Amy E. Hughes
Associate Professor,
Theater History & Criticism

Amy Hughes (Brooklyn College)
312B Whitehead Hall
718-951-5000 x2767

Full Bio


PhD, Theatre, CUNY Graduate Center
MFA, Performing Arts Management, Brooklyn College
BFA, Drama, New York University

My training and scholarship touches on several aspects of theater studies, including theater history, historiography, research methods, and critical theory; performing arts management, particularly communications and fundraising; and the appreciation of theater as a living, breathing art form. The craft of teaching is also one of my central interests: I have published and led workshops on nontraditional pedagogies, including the use of role-play to promote student engagement, best practices in communication-intensive courses, and collaborative learning techniques in the classroom. I serve as Deputy Chair for Graduate Studies for the Department of Theater at Brooklyn College.

As a historian and scholar, my specialization is theater in the United States during the nineteenth century. My first book, Spectacles of Reform: Theater and Activism in Nineteenth-Century America, will be published by University of Michigan Press in fall 2012. The book explores the complex, symbiotic relationship between sensationalism, emotion, and activism by analyzing the cultural resonances embedded in theatrical images that circulated in print, visual, and material media during America's Age of Reform.

Previously, I pursued a number of projects investigating the (sometimes fraught, but always rich) relationship between religion and theater. My publications in this area include a chapter, "Defining Faith: Theatrical Reactions to Pro-Slavery Christianity in Antebellum America," in the essay collection Interrogating America through Theatre and Performance, edited by William Demastes and Iris Smith Fischer (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007); and an article, "Answering the Amusement Question: Antebellum Temperance Drama and the Christian Endorsement of Leisure," in New England Theatre Journal (2004). I have also published performance and book reviews in Theatre Research International and Theatre Journal.

The art and practice of teaching is another keen interest. I am the 2010 recipient of Brooklyn College's Excellence in Teaching Award, and my teaching portfolio is featured as an exemplary model in the fourth edition of Peter Seldin’s The Teaching Portfolio: A Practical Guide to Improved Performance and Promotion/Tenure Decisions (Jossey-Bass, 2010). I also co-authored, with Jill Stevenson (Marymount Manhattan College) and Mikhail Gershovich (Baruch College, CUNY), "Community through Discourse: Reconceptualizing Introduction to Theatre," published by Theatre Topics (2006).

I am active in a number of professional organizations, having participated as a presenter, chair, and/or workshop facilitator for more than twenty-five sessions at conferences sponsored by the American Literature Association (ALA), American Society for Theatre Research (ASTR), American Studies Association (ASA), American Theatre and Drama Society (ATDS), Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE), International Society for Exploring Teaching and Learning (ISETL), International Congress on Medieval Studies, Mid-America Theatre Conference (MATC), and Mid-Atlantic Popular/American Culture Association (MAP/ACA). I have also participated in multiple training institutes sponsored by Reacting to the Past (RTTP), a national pedagogy initiative based at Barnard College.