Faedra Chatard Carpenter

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

Faedra Chatard Carpenter, recipient of the American Theatre and Drama Society’s Betty Jean Jones Award for Outstanding Teacher of American Theatre and Drama (2019), was also honored with the Anne Warren Leadership Award (2018) from the School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies, and the University of Maryland’s Graduate Faculty Mentor of the Year Award (2016). Dr. Carpenter is a theatre and performance studies scholar, professional dramaturg, and cultural critic. Her research, writing, public speaking, and creative activities are grounded in her advocacy for diversity, inclusion, and cultural fluency within a wide-range of institutional spheres. Through her analysis of both staged performances and the performative practices of everyday life, Dr. Carpenter applies her expertise in expressive culture, creative collaboration, and dramaturgical methodologies to forge common understandings and illuminate issues regarding race, gender, class, and sexuality. 

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. Currently, Dr. Carpenter is working on her second book project, Crafting Consciousness. A study of creative texts, performance events, and public presentations, Crafting Consciousness explores how the particularized employment of imagery, language, and communal narratives can facilitate and foster meanings—both intended and unintended. In so doing, Dr. Carpenter uses her case studies to offer cultural insight, consider the politics of intentionality, and champion conscientious innovation on and beyond the stage. 


Ph.D., Stanford University
M.A., Washington University
B.A., Spelman College

Areas of Specialization/Interest:

  • African American Cultural Expressions and History;
  • Critical theories of Race, Gender, Class, and Sexuality;
  • American Performance and Dramatic Literature;
  • Production and Institutional Dramaturgy 

Professional Affiliations:

  • Member, Black Theatre Network (BTN);
  • 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);
  • Book Reviewer, University of Iowa Press;
  • Book Reviewer, Southern Illinois University Press;
  • Peer Reviewer for Bloomsbury/Methuen Publishers;
  • Peer Reviewer, Theatre Journal;
  • Editorial Advisory Editor in Drama for Callaloo;
  • Editorial Board Member for The Southern Quarterly;
  • Editorial Board Member for Theatre Topics;
  • Recurring Guest Dramaturgy for Mosaic Theater Company; 
  • Recurring Guest Dramaturg for Baltimore 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 (NJ);
  • Literary Associate/Dramaturg of Arena Stage (Washington, DC);
  • 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

Selected Representative Productions:

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

  • Queens Girl in Africa (World Premier) at Mosaic Theater Company, 
  • Locomotion (World Premiere) for the Kennedy Center Theater for Young Audiences,
  • Pride and Prejudice (World Premiere Production) 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:




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

Selected Articles, Essays, and Interviews:

  • Forthcoming: “Deconstructing Our Perspectives on Casting: An “Inter-Article” with Hana S. Sharif (Essay/Interview). Diverse Dramaturgy: Case studies from the field, Edited by Philippa Kelly and Amrita Ramanan, Routledge, 2019.
  • “Staging Scenes of Suffering: Metaphoric Ruminations on Strategic Dysfluency” (Article), Theater magazine, David Bruin, editor. Duke University Press, 2019. 
  • “Activating the Asterisk: The Dramaturgy of Intentionality,” Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism, Spring 2018
  • “Things That Make Me Go Hmmm…,” Theatre Survey, September 2016.
  • “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.
  • “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.

Honors and Awards:

  • The Betty Jean Jones Award for Outstanding Teacher of American Theatre and Drama, the American Theatre and Drama Society (ATDS)
  • The Anne Warren Leadership Award, The School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies, University of Maryland;
  • Graduate Faculty Mentor of the Year Award, University of Maryland;
  • Honorable Mention: John W. Frick Book Award (ATDS);
  • Honorable Mention: Errol Hill Award (ASTR);
  • Creative and Performing Arts Award (CAPAA), The University of Maryland;
  • 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