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College of Arts and Sciences

Faculty and Staff

Marvin McAllister

Title: Associate Professor
Department: English Language and Literature
College of Arts and Sciences
Phone: 803-576-5964
Office: HUO 318
Resources: Curriculum Vitae [pdf]
English Language and Literature
African American Studies Program


Interdisciplinary PhD in Theatre/Drama, Northwestern University
BA in History with Theatre Studies, Yale University

Areas of Specialization

African American drama, theater, and performance
American drama, theater, and performance

Recently Taught Courses

AFAM 202 – Introduction to African American Studies: Cultural and Artistic Foundations
AFAM/ENGL/THEA 565 – African American Theatre
ENGL 424 – American Drama
ENGL 284 – Introduction to Drama

Current Research Projects 

Theater on the Hilltop: A Visual History of Howard University Dramatics
Beginning in 1909 and working into the 21st century, this history of Howard University theatrical production will examine the country's first degree-granting college theater program using rehearsal and production visuals; personal, institutional, and genre histories; multiple theories of class, racial, and gendered identities; artist interviews and statements; dramatic/theatrical criticism; and representational analyses of dramatic texts and theatrical production. I am especially interested in the complex relationships between professional and academic theater at Howard University and beyond, the acculturative notion of theatrical production as "class production" for a middle-class aspirant Negro community, and the cultural work of a highly self-conscious African American collegiate presence in international art and politics. In terms or racial production, I will analyze Howard's significant role in the emergence and promotion of "race drama" within the New Negro aesthetics of the 1920s, the nearly devastating impact of the explicitly political 1960s Black Arts movement on campus dramatics, and finally Howard's 21st century explorations of "post-black" performance on a historically black university campus.

Selected Publications 

    Whiting Up: Whiteface Minstrels and Stage Europeans in African American Performance, University of North Carolina Press, 2011.
    White People Do Not Know How To Behave At Entertainments Designed For Ladies And Gentlemen Of Colour: William Brown's African and American Theater, University of North Carolina Press, 2003. 


    “Embodied and Disembodied Black Satire: From Chappelle and Crockett to Key & Peele” in Post-¬Soul Satire: Black Identity After Civil Rights, eds. Joseph Donohue and Derek Maus. University of Mississippi Press, Spring/Summer 2014.
    “The Rise of African American Drama: 1822-1879” in Oxford Handbook of American Drama, eds. Jeffrey H. Richards and Heather Nathans. Oxford University Press, January 2014.
    Review, Stephanie Leigh Batiste’s Darkening Mirrors: Imperial Representation in Depression-Era African American Performance, Journal of American History 99:4 (March 2013): 1292-93.
    “Transnational Balladeering: ‘Scots, wha hae wi Wallace Bled’ in 1820s Afro-New York,” Studies in Scottish Literature 38.1 (September 2012): 109-118.
    "Are You a Member of the Mystic Crew?" Sixth Annual Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theatre Festival Catalogue, September 2011.
    "Shakespeare visits The Hilltop: Classical Drama and the Howard College Dramatic Club," in Shakespearean Educations: Power, Citizenship, and Performance, eds. Mimi Godfrey, Coppelia Kahn, and Heather Nathans. Wilmington: University of Delaware Press, 2011.
    "Howard College Dramatic Club," in The Scurlock Studio and Black Washington-Picturing the Promise, ed. Paul Gardullo. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Books, 2009.
    "Dave Chappelle, Whiteface Minstrelsy and 'Irresponsible' Satire," in Black Humor, Irony, and Satire: Ishmael Reed, Satirically Speaking, ed. Dana Williams. New York: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2007.


    Marvin McAllister: Margaret Bowland and Janasia Smith: Subject and Artist at Play
    Marvin McAllister: Idris Elba ‘Multi-Levels’ THOR: Norse Mythology Meets Yoruba Cosmology