Assistant Professor of Theatre and Dance and Latin American Studies (on leave 2013 - 2014)

The Theatre and Performance Studies; Critical theory; Diaspora in the Americas; Transnational Modernismos; Post-colonial studies; Ethnographic and Documentary Media; Oral History

Theater Building, 110
Telephone: 651-696-6928

Professor Nielsen's performance research works amongst and between arts medias (dramatic literature, theater, performance, film) as well as popular performance and participation medias privileging kinetic embodiments.

Nielsen's first collaborative book project, Neoliberalism and Global Theatres: Performance Permutations (2012) studies complex relationships between the arts and free market ideologies, globally. Nielsen examines practices and premises that advertise the entrepreneurial model of artistic work to negotiate neoliberalism and finance capital ‘from below.’ At issue is the question of whether the conjunctions of neoliberal ideologies and financialization can deliver better futures—and for whom.

Fueled by investigations into popular performance industries that traffic in virtuosity and fungibility, Professor Nielsen's book The Diamond and the Grid (in progress) theorizes fugitivity and counterconquest performance in the transnational Caribbean Americas. The Diamond and the Grid examines rhetorical emplotments of the new world in the visual and spatial fields thattranscribe and transform performance, from popular culture to visual art, historical documents, literature, and digital media.

In Performance/Documents/Rights, another book project in progress, Professor Nielsen examines performance practices in the multidisciplinary arts that document and contest rights strategies, both tempering and tampering with evidence. From theatre and dance to body/performance art and transnational puppet productions, Nielsen theorizes arts that advance and critique the claims of rights rhetorics.

Professor Nielsen serves on the Steering Committees of the Latin American Studies Program, the Humanitarianism and Human Rights Concentration, and as a founding member of the Critical Theory Concentration.


Theatre, Performance, and Media Studies; Critical Theory; Diaspora in the Americas; Transnational Modernismos; Post-colonial studies; Feminist and Queer Theory; Ethnographic and Documentary Media; Oral History


Theatre and Performance in the Twin Cities 
Introduction to Theatre Studies
Sources of Global Performance
Performance Studies Praxis: Body and Performance Art
Performance Theory Seminar
The Oral History Project
Rights and Resistance: Latin American Theatre and Film
Feminist Theatres


Contemporary Latina/o Performance
Sports Performances
Theatre and Globalization
Theatre and the Law
Latin American and Latina/o Literatures

Awards and Honors

In 2010 and 2012, Professor Nielsen was nominated for the Best Educator award by the Macalester College Student Council. When Nielsen was in the Department of Drama at Tisch School of the Arts, New York University, her teaching was honored with the David Payne Carter Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2006. Prior to NYU, Nielsen was a Fellow with The Five College's Crossroads in the Studies of the Americas (CISA), where she taught at Hampshire and Amherst Colleges, in Western Massachusetts. Nielsen's research has also been supported by Wallace Grants, ATHE, ASTR, PSi, the Teagle Working Group in Human Rights and Humanitarianism, and NYU Tisch School of the Arts.


Neoliberalism and Global Theatres

Neoliberalism and Global Theatres: Performance Permutations, coedited with Patricia Ybarra (Palgrave July 2012)


"So Close to Burning: Documentary Solo Performance in Juan and John (1965)," Text and Performance Quarterly (forthcoming, 2014)

“The Time After: (Border) Time and the Other in Post Tenebras Lux,” Scapegoat: Architecture/Landscape/Political Economy, 6 Mexico, DF/ NAFTA, Winter 2013.

“Heterotopic Transformations: the (Il)liberal Neoliberal,”
Neoliberalism and Global Theatres: Performance Permutations. Nielsen and Ybarra, editors. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan, 2012: 1-21.

“Working the Field with Oral History: Talking Towards the Research Encounter in Theatre and Performance Studies,” Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism, Fall 2009: 99-116.

“Oral History as Practice-Based Performance Research,” Scholarly Acts: A Practical Guide to Performance as Research. Shannon Rose Riley and Lynette Hunter, editors.
Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan, 2009: 164-170.

“Specters of Exchange: Rights and Resources in Loisaida Liberation Theology
Passion Play Performance,” Performance Research, 13(3), 2009: 18-30.

“Institutionalizing Ensembles,” Law, Culture, and the Humanities 4.2, special
issue on the Arts, January/February 2008: 156-178.

“Globalization and the Work of Theatre” Contemporary Theatre Review, v16 n 1,
February 2006: 147-151.       

“Baseball as Cultural Policy: The Law and the Anomaly of Performance”
Studies in Law, Politics, and Society, v 29, 2003: 37-64.

“Garbage, Gone” Women & Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory, 24,
September 2002: 105-131.


TDR: The Drama Review Book Review (2012): Performing South Africa’s Truth Commission: Stages of Transition, by Catherine M. Cole, Indiana University Press 2009. TDR 56.3, 2012: 183-185.

e-misférica 8.1 Book Review (2011): Performing Remains: Art and War in Times of Theatrical Reenactment, by Rebecca Schneider, Routledge 2011.

Theatre Journal Book Review (2011): Highbrow/Lowdown: Theater, Jazz, and the Making of the New Middle Class, by David Savran, University of Michigan Press, 2009. Theatre Journal 63.2, 2011: 288-289.

TDR: The Drama Review Book Review (2011): Performing Conquest: Five Centuries of Theater, History, and Identity in Tlaxcala, Mexico, by Patricia Ybarra, University of Michigan Press, 2009. TDR 55.2, 2011: 171-174

TDR: The Drama Review Book Review (2007) Tree: belief/culture/balance, Ralph Lemon, Wesleyan University Press, 2004. TDR 2007: 177-180.

Theatre Journal performance review (2005): “Charlie Victor Romeo.” Theatre Journal 2005: 125-127.

Theatre Journal Book Review (1996) Negotiating Performance: Gender, Sexuality, and Theatricality in Latin/o America by Taylor and Villegas, Duke University Press, 1994; El Teatro Campesino: Theatre in the Chicano Movement, by Yolanda Broyles-González, University of Texas Press, 1994; Hispanic Theatre in New York by de la Roche, Garland 1995. Theatre Journal 1996: 87-89.


PSi (


PhD: Performance Studies, New York University

MA: Comparative Literature, University of Minnesota (and the program in Feminist and Gender Studies)