Nathaniel G. Nesmith, who is a 20th- and 21st-century drama specialist, earned a B.A. and M.A. in criminal justice from John Jay College of Criminal Justice; he also has a B.F.A. in theatre from Temple University and an M.F.A. in playwriting from Columbia University. He received his Ph.D. in theatre from Columbia. His John Jay thesis, Contextualizing Issues of Crime and Justice in Pulitzer Prize-winning Plays by African American Dramatists, explores criminality in the works of Charles Gordone, Charles Fuller, August Wilson, and Suzan-Lori Parks. His Columbia dissertation, Freedom and Equality Now! Contextualizing the Nexus between the Civil Rights Movement and Drama, examines how central issues of the American Civil Rights Movement were dramatized on stage. He has published articles in American Theatre, The Dramatist, The Drama Review, The New York Times, The Yale Review, African American Review, and other publications.
Courses offered in the past four years.
▲ indicates offered in the current term
▹ indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]
THEA 0117 / AMST 0117 - Dramas/Civil Rights Movement
Dramas of the American Civil Rights Movement (1956-1966)
Racial egalitarianism was a central premise of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement; playwrights, using their voices as cultural arbiters, played a significant role in raising awareness about racial injustices, thus contributing in an important way to the success of the movement. Relying on critical analyses, archival material, oral interviews, and dramatic texts, students will explore how dramatists (Loften Mitchell, Lorraine Hansberry, Ossie Davis, Amiri Baraka, George Sklar) addressed crucial issues (education, housing, and voting) in their plays. Students will also have an opportunity to explore the role of comedy and militancy on the stage while simultaneously understanding how the theatre served as a vehicle for political progress and social change. ART LIT NOR
THEA 0136 / ENAM 0136 - Dramatizing Black Experience ▹
Dramatizing the Black Experience for the American Stage
In this course we will explore how influential contemporary African American dramatists bring to the American stage different aspects of the black experience. From William Branch’s A Medal For Willie (1951) to Dominique Morisseau’s Detroit ’67 (2013), readings will provide students the opportunity to investigate how plays are interpreted by actors and directors, and wrestle with topics such as voting rights, cultural appropriation, housing discrimination, gender inequality, and equal access to education. Beyond dramatic texts and critical readings, students will hear some of the playwrights (via video conferencing) offer their views on topics and issues we will discuss in class. 3 hrs. lect. ART CMP LIT NOR
Fall 2014, Fall 2015