Faculty Development Grant Report
Dramatic Literature, Criticism and Theory | English Language and Literature | Literature in English, British Isles | Theatre and Performance Studies
I was grateful to receive a spring 2017 course release though our new Faculty Development Grant provision that awards time, as well as money, to faculty pursuing professional activities. Thanks to the extra time it afforded me, I was able to take research that I had begun over my fall 2016 sabbatical and turn it into published work. I had traveled to New York City before classes began in February to interview colleagues of the Pulitzer-winning playwright Paula Vogel, who was making her Broadway debut, at age 65, with a new play called Indecent about the history of Jewish and lesbian stories on the American stage. (The play was part of an Oregon Shakespeare Festival initiative to commission playwrights to write new plays about moments of change in American history, a project I wrote about for The New Yorker last summer: “American Playwrights Try To Reinvent The History Play.”) I continued my interviews and research on Vogel’s work during the spring semester, and my article, “With Her Eerily Timely ‘Indecent,’ Paula Vogel Unsettles American Theatre Again,” ran in The New Yorker in May 2017. My research also led me to write another article ("You’ve Probably Never Heard of America’s Most Popular Playwright") about Lauren Gunderson, the featured playwright for Linfield’s 2017-18 theater season, for The New Yorker, which was published during fall 2017. These projects have been important for me in expanding my scholarly work to explore not only Shakespeare’s plays but also the range of living artists from diverse backgrounds who are trying to do for our culture what Shakespeare did for his. I have found it tremendously invigorating to write about current playwrights, and these projects have also refreshed my teaching—especially a January-term course I offer on our nursing campus about contemporary theater in Portland, and a new version of my Shakespeare course that I’m designing for spring 2018 that will pair Shakespeare’s history plays with new plays about American history, Paula Vogel’s Indecent and Lauren Gunderson’s The Book of Will among them. I’m delighted that these projects have also provided opportunities for me to collaborate with Linfield students, and I hope that my articles in national online venues help to increase Linfield’s visibility as an academic hub for innovative work in the arts.
Pollack-Pelzner, Daniel, "Faculty Development Grant Report" (2017). Post-Grant Reports. Report. Submission 130.