Marvin A. Carlson Is Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

April 28, 2022

The distinguished professor is best known for his scholarship on dramatic theory and theater history.

Marvin Carlson - news story
Marvin A. Carlson

Distinguished Professor Marvin A. Carlson (Theatre and Performance, Comparative Literature, Middle Eastern Studies), was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in recognition of his exceptional scholarly accomplishments in humanities and arts. He is one of 261 leaders in academia, the arts, industry, public policy, and research elected to join the prestigious honorary society in 2022.

“We are celebrating a depth of achievements in a breadth of areas,” David Oxtoby, president of the American Academy, said in a statement. “These individuals excel in ways that excite us and inspire us at a time when recognizing excellence, commending expertise, and working toward the common good is absolutely essential to realizing a better future.”

Carlson, who is the Sidney E. Cohn Chair in Theatre Studies, is widely known for his scholarship on dramatic theory and Western European theater history and dramatic literature. More recently, he has studied and written about the history and influence of Arabic theater.

"Theater is one of the most communal of human activities," Carlson said, "and I have had the tremendous good fortune to be for most of my life in a community of both scholars and artists who inspired and influenced my work. This community has included imaginative and generous colleagues all over the world and for the past several decades has been centered in New York, one of the world's greatest centers for the development of this essential human activity. The Gradate Center of The City University of New York and its associated Martin E. Segal Theatre Center have provided me and countless others with the the best possible supporting structure for whatever I have accomplished."

Carlson is the author of over 250 scholarly articles. His book Theories of the Theatre, the first comprehensive survey of Western dramatic theory, has been translated into eight languages. His 2001 book, The Haunted Stage, won the Calloway Prize. Other books include Theatres of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, co-written with Khalid Amine; Speaking in Tongues, and Theatre is More Beautiful Than War.

He has been awarded the ATHE Career Achievement Award, the George Jean Nathan Prize, the Bernard Hewitt prize, the George Freedley Award, and a Guggenheim fellowship. He has been a Walker-Ames Professor at the University of Washington, a fellow of the Institute for Advanced Studies at Indiana University, a visiting professor at the Freie Universitat of Berlin, and a fellow of the American Theatre. In 2005, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Athens.

Founded in 1780, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences honors excellence and convenes leaders to examine new ideas, address issues of importance to the nation and the world, and advance the public good. Past academy members include Albert Einstein, Robert Frost, Margaret Mead, and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Carlson joins a succession of Graduate Center professors elected to the academy. A full list of academy members from CUNY is here.