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.
Her first book, Shakespeare and the Materiality of Performance, won the 2013 David Bevington Award for Best New Book in Early Drama Studies. Drawing on sixteenth and seventeenth-century scientific treatises, murder pamphlets, travel narratives, dream manuals, religious sermons, legal records, and other primary sources, this book reconstructs playgoers’ typical ways of thinking and feeling and 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.” In addition, with Gina Bloom and Tom Bishop, she is currently co-editing a volume of essays on Games and Theatre in Early Modern England.
Professor Lin’s research has appeared in many venues, including Theatre Journal and New Theatre Quarterly. Her article “Performance Practice and Theatrical Privilege: Rethinking Weimann’s Concepts of Locus and Platea” won the 2008 Martin Stevens Award for Best New Essay in Early Drama Studies, and her essay “A Witch in the Morris: Hobbyhorse Tricks and Early Modern Erotic Transformations” received Honorable Mention for the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women’s 2016 Award for Best Article on Women and Gender. Professor Lin’s work has also been recognized by various honors and grants, including from the American Society for Theatre Research and the Shakespeare Association of America, and she was most recently the recipient of an Andrew W. Mellon Long-Term Fellowship at the Folger Shakespeare Library. She currently serves on the Executive Council of the Medieval and Renaissance Drama Society, the Program Committee for the Shakespeare Association of America’s 2017 Conference, and the MLA Committee for the New Variorum Shakespeare.