Tabitha Chester

Job title: 
Postdoctoral fellow
Theatre Scholarship and Performance Studies
Academic Rank: 
Visiting Assistant Professor
2823 Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center

Tabitha Chester, PhD is a performance studies scholar specializing in gender, sexuality and religion in the Black diaspora. Their manuscript in progress “Always a Preacher’s Daughter: The Performance of Gender and Sexuality in and beyond the Church” (under advance contract with Northwestern University Press), interrogates the archetypal narrative of the "wild preacher's daughter." Their research uses both popular culture and the lived experiences of Black women to explore the development and performance of sexual and gender identities. Dr. Chester currently teaches an undergraduate course on Black performance, “Black Is…Black Ain’t,” and is developing a new course on Black LGBT plays and playwrights for the spring.

Education/ Training:

  • Ph.D., Theatre and the Performance of the Americas, Arizona State University, 2013
  • M.A., African-American Studies, Temple University, 2009
  • B.A., Florida State University, 2006

Areas of Specialization/Interest

  • Sexuality Studies
  • Black Studies
  • Queer Theory
  • Performance Ethnography
  • Sexuality and Gender in the Black Church
  • African-American Theatre and Performance
  • Women’s Religion and Spirituality Practices

Professional Affiliations

  • Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE)
  • Black Theatre Network (BTN)
  • National Women Studies Association (NWSA)
  • American Studies Association (ASA)

Fellowships & Awards

  • 2016, Denison University, Pedagogical Practice Projects Fall Recipients
  • 2016, Denison University, Pay it Forward Grant
  • 2016, Denison University, Service and Experiential Learning Project Spring Recipient
  • 2015, Denison University, Pedagogical Practice Projects Fall Recipient
  • 2013-2014, National Center for Institutional Diversity Emerging Diversity Scholar Arizona State 2012- 2013, Arizona State University, Graduate & Professional Student Association “Outstanding Mentor Award”
  • 2013, Arizona State University’s Graduate Studies Summer Fellowship
  • 2012, University of California at Santa Barbara, Global Theater and Performance Studies Dissertation Research Workshop
  • 2012, First Place Black Theatre Network’s S. Randolph Edmonds Young Scholars Competition Award Winner
  • 2012-2013, Arizona State University, Division of Graduate Studies Fellowship
  • 2011-2012, Arizona State University, Special Talent Award- Theatre
  • 2010-2011, Arizona State University Dean’s Fellowship (2010-2011)
  • 2007-2008, Temple University, Brodsky Fellowship

Forthcoming Essays

“Movement for Black Love: The Building of Critical Communities through the Relational Geography of Movement Spaces,” Biography: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly, 2018

“Pomo Afro Homos: A Revolutionary Act,” The Routledge Companion to African American Theatre and Performance, 2019