Meenakshi Ponnuswami

Meenakshi Ponnuswami

Associate Professor of English
Affiliated Faculty in Critical Black Studies; Specialization: Black British & British Asian theatre; African American theatre. Teaching: modern American drama; American ethnic comedy.
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About Meenakshi Ponnuswami

My scholarship has focused mainly on postwar British political theatre, especially the so-called "Fringe theatres" of the 1960s and 70s, examining the revisionist historical drama of New Left playwrights. I consider the historiographical project of the alternative theatre movement in the context of the institutional status of the British stage, exploring its participation in postwar nationalist discourses as well as its ability to contest sanctioned versions of the past. I am currently working on contemporary Black British theatre and on a longer project involving feminist historical drama.  

Educational Background

  • Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Teaching Interests

  • Modern American drama
  • Contemporary British theatre
  • Medieval drama
  • Approaches to reading

Scholarly Interests

  • Postwar British and American theatre
  • Black British and British Asian playwrights
  • Postwar British political theatre, especially the so-called "Fringe theatres" of the 1960s and 70s
  • Revisionist historical drama of New Left playwrights

Selected Publications

Forthcoming: "Dutchman in the Drama Class."  In Approaches to Teaching Amiri Baraka's Dutchman.  Eds. Gerald Early and Matthew Calihman.  New York: Modern Languages Association, 2014/15.

Forthcoming: "The 1980s."  In Modern and Contemporary Black British Theatre.  Eds. Mary Brewer, Lynette Goddard, and Deirdre Osborne.  London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014/15.  

"Alienation and Alienation Effects in Winsome Pinnock's Talking in Tongues."  Black British Aesthetics Today, ed. R. Victoria Arana.  Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2007: 206-221.

"Citizenship and Gender in Asian-British Performance": Feminist Futures?  Theatre, Performance, Theory, eds. Elaine Aston and Geraldine Harris, Palgrave Macmillan, 2005: 34-55. 

"Small Island People: Black British Women and the Performance of Retrieval."  A Cambridge Companion to British Women Playwrights, eds. Janelle Reinelt and Elaine Aston.  Cambridge University Press, 2000: 217-234.  Excerpt reprinted in Mary Eagleton ed., Feminist Theory (Blackwell, 2010).

"Fanshen in the English Revolution: Caryl Churchill's Light Shining in Buckinghamshire."  Caryl Churchill: Contemporary Representations.  Ed. Sheila Rabillard.  Winnipeg: Blizzard, 1998: 41-59. 

"Histories of the New Left: Arnold Wesker and the Angrier Young Men."  Arnold Wesker: A Casebook.  Ed. Reade Dornan.  New York and London: Garland Press, 1998: 137-162.  

"Celts and Celticists in Howard Brenton's The Romans in Britain."  Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism.  12.2 (Spring 1998): 69-88. 

"Feminist History in Contemporary British Theatre."  Women and Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory.  Special Double Issue: "New Hybrid Identities: Performing Race/Gender/Nation/Sexuality." 7.2-8.1 (1995): 287-311.

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