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Contact Info:
Tufts University
Dept. of Theatre, Dance,
and Performance Studies
Aidekman Arts Center
40 Talbot Avenue
Tufts University
Medford, MA 02155

Office: 617.627.2222
Email Professor
Heather Nathans
Alice and Nathan Gantcher Professor in Judaic Studies
Department Chair


A former Jumbo who earned her doctorate from the department, Nathans's scholarly interests include representations of race, gender, and ethnicity on the U.S. American stage, African American theatre, Jewish American theatre, musical theatre, 17th and 18th century French theatre, theatre historiography, English Restoration drama, and directing.

Nathans holds numerous professional affiliations. She is a current board member of the American Theatre and Drama Society. She is the past-president of the American Society for Theatre Research and the American Theatre and Drama Society. In addition, she is affiliated with the Association for Theatre in Higher Education; the Society of Early Americanists; the Association for Jewish Studies; and the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic.

Nathans holds a Ph.D. in Theatre from Tufts University (1999) and an A.B. in Theatre from Dartmouth College (1990). In 2012 she received the Outstanding Career Achievement Award from the Tufts Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

Representative Productions

Jihad Jones and the Kalashnikov Babes (Tufts); Benefit Performance, or The Other Jew (Tufts); The Merchant of Venice (Tufts); Desire Under the Elms (Tufts); The Country Wife (Chesapeake Shakespeare Company); directing projects at the University of Maryland include Measure for Measure, The Taming of the Shrew, Fashion, Sister Mary Ignatius Explains it All for You, and 'Dentity Crisis

Representative Publications/Research Activities


Early American Theatre from the Revolution to Thomas Jefferson (Cambridge University Press 2003; paperback 2009) and Slavery and Sentiment on the American Stage, 1787-1861 (Cambridge University Press 2009; paperback 2012); Shakespearean Educations: Power, Citizenship, and Performance (co-editor and contributing author, University of Delaware Press 2011); Weyward Macbeth: Intersections of Race and Performance (contributing author, Palgrave 2009); and Theatre Historiography: Critical Interventions (contributing author, University of Michigan Press, 2010); Cambridge Companion to African American Theatre (contributing author, Cambridge University Press 2012); Atlantic Worlds in the Long Eighteenth Century: Seduction and Sentiment (contributing author, Palgrave Macmillan, 2012); Oxford Handbook of American Drama (co-editor and contributing author, Oxford University Press, 2014), and Hideous Characters and Beautiful Pagans: Performing Jewish Identity on the Antebellum American Stage (University of Michigan Press, 2017); Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Literature (contributing author, University Press, 2017); and Cambridge Companion to the American Gothic (contributing author, Cambridge University Press, 2018).

Guest Editor:

The Journal of American Drama and Theatre and the New England Theatre Journal (August Wilson issue).

Articles have appeared in:

Theatre Topics, Studies in American Jewish Literature, Journal of the Early Republic, J19: Journal of Nineteenth-Century Americanists, Theatre Survey, Theatre History Studies, New England Theatre Journal, Journal of American Drama and Theatre, Early American Studies, Early American Literature, and the Pennsylvania History Journal.


Studies in Theatre History and Culture Series, University of Iowa Press


Oxford Handbook of American Drama, Oxford University Press; Shakespearean Educations: Power, Citizenship, and Performance, University of Delaware Press


Over the past several years it has been a pleasure to share my love of American theatre history, Jewish American theatre, Musical Theatre, and Shakespeare in many forms, including podcasts and televised lectures. I thank the organizations below, including Boston College, C-SPAN, the Kennedy Center, the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Louisiana Anthology, and Public Radio International, for making it possible.

"Shakespeare in American Life," Folger Shakespeare Library and Public Radio International

"Shakespeare Unlimited," Folger Shakespeare Library, Astor Place Riot

"Enough with the goddamned Shakespeare already — Aren't there other great old plays?" Public Radio International

History and Hamilton the Musical, C-SPAN

Words and Music: Musical Theater in America, ARTSEDGE: The Kennedy Center's Arts Education Network

"Jewish American Theatre," Louisiana Anthology Podcast

"Seeing Ourselves Through Others' Eyes," Literature, Art, and Cultural Studies at Boston College, part of the Lowell Humanities Series

Honors and Awards

Awards: Barnard Hewitt Award from the American Society for Theatre Research for the best book in "theatre history or cognate disciplines” for Hideous Characters and Beautiful Pagans; John W. Frick Book Award for Hideous Characters and Beautiful Pagans (American Theatre and Drama Society); Finalist, George Freedley Memorial Award for Hideous Characters and Beautiful Pagans (Theatre Library Association); Betty Jean Jones Award (lifetime award for teaching and mentorship, American Theatre and Drama Society)

Fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the American Antiquarian Society, the American Jewish Archives, the American Jewish Historical Society, the American Society for Theatre Research, the Boston Athenaeum, the Folger Institute and the National Endowment for the Humanities (in conjunction with the Folger Shakespeare Library), the Gilder Lehrman Foundation, the Library Company of Philadelphia and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, the Massachusetts Historical Society, and the McNeil Center for Early American Studies; Non-resident Fellow at the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute at Harvard University from 2001-2004; Grants from the Pepsi Foundation, the Center for Teaching Excellence, the Consortium on Race, Gender, and Ethnicity, the David C. Driskell Center for the Study of the Visual Arts and Culture of African Americans and the African Diaspora.