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 Theatre Journal, New Theatre Quarterly, and numerous edited collections. Her prize-winning articles include “Performance Practice and Theatrical Privilege: Rethinking Weimann’s Concepts of Locus and Platea,” which received the 2008 Martin Stevens Award for Best New Essay in Early Drama Studies; “A Witch in the Morris: Hobbyhorse Tricks and Early Modern Erotic Transformations,” which was named Honorable Mention for the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women’s 2016 Award for Best Article on Women and Gender; and “Social Functions: Audience Participation, Efficacious Entertainment,” which won the 2018 Barbara D. Palmer Award for Best New Essay in Early Drama Archival Research. Her work has been recognized by honors and grants from the American Society for Theatre Research and the Shakespeare Association of America, and she was the recipient of an Andrew W. Mellon Long-Term Fellowship at the Folger Shakespeare Library. She currently serves as the Book Review Editor for Theatre Survey as well as an elected member of the Board of Trustees of the Shakespeare Association of America.