Faedra Chatard Carpenter

Faedra Carpenter
Job title: 
Director of Undergraduate Theatre Studies
Theatre Scholarship and Performance Studies
Academic Rank: 
Associate Professor
2815 Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center

Faedra Chatard Carpenter is a theatre scholar, professional dramaturg, and cultural critic.  Her research and creative interests focus on the study of race, gender, class, and sexuality within both staged performances and in the performance practices of everyday life. Dr. Carpenter’s book, Coloring Whiteness: Acts of Critique in Black Performance (University of Michigan Press), received the Honorable Mention for ATDS’ John W. Frick Book Award for the best book in American theatre and drama in 2014 as well as the Honorable Mention for ASTR’s 2015 Errol Hill Award for outstanding scholarship in African American theater, drama, and/or performance studies.  Coloring Whiteness examines presentations and perceptions of whiteness in plays, TV journalism, comedy sketches, street theatre, visual art, video, and voice-over work from 1964 to 2008.  By investigating varying enactments of whiteness, Carpenter explores how artistic and performance strategies are used to “color” whiteness and complicate blackness in our contemporary moment.


Ph.D. in Drama (with an emphasis in Directing), Stanford University, 2005
M.A. in Drama, Washington University, 1994
B.A. in English, Spelman College, 1992

Areas of Specialization/Interest:

American Performance and Dramatic Literature (with concentrations in African American and Latina/o American Dramatic Literature and Performance);
Critical theories of Race, Gender, and Sexuality;

Professional Affiliations:


Member, Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas (LMDA),
Member, American Society for Theatre Research (ASTR);
Member, Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE);
Member, Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH);

Advisory Council Member, The Welders (Playwrights’ Collective)
Editorial Advisory Editor in Drama for Callaloo;
Editorial Board Member for The Southern Quarterly;
Editorial Board Member for Theatre Topics;
Recurring Guest Dramaturg for Center Stage;
Recurring Guest Dramaturg for the John F. Kennedy Center’s Theatre for Young Audiences;

Affiliate Faculty Member for the following UMD Departments & Programs: Women’s Studies, American Studies, African American Studies, and the Program in Comparative Literature

Helen Hayes Awards Judge;
Resident Dramaturg/Literary Manager of Crossroads Theatre Company;
Literary Associate/Dramaturg of Arena Stage;
Production and/or Play Development Dramaturg for: ReVision Dance Company, VTDance, Theater J, the African Continuum Theatre Company (ACT-Co), TheatreWorks, New Perspective Theatre, Black Women Playwrights Group, and the Young Playwrights Theatre.

Representative Productions:

Professional Dramaturgy for over 40 plays or creative projects, including:

Locomotion (World Premiere) for the Kennedy Center Theater for Young Audiences
Pride and Prejudice and Twelfth Night at Center Stage,
The Amen Corner at ACTCo,
Fences at TheatreWorks,
Spirit North at Crossroads (World Premiere)
Long Day's Journey Into Night and The Odyssey (American Premiere) at Arena Stage,

Directing at Stanford University:
Cloud Tectonics by Jose Rivera,
The Camp by Griselda Gambaro,
On the Hills of Black America by Keith Josef Adkins

Representative Publications/Research Activities:



Published book:

Coloring Whiteness:  Acts of Critique in Black Performance, University of Michigan Press, 2014. 

Published Articles, Essays, and Interviews:

 “Introduction: Katori Hall’s The Mountaintop,” Methuen Drama Modern Classic Edition, 2015.

“Reading and (Re)Directing ‘Racial Projects’ on and Beyond  the Stage,” The Routledge Companion to Dramaturgy, 2014

“Ruminations of a ‘Hip Hop Optimist” (Interview).  Red Dirt Revival:  A Poetic Memoir in 6 Breaths (Expanded 2ndEdition), 2013

 “Spectacles of Whiteness from Adrienne Kennedy to Suzan-Lori Parks,” Cambridge Companion to African American Theatre, 2012

“The Innovation of Inclusion:  Dramaturgy in the Mythos of a ‘Post-Racial’ Era,” Review:  The Journal of Dramaturgy, 2011

“A Parks Remix:  An Interview with Liz Diamond,” Suzan-Lori Parks:  Essays on the Plays and Other Works, 2010

"Addressing 'The Complex'-ities of Skin Color: Intra-racism and the Plays of Hurston, Kennedy, and Orlandersmith,"Theatre Topics, 2009

"(L)activists and Lattes: Breastfeeding Advocacy as Domestic Performance," Women & Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory, 2006

Hip-Hop Interviews" with Joan Morgan and Gwendolyn Pough, Callaloo: A Journal of African Diaspora Arts and Letters, 2006

"Robert O'Hara's Insurrection: Que(e)rying History," Text and Performance Quarterly, 2003 and reprinted in Black Queer Studies: A Critical Anthology, 2005

Forthcoming Essays:

“Teaching the Cycle:  Understanding August Wilson’s Fractal Dramaturgy,” MLA Approaches to Teaching the Plays of August Wilson, 2016

 “‘It’s All About a Rabbi, or It Ain’t’:  The Folkloric Fabulation of Lynn Nottage,” A Critical Companion to Lynn Nottage, 2016

Honors and Awards:

Subvention Funds Award, College of Arts and Humanities, University of Maryland;
Faculty Seed Grant from the Consortium on Race, Gender and Ethnicity (CGRE) and the Maryland Population Research Center (MPRC), University of Maryland;
Research and Scholarship Award (RASA), The Graduate School, UMD;
UMD Center for Teaching Excellence Grant (co-recipient with Dr. Heather Nathans);
Research and Teaching Fellowships, Stanford University;
Allen Lee Hughes Dramaturgy Fellowship, Arena Stage;
Creative and Performing Arts Award (CAPAA), The University of Maryland.