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USC theater scholar wins Shakespeare prize

Carla Della Gatta accepts the accolade for dissertation on contemporary performance, which represents a shift for the Shakespeare Association of America

Just in time for the international celebrations of the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death, a scholar at the USC School of Dramatic Arts has been awarded a major prize by the Shakespeare Association of America.

Carla Della Gatta, an assistant professor of critical studies, was given the J. Leeds Barroll Dissertation Prize for best dissertation on Shakespeare.

Carla Della Gatta portrait

Carla Della Gatta (Photo/Courtesy of Carla Della Gatta)

She accepted the award at the end of March in front of more than 1,100 attendees at the association’s annual conference in New Orleans.

Her dissertation, which she received from Northwestern University, is titled “Shakespeare & Latinidad: The Staging of Intracultural Theater.” It explores how Latino culture is constructed dramaturgically and in the text of recent Shakespearean adaptations and productions.

“It’s the first time a dissertation about contemporary performance has won the award, and I believe the first time one that explicitly addresses race or ethnicity has won,” said Della Gatta. “The past winners were from English departments, so this award represents a shift for the association.”

Della Gatta’s research areas include early modern drama and theater history, the history of Shakespearean performance, Latina/o theater, Spanish Golden Age theater, gender and sexuality studies, postcolonial feminism and critical race theory. She has been a professional dramaturge, worked as a scholar for Chicago Shakespeare Theater and Victory Gardens Theater and was the lead translator for a play from Spanish to English for The Cardenio Project, a Mellon funded initiative.

At the conference, USC received additional recognition as Heather James, an associate professor in the English department at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, was inducted as president of the association for the coming year.

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USC theater scholar wins Shakespeare prize

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