Faculty | Susan Seizer
Associate Professor , Department of Communication and Culture
- Ph.D., University of Chicago, 1997
Special interests include: humor cross-culturally; management of social stigma; and performance in South Asia (live and mediated). Her first ethnographic research project focused on the lives of popular theater artists in Tamilnadu, South India. Her book, Stigmas of the Tamil Stage: An Ethnography of Special Drama artists in South India (Duke University Press 2005) won the prestigious A.K. Coomaraswamy Book Prize from the Association for Asian Studies in 2007. Her current research turns an anthropological lens on the lives of road comics in the contemporary U.S.
Prior to becoming an anthropologist, Professor Seizer was a performer of dance, theater, and circus. Many of her scholarly interests follow threads she first explored as a performer: improvisation; the way comedy can be used to do just about anything; and the particular exhilaration many women find in transgressing normative gender roles through public performance.
Courses Recently Taught
- C333 Stigma: Culture, Deviance and Identity
- C627 Humor in Use
- C502 Performance
- C444 Malls, Museums, and Other Amusements: the public sphere in the modern U.S.
- C415 South Asia through Performance
- "The Afterlife of Fieldwork Relations." In Indian Folklife, No. 23, S. Seizer guest editor, National Folklore Support Centre, Chennai, India, 2006.
- Stigmas of the Tamil Stage: An Ethnography of Special Drama Artists in South India, Duke University Press, 2005.
- "Everything You See is Part of the History of This Place." Paper given at the Bernard S. Cohn Memorial Conference, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, May 2005.
- "Offstage Negotiations of Stigma by Special Drama Actresses in, South India.", Everyday Life in South Asia, ed. D. Mines and S. Lamb, Indiana University Press, 2002.
- "Roadwork: Offstage with Special Drama Actresses in Tamilnadu, South India.", Cultural Anthropology, Vol. 15, No. 2:217-259, May 2000.
- "Jokes, Gender, and Discursive Distance on the Tamil Popular Stage.", American Ethnologist, Vol. 24, No. 1:62-90, February 1997.
- "Playing the Field.", Review essay, Taboo: sex, identity and erotic subjectivity in anthropological fieldwork, Kulick, D. and M. Wilson, eds., Transition: An International Review. Issue 71, Vol. 6 No. 3:100-113, Fall 1996.
- "Paradoxes of Visibility in the Field: Rites of Queer Passage in Anghropology." Public Culture, Vol. 8 No. 1:73-100, Fall 1995.