Loren Kruger

Walker 405
Ph.D., Cornell University, 1986
Teaching at UChicago since 1986
Research Interests: Critical Theory | Theories of Diaspora and Decolonization | African Literature in English | Drama and Performance in Africa, the Americas, and Western Europe | Modern Drama and Performance | Translation | Urban Studies


Multilingual as well as interdisciplinary, Loren Kruger’s research includes The National Stage (University of Chicago Press), which focuses on England France and America but has been cited by researchers from India to Ireland, Croatia to China, South Africa to Slovenia, and Post-Imperial Brecht (Cambridge University Press), which won the Scaglione Prize for Comparative Study awarded by the Modern Language Association. Her most recent books include A Century of South African Theatre (Bloomsbury 2019) and Imagining the Edgy City (Oxford UP 2013). The latter covers film and fiction, public art and architecture as well as performance of poetry and theatre in Johannesburg “the Chicago of South Africa,” and compares Johannesburg with other cities from Chicago to Paris, Berlin to Bogotá, Sydney to São Paolo. Professor Kruger’s research has been supported by grants from the National Endowment of the Humanities, the Fulbright Foundation; US Dept. of of Education, the German Academic Exchange Service and the American Society of Theatre Research and teaching innovation supported by the Mellon Foundation for Languages Across Chicago, Center for Disciplinary Innovation, and UChicago Arts. She has served as the editor of Theatre Journal, on the advisory boards of other journals from the African Media Journal to Theatre Research International, and on the executive committee of the American Society for Theatre Research.


Thesis Work with Students

PhD thesis highlights: Economy and Ecology in the Contemporary African Novel; Theatre Culture and Everyday Life in Victorian England; Skepticism in Samuel Beckett and Stanley Cavell; The Immigrant Scene: Fiction, Film, and Theatre in Immigrant America

MA thesis highlights: Contemporary Indian Theatre in South Africa; Post-Apartheid Landscape in Nadine Gordimer’s stories; Class and Theatre in 1950s Britain; The Figure of the Artist in the Plays of Howard Barker; Walter Benjamin's "Theses on History" and the theory of drama

BA thesis highlights: Theatre and Atrocity in Post-World War II France; Aesthetics and Politics in the Bread and Puppet Theatre; Irish Nationalist History in Juno and the Paycock; adaptation and production of Une si longue lettre by Mariamma Bâ

Select Publications


  • A Century of South African Theatre (Methuen, 2019)
  • Imagining the Edgy City: Writing, Performing and Building Johannesburg (Oxford, 2013)
  • Post-Imperial Brecht (Cambridge, 2004) (winner of the MLA's Scaglione Prize for Comparative Literary Study 2005)
  • The Drama of South Africa: Plays, Pageants and Publics Since 1910 (Routledge, 1999)
  • The National Stage (Chicago, 1992)

Articles—a sample since 2011



Courses taught—a sample

Graduate Topics: Performance Theory: Archive, Affect, Audience; Catharsis, Tedium and Other Aesthetic Responses, Marxism and Modern Culture. South African Literature and the Global Imaginary; New Deal Cultures

Undergraduate Topics: Brecht and Beyond; Before and After Beckett; Cinema in Africa; African Drama and Performance; South African Fictions and Factions; Modern Drama; Criticism and Ideology; Text and Performance (a core course)