Erika T. Lin

Erika T. Lin faculty photo

Research Interests

  • Theatre history
  • Performance studies
  • Medieval and early modern drama, literature, and culture
  • Intersections with social history, visual culture studies, anthropology, religion, folklore, the history of science, and dance studies
  • Gender and sexuality
  • Race in the profession


  • Ph.D. in English, University of Pennsylvania

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 is the author of Shakespeare and the Materiality of Performance, which received the 2013 David Bevington Award for Best New Book in Early Drama Studies. This book drew on sixteenth and seventeenth-century travel narratives, dream manuals, religious sermons, legal records, scientific treatises, murder pamphlets, and other primary sources, in order to reconstruct early modern playgoers’ typical ways of thinking and feeling—culturally-trained habits of mind that shaped not only dramatic narratives but also the presentational dynamics of onstage action. With Gina Bloom and Tom Bishop, she edited the essay collection Games and Theatre in Shakespeare’s England (2021), supported in part by a fellowship from the American Society for Theatre Research. She is now writing a book tentatively titled Seasonal Festivity and Commercial Performance in Early Modern England, which analyzes May Games, Robin Hood gatherings, morris dances, and other holiday practices to explore how performance as a ubiquitous mode of sociality transformed into the institutionalized aesthetic entity that we think of today as “theatre.” The project has been recognized by various honors and grants, including an Andrew W. Mellon Long-Term Fellowship at the Folger Shakespeare Library.

Professor Lin advises Ph.D. dissertations on myriad forms of theatre and performance, from medieval to contemporary, on issues as wide-ranging as physics, food, animals, violence, dance, epistemology, race, ritual, affect, and audiences. Recent courses at the Graduate Center include seminars on festive and ritual performance, embodiment, medieval and early modern theatre, and archival research methods, among other topics. She has served as the Book Review Editor of Theatre Survey and as an elected member of the Board of Trustees of the Shakespeare Association of America, for whom she continues as the Board representative to the Bylaws Committee. She also engages regularly with artists, directors, writers, and public audiences at theatres in New York City and beyond.

Selected Publications


  • Shakespeare and the Materiality of Performance (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012). [Winner of the 2013 David Bevington Award for Best New Book in Early Drama Studies from the Medieval and Renaissance Drama Society.]

Edited Collection

  • Games and Theatre in Shakespeare’s England, co-edited with Tom Bishop and Gina Bloom (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2021). [Winner of a 2020 Research Fellowship from the American Society for Theatre Research.]

Articles and Chapters

  • “Circles and Lines: Community and Legacy in Taylor Mac’s Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus.” In The (Taylor) Mac Book, edited by Sean F. Edgecomb and David Román (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, forthcoming).
  • “Festive Friars: Embodied Performance and Audience Affect.” In “Performance beyond Drama,” edited by Ineke Murakami and Donovan Sherman, special issue, Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 51.3 (2021): 487–95.
  • “Comedy on the Boards: Shakespeare’s Use of Playhouse Space.” In The Oxford Handbook of Shakespearean Comedy, edited by Heather Hirschfeld (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018), 426–38.
  • “Social Functions: Audience Participation, Efficacious Entertainment.” In A Cultural History of Theatre in the Early Modern Age, edited by Robert Henke, six-volume set edited by Christopher B. Balme and Tracy C. Davis (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2017), 35–50. [Winner of the 2018 Barbara D. Palmer Award for Best New Essay in Early Drama Archival Research from the Medieval and Renaissance Drama Society.]
  • “A Witch in the Morris: Hobbyhorse Tricks and Early Modern Erotic Transformations.” In The Oxford Handbook of Dance and Theater, edited by Nadine George-Graves (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015), 335–61. [Honorable Mention for the 2016 Society for the Study of Early Modern Women Award for Best Article on Women and Gender.]
  • “Suits of Green: Festive Livery on Shakespeare’s Stage.” In Shakespeare and Costume, edited by Patricia Lennox and Bella Mirabella (London: Bloomsbury Arden Shakespeare, 2015), 47–61.
  • “Festivity.” In Early Modern Theatricality, edited by Henry S. Turner, Oxford Twenty-First Century Approaches to Literature (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), 212–29.
  • “Popular Worship and Visual Paradigms in Love’s Labor’s Lost.” In Religion and Drama in Early Modern England: The Performance of Religion on the Renaissance Stage, edited by Jane Hwang Degenhardt and Elizabeth Williamson (Farnham, UK: Ashgate, 2011), 89–113.
  • “‘Lord of thy presence’: Bodies, Performance, and Audience Interpretation in Shakespeare’s King John.” In Imagining the Audience in Early Modern Drama, 1558–1642, edited by Jennifer A. Low and Nova Myhill (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), 113–33.
  • “Popular Festivity and the Early Modern Stage: The Case of George a Greene.” Theatre Journal 61.2 (2009): 271–97.
  • “Performance Practice and Theatrical Privilege: Rethinking Weimann’s Concepts of Locus and Platea.” New Theatre Quarterly 22.3 (2006): 283–98. [Winner of the 2008 Martin Stevens Award for Best New Essay in Early Drama Studies from the Medieval and Renaissance Drama Society.]
  • “Mona on the Phone: The Performative Body and Racial Identity in Mona in the Promised Land.” MELUS: Multi-Ethnic Literatures of the United States 28.2 (2003): 47–57.

Public Scholarship