Headshot of Prof. Emily Klein in front of De La Salle Hall

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Scholar Profile

Emily Klein

Headshot of Prof. Emily Klein in front of De La Salle Hall
Department: English
Phone: (925) 631-4763
Office Location: Dante Hall 315

Professional Overview

Emily B. Klein, PhD is Professor of English and faculty advisory board member in Ethnic Studies and Women's & Gender Studies at Saint Mary's College of California. She is co-editor of Performing Dream Homes: Theater and the Spatial Politics of the Domestic Sphere (Palgrave Macmillan 2019) with theatre scholars Jill Stevenson and Jennifer-Scott Mobley. The volume explores how theatre and performance use home as the prism through which we reconcile shifts in national, cultural, and personal identity. In her chapter, "Nostalgic Cartography: Performances of Hometown by Pittsburgh’s Squonk Opera and San Francisco’s Magic Bus," Dr. Klein investigates how the metaphors of tourism and travel inform place-based performance in two rapidly changing civic tech hubs. 

Her first book, Sex and War on the American Stage: Lysistrata in performance 1930-2012 (Routledge 2014) traces a feminist history of twentieth and twenty-first century American adaptations of Aristophanes' most popular comedy, and has been featured in The New York Times, Ms. and Vice. Her article, “Seductive Movements in Lysistrata and Spike Lee’s Chi-Raq: Activism, adaptation, and immersive theatre in film” (Adaptation 2020) follows up on that manuscript research. 

Dr. Klein's newest scholarship looks back at two separate twentieth century theatre forms that each make meaning today in innovative ways. Most recently, she returns to her work on the Federal Theatre Project’s Living Newspapers as she examines the discourses of science and fact in WPA arts administration records from 1935-39. Meanwhile, her research on "A New Feminist Absurd," published in Modern Drama (2022) identifies an emerging movement in contemporary American theatre that employs midcentury absurdism with a new political valence. Other recent publications include “’To Ethnic Studies—Love Hard, Fight Beautifully:’ A Dialogue with Boots Riley,” co-authored with Boots Riley and Michael J Viola (Critical Ethnic Studies 2019) and "Failure to Adapt: Affect, Apathy, and Doomed Reenactments in American Theatre's Militarized Dystopias" in Performance in a Militarized Culture edited by Sara Brady and Lindsay Mantoan, (Routledge 2017). Her work has also appeared in Frontiers, Women and Performance, American Quarterly, American Literature, Theatre Journal and other scholarly and popular publications.

Her teaching and research areas include twentieth and twenty-first century American political theatre, women's and gender studies, performance theory, media and film studies, and cultural and ethnic studies.

She earned her PhD in Literary and Cultural Studies from Carnegie Mellon University and her BA in English from the University of California, Los Angeles.