Laurie Frederik

Laurie Frederik Meer
Theatre Scholarship and Performance Studies
Academic Rank: 
Associate Professor
2816 Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center

Laurie Frederik is associate professor of performance studies in TDPS and is director of the Latin American Studies Center.  She is also an active affiliate faculty member in the Department of Anthropology.  Her book, Trumpets in the Mountains: Theater and the Politics of National Culture in Cuba, published by Duke University Press, received Honorable Mention for Outstanding Book of 2012 by ATHE.  It is based on over a decade of ethnographic research, including two and a half years living in some of Cuba’s most remote mountainous areas called “zones of silence.” She continues to conduct research in and about Cuba.  Her second book project focuses on genres of true storytelling performance, especially in legal culture and courtroom testimony in the United States and Puerto Rico.  Dr. Frederik teaches classes on the role of artists and intellectuals in society, political ritual, subversive culture, national identity, censorship, creativity, and ethnographic method.


Ph.D., Anthropology, University of Chicago, 2007
B.A. Honors (MA equiv), Social Anthropology, University of Cape Town 1993
B.A., Anthropology, University of Virginia 1990
School for International Training, Kenya/Tanzania, 1990

Areas of Specialization/Interest:

Cuba, Caribbean, Latin America, African Diaspora, South Africa, anthropology of art, performance studies, ethnography, politics, nationalism, subversive culture, artistic and cultural narrative, law and legal testimony

Professional Affiliations:

Affiliate Faculty member, Anthropology
Affiliate Faculty member, Latin American Studies
Affiliate Faculty member, Ethnomusicology
Affiliate Faculty member, Women's Studies
Performance Studies International (PSi)
Latin American Studies Association (LASA)
Society for Cultural Anthropology (SCA)
American Anthropological Association (AAA)
Association for Theater in Higher Education (ATHE)
American Society for Theater Research (ASTR)

Representative Publications/Research Activities:

Showing Off, Showing Up: Studies of Hype, Heightened Performance, and Cultural Power (edited volume under review, co-editors Kim Marra and Catherine Schuler)

“Painting the Body Brown and Other Lessons on How to Dance Latino,” article contributed to Showing Off, Showing Up (under review)

“True Stories and the Art of Persuasive Performance in Courtrooms of Law” (book manuscript in preparation)

Trumpets in the Mountains: Theater and the Politics of National Culture in Cuba (Duke University Press, 2012)

"La Batalla for Cuban Identity: Option Zero Theater," in The Special Period: Cuban Culture and Ideology in the 1990's (Palgrave 2008)

"Playback Theatre in Cuba: the Politics of Improvisation and Free Expression" (The Drama Review 2007)

“Una Experiencia Antropologica: El Guajiro a los Cuatro Vientos,” (Revista Tablas, 2007)

"Cuba's National Characters: Setting the Stage for the Hombre Novísimo" (Journal of Latin American Anthropology 2005)

"The Contestation of Cuba's Public Sphere in National Theater and the Transformation from Teatro Bufo to Teatro Nuevo" (Gestos 2001)

 “Una mirada dento del trabajo colectivo de Teatro de los Elementos” (Conjunto: Revista de Teatro Latinamericano, April/June 2000)

Research Grants and Fellowships:

Research and Scholarship Award (RASA), UMD
General Research Board Grant (GRB), UMD
Notre Dame Pre-Doctoral Fellowship
Fulbright-Hayes Doctoral Research Fellowship
Wenner-Gren Anthropological Foundation Fellowship
Spencer Foundation Research Grant
Tinker Foundation Field Research Grant
John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Grant
Rotary International Graduate Ambassadorial Scholarship to South Africa

Creative Activities

4-time U.S. National Champion in Ballroom and Latin Dancesport
storyteller with Speakeasy DC and The Stoop of Baltimore
Playback Theatre practitioner
musical theater practitioner
dancer in UMD production, The Ash Girl
collaborator and actor in UMD devised production, Sandwalk