Dean for the Humanities;
Professor of English, Drama, and Environmental Studies; Collegiate Professor;
BA, MA, English Literature in Delhi (India)
PhD, English and Comparative Literature, MPhil, MA, Columbia University
Modern drama, theatre history, performance theory, animal studies, eco-criticism, art in the Anthropocene
Una Chaudhuri is a Collegiate Professor and Professor of English, Drama, and Environmental Studies at New York University. She is currently the Director of NYU’s XE: Experimental Humanities & Social Engagement. Her current research, teaching, and creative projects explore what she calls “ecospheric consciousness”—ideas, feelings, and practices that attend to the multi-species and geo-physical contexts of human lives.
Chaudhuri is a pioneer in the field of “eco-theatre”—plays and performances that engage with the subjects of ecology and environment, as well as the related field of ecocriticism, which studies art and literature from an ecological perspective. She helped launch both these fields when she guest-edited a special issue of Yale’s Theater journal on “Theatre and Ecology” in 1994. Her introduction to that issue, entitled “‘There Must Be a Lot of Fish in That Lake’ Theorizing a Theatre Ecology,” is widely credited as a seminal contribution to the field. Chaudhuri was also among the first scholars of drama and theatre to engage with another rapidly expanding inter-disciplinary field: Animal Studies. She has written and lectured widely on two concept she has theorized: “Zooësis,” the discourse and representation of species in contemporary culture and performance, and “AnthropoScenes,” dramaturgies beyond the human.
Chaudhuri participates in collaborative art and research projects, including the ongoing multi-platform Dear Climate, which has been featured in exhibitions in Dublin, New York—(Storm King Arts Center), New York Public Library, the Dumbo Art Festival—the Netherlands, and Houston, Texas (Rice University).
Creative Climate Award from the Human Impacts Institute (2015); New York University Visual Arts Initiative Awards, with Marina Zurkow (2009, 2011); Humane Society of the United States Animals and Society Courses Award for the best established course (2005) for “Topics in Performance Studies: Animal Rites”; American Theatre in Higher Education Award for Excellence in Editing (2003); American Society for Theatre Research, Honorable Mention; Barnard-Hewitt Award for Outstanding Research in Theatre History (1995); New York University’s Distinguished Teaching Medal (1993); Curricular Development Challenge Fund Grant, New York University (1991–92); Golden Dozen Teaching Award, New York University (1988); Curricular Development Challenge Fund Grant, New York University (1986–87); Mellon Foundation Presidential Research Fellowship (1986–87); Presidential Fellowship, Columbia University (1976–77)
- Animal Acts: Performing Species Today. Co-edited with Holly Hughes, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2014.
- Ecocide: Research Theatre and Climate Change. Co-authored with Shonni Enelow. Palgrave, 2014.
- Land/Scape/Theater. Co-edited with Elinor Fuchs. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2002. Winner of ATHE’s Excellence in Editing Award, 2003.
- Rachel’s Brain and other Storms: The Performance Scripts of Rachel Rosenthal. Edited and with Commentaries by Una Chaudhuri. London: Continuum, 2001.
- Staging Place: The Geography of Modern Drama. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1995.
- No Man’s Stage: A Semiotic Study of Jean Genet’s Major Plays. Ann Arbor: UMI Research Press, 1986.