This book argues that today’s professoriate has become increasingly theatrical, largely as a result of neoliberal policies in higher education, but also in response to an anti-intellectual scrutiny that has become pervasive throughout the Western world.

The Theatrical Professoriate: Contemporary Higher Education and Its Academic Dramas examines how the Western professoriate increasingly finds itself enacting command performances that utilize scripting, characterization, surrogation, and spectacle—the hallmarks of theatricality—toward neoliberal ends. Roxworthy explores how the theatrical nature of today’s professoriate and the resultant glut of performances about academia on stage and screen have contributed to a highly ambivalent public fascination with academia. She further documents the "theatrical turn" witnessed in American higher education, as academic institutions use performance to intervene in the diversity issues and disciplinary disparities fueled by neoliberalism. By analyzing academic dramas and their audience reception alongside theoretical approaches, the author reveals how contemporary academia drives the professoriate to perform in what seem like increasingly artificial ways.

Ideal for practitioners and students of education, ethnic, and science studies, The Theatrical Professoriate deftly intervenes in Performance Studies’ still-unsettled debates over the differential impact of live versus mediated performances.

chapter |32 pages


Introducing…the theatrical professoriate

chapter Chapter 1|34 pages

#OscarsSoWhite and historically white universities

chapter Chapter 2|29 pages

Academic drama on stage and screen

chapter Chapter 3|37 pages

Behind the scenes of academia’s diversity charades

chapter Chapter 4|25 pages

Framing science for the death of the humanities

chapter |17 pages


Diagnosing academia’s theatrical turn