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Graduate Program in Communication & Culture

Faculty Profiles

Laura Levin

Media and Culture

University   York University
E-Mail Address
Phone Number   (416) 736-2100, ext 22370
Office Location   CFT 317
Office Hours   TBA


B.A. (McGill University); Ph.D. Performance Studies (University of California, Berkeley)


Professor Levin is a performance theorist whose research focuses on contemporary theatre and performance art, performing gender and sexuality, site-specific and urban intervention; performance theory; photography and performance. Her research, which focuses on gender, performance, and space, appears in several journals and edited volumes including Space and the Geographies of Canadian Theatre and Performance and the City. She is editor of Conversations Across the Border, a book by performance artist Guillermo Gómez-Peña on dialogue as political art practice, and she is completing a book entitled Blending into the Background on the interactions of body and environment in performance. She is Editor of the Views and Reviews section of the Canadian Theatre Review and Guest Editor of two theme issues: ‘Space and Subjectivity in Performance’ for Theatre Research in Canada and ‘Performance Art’ for Canadian Theatre Review. She has also participated in two transnational performance pedagogy projects, Common Plants and Blur Street, which investigate intersections of performance, geography, and digital technologies.

In 2008, Professor Levin was awarded a SSHRC Standard Grant for “The Canadian Performance Studies Project: Mapping the Field,” the first major research study to theorize and map the field of performance studies as it has emerged in Canada. Through collaborative work with graduate student researchers from a variety of disciplines, the project seeks to bring performance studies research documents together for analysis, retrieve major works of performance theory in Canada that have been left out of the American-centered performance studies canon, and ask how institutional and cultural conditions have produced alternative articulations of “performance” in a number of Canadian contexts.

Research Interests

Contemporary theatre and performance art; gender and sexuality studies; site-specific performance and urban intervention; performance theory; photography and performance.

Selected Publications

Conversations Across the Border. Ed. with Guillermo Gómez-Peña. London: Seagull Press, 2009.
Special issue on Performance Art. Canadian Theatre Review. Ed. CTR 137 (Winter 2009).

Special issue on Space and Subjectivity in Performance. Theatre Research in Canada. Ed. with Andrew Houston. 29.1 (Spring 2008).

“Locating the Artist-Researcher: Shifting Sites of Performance as Research in Canada.” Mapping Landscapes in Performance as Research: Scholarly Acts and Creative Cartographies. Eds. Lynette Hunter and Shannon Riley. London: Palgrave, 2008.
Catalogue Essay. In the Neighborhood. Exhibition by Rachelle Viader Knowles. Mendel Art Gallery. Saskatoon, 2008.
“Can the City Write: Letting Space Speak After Poststructuralism.” Performance and the City: Performing and Writing Urban Space. Eds. Kim Solga, D. J. Hopkins, and Shelly Orr. London: Palgrave, 2008.
“Global Exposures: Blur Street and Interurban Self-Portraiture.” Performance and the City: Performing and Writing Urban Space. Eds. Kim Solga, D. J. Hopkins, and Shelly Orr. London: Palgrave, 2008.
“TO Live With Culture: Torontopia and the Urban Creativity Script.” Space and the Geographies of Canadian Theatre. Ed. Michael McKinnie. Toronto: Playwrights Canada Press, May 2007.
“Environmental Affinities: Naturalism and the Porous Body.” Judith Thompson:Critical Perspectives on Canadian Theatre in English. Ed. Ric Knowles. Toronto:Playwrights Canada Press, 2007.
“Avatar Happenings: Activating Liveness in Online Environments.” Theme Issue on Liveness and Mediatized Performance. Canadian Theatre Review 127 (2006).

Current Research Projects/Journals:

The Canadian Performance Studies Project: Mapping the Field. Funded by SSHRC Standard Grant. (principal investigator)

Affect and Photojournalism. Funded by SSHRC International Opportunities Fund. (co-investigator)

The Blur Street Project. An urban pedagogy project founded by Kathleen Irwin and Rachelle Viader Knowles.

Views and Reviews Editor. Canadian Theatre Review. Published by U of T Press.

Editorial Board. InTensions. Published by Fine Arts Cultural Studies, York U

Link to personal website:


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Harold [Innis] taught us how to use the bias of culture and communication as an instrument of research. By directing attention to the bias, or distorting power of the dominant imagery and technology of any culture, he showed us how to understand cultures.
~ Marshall McLuhan