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Stephen Johnson

A full profile can be found at http://sbjohnson.wordpress.com/

Stephen Johnson is a Full Professor in the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies. He has taught theatre history and performance theory, cinema studies, dramatic literature, and performance studies, as well as acting and directing, at the University of Guelph, McMaster University, the University of Toronto Mississauga, and in the undergraduate and graduate programs in the Centre.  He just completed a nine-year term as Director of CDTPS, and a four-year term as President the Canadian Association for Theatre Research / Association canadienne de la recherche théâtrale, and now serves as its Treasurer.  See http://catracrt.ca/.  He was co-editor of Theatre Research in Canada / Recherches théâtrales au Canada for ten years. See  http://tricrtac.ca/en/

His research explores the history of popular performance in North American, and in particular Canada.  He also studies the performance of race on the 19th and early 20th century stage in North America and Britain.  Information on his research projects can be found on his website.

See in particular:

The Tyranny of Documents: the Performing Arts Historian as Film Noir Detective (TLA, 2011), as editor, which includes forty essays on historiography and microhistory.  See http://www.tla-online.org/publications/performing-arts-resources/performing-arts-resources-volumes/

Burnt Cork: Origins and Traditions of Blackface Minstrelsy (UMassPress, 2013), part of a larger project on blackface minstrelsy that is ongoing. http://burntcorkthebook.com/

His website and database on minstrelsy can be found The Juba Project, See http://www.utm.utoronto.ca/~w3minstr/index.html


Current projects include the following:


Principal Investigator, Cross Border Blackface: Traditions and Legacies of American Minstrelsy in Ontario.  This project explores the history and legacy of the blackface minstrelsy tradition in the region variously called Upper Canada, Canada West, and Southern Ontario.  This region had a complex and contradictory relationship with the United States with respect to race, by turns and depending on the local community, abolitionist or pro-slavery, tied to the southern cotton trade and to the industrial north, a terminus of the ‘underground railway’ and ‘The Northern Star,’ and a fruitful touring circuit for the best and worst of racialize performances.  The project will build a database of occurrences of blackface performance, and explore case studies from the 1830s to the present.  This project is funded through a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Insight Grant, for $214,634.  A website will be available soon.

Co-Investigator, On the Road Again: Tracking Itinerant Performance Through Time.  This database project seeks to create a theatre history hub of online databases that will share itineraries, patterns of movement, and primary sources such as original documents, images and newspaper clippings, for the study and understanding of touring entertainments from the 14th through the 21st centuries. Collaborators include Sally-Beth MacLean (English/REED), Sian Meikle (Library Services), Byron Muldofsky (Geography), and Beth Marquis (Arts and Science Program, McMaster University.  See http://link.library.utoronto.ca/OnTheRoad/

Principal Investigator, within the project On the Road Again, Canada West–Performance Culture in Southern Ontario.  See https://canadawest.library.utoronto.ca

Co-Investigator, Canadian consortium on performance and politics in the Americas.  This new consortium was established in partnership with the Hemispheric Institute at New York University to explore the role of Canadian performance in the larger context of culture and politics in the Western Hemispheric diaspora, and the relationships among and between immigrant and first nations constituencies.  The Consortium includes 16 co-investigators from 14 universities in Canada.  It had been funded through a SSHRC Partnership Grant ($2,500,000), administered through the University of Manitoba, Project Director Dr Peter Kulchynski.  Individual Project/Case Study:  Hemispheric contexts of the blackface body in performance.  Service:  Archives Committee.  See http://performanceandpolitics.org



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