Erika T. Lin specializes in early modern English theatre and culture with particular attention to embodied performance, affect, spectacle, and audience. Her research examines dramatic texts, performance theory, and theatre historiography by incorporating approaches from many fields, including literature, social history, visual culture studies, anthropology, religion, and the history of science. In addition, she has written and taught on topics related to medieval theatre, gender and sexuality, the history of dance, folklore and popular culture, and Asian American studies.
Professor Lin's first book drew on sixteenth and seventeenth-century scientific treatises, murder pamphlets, travel narratives, dream manuals, religious sermons, legal records, and other primary sources, in order to reconstruct early modern playgoers’ typical ways of thinking and feeling. She demonstrates how these culturally-trained habits of mind shaped not only dramatic narratives but also the presentational dynamics of onstage action. She is now working on her second book, tentatively titled Seasonal Festivity and Commercial Performance in Early Modern England, which analyzes May Games, Robin Hood gatherings, morris dances, and other popular practices to explore how performance as a ubiquitous mode of sociality transformed into the institutionalized aesthetic mode that we think of today as "theatre."
Awards and Grants
- 2018 - Barbara D. Palmer Award for Best New Essay in Early Drama Archival Research - “Social Functions: Audience Participation, Efficacious Entertainment"
- 2016 - Honorable Mention, Society for the Study of Early Modern Women’s 2016 Award for Best Article on Women and Gender - “A Witch in the Morris: Hobbyhorse Tricks and Early Modern Erotic Transformations”
- 2013 - David Bevington Award for Best New Book in Early Drama Studies - Shakespeare and the Materiality of Performance
- 2008 - Martin Stevens Award for Best New Essay in Early Drama Studies - “Performance Practice and Theatrical Privilege: Rethinking Weimann’s Concepts of Locus and Platea”
Professional Affiliations and Memberships
She has served in a variety of leadership roles, including as an elected member of the Board of Trustees of the Shakespeare Association of America; as the Book Review Editor for Theatre Survey, the flagship journal of the American Society for Theatre Research; as an elected member of the Executive Council of the Medieval and Renaissance Drama Society.
Professor Lin teaches courses at the Graduate Center on festive and ritual performance, embodiment, medieval and early modern theatre, and archival research methods, among other topics. She advises dissertations on myriad forms of theatre and performance, from medieval to contemporary, related to a wide range of issues, such as physics, food, dance, epistemology, race, ritual, affect, and audiences.
In addition to her prize-winning articles noted above, she has also published essays in numerous journals and edited collections, on topics such as comedy, space, livery, festivity, religion, visuality, audiences, and race. Forthcoming and in progress are a volume of essays on early modern games and theatre, co-edited with Gina Bloom and Tom Bishop, as well as articles on gender and sexuality, holiday roleplaying, performance in nondramatic texts, and queer community.