in the archive of theater history. To achieve this objective, students were asked to create nuanced profiles of two prominent figures in theater from the nineteenth- and twentieth-centuries. These profiles were tasked with offering the essential and necessary information about the theatermaker in order to convey the figure’s import, innovations, and prime contributions to the making of Western Theater.


As opposed to the traditional research paper format, students were required to present their profiles on digital platforms. This requirement enabled students to work with and through the rich and vibrant digital materials found on academic websites and the internet more broadly in addition (but not in substitution of) texts, journals, and other non-digital materials.

The  requirement to compose digital presentations also encouraged students to find and present cogent visual and media materials that enhanced their profiles and enabled them to incorporate these findings in meaningful ways into the presentation of their research overall.

Finally, transposing research into the platform of digital presentation enabled students to make discerning choices about the organization of research materials from the archive.


Students created two digital profiles over a ten-week term. The first centered on an actor or director of the late nineteenth-century. The second profile assigned required students to center on a key designer of the twentieth century. In both assignments students were encouraged to look at women and non-white figures in order to point up these figures import and disrupt a canon that focuses on European and EuroAmerican white men.


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