Loren Kruger

Professor in English, Comparative Literature, Theatre and Performance Studies, and The College
Walker 405
Ph.D., Cornell University; 1986
Teaching at UChicago since 1986
Research Interests: Modern theatre and performance studies in Europe, Africa and the Americas; theatre, prose and graphic narrative from (South) Africa in Afrikaans and Zulu as well as English; Critical theory especially Marxist, materialist and decolonial

Intellectual Profile

BA (Hons) University of Cape Town, South Africa; MA, PhD Comparative literature, Cornell University and supplementary study at the Institut d’études théâtrales, University of Paris III; Institut für Theaterwissenschaft, Free University Berlin

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 are A Century of South African Theatre and Imagining the Edgy City, which 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 U Chicago Arts. She has served as the editor of Theatre Journal, and 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


Work with Students

PhD thesis highlights: Economy and Ecology in the Contemporary African Novel; Theatre Culture and Everyday Life in Victorian England; Skpeticism 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


Selected Publications

A Century of South African Theatre (London: Bloomsbury 2019)


Imagining the Edgy City: Writing, Performing and Building Johannesburg (Oxford UP 2013)


Post-Imperial Brecht: Politics and Performance, East and South (Cambridge UP 2004)  (Aldo Scaglione Prize for Best Book in Comparative Literary Study; Modern Language Association--MLA, 2005)

Selected articles and chapters since 2010

Performance and politics in a time of confinement—virtual stages between South Africa and African America, Critical Stages no. 23--special issue on Performance and Politics (2021); https://www.critical-stages.org/23/performance-and-politics-in-a-time-of-confinement-virtual-stages-between-south-africa-and-african-america/

Glocal South Sides: Race, Capital, and Performing against injustice in Chicago and Johannesburg, Theatre Journal: special issue on the Global South 72 (2020) 469-85

Glocal South Sides: Race, Capital, and Performing against injustice in Chicago and Johannesburg, Theatre Journal: special issue on the Global South (forthcoming 2021)

Palgrave Encyclopedia of Urban Literary Studies (London: Palgrave, 2020): entries on Johannesburg, edgy city; Ahmed Essop’s Johannesburg, Sipho Sepamla’s Johannesburg; Barney Simon’s Johannesburg, and Ivan Vladislavić’s Johannesburg; in preparation: Nadine Gordimer’s Johannesburg 

White Cities, Black Streets: Planned Violence and Native Maps in Richard Wright’s Chicago and Modikwe Dikobe’s Johannesburg, Planned Violence: Post/colonial Urban Infrastructure, Literature and Culture, ed. Elleke Boehmer (Lomdon: Palgrave 2018)

The Soweto Uprisings Forty Years On: Usable Pasts and Uncertain Futures Research in African Literatures 4, no: 4 (2018): 250-55

Theatre Lost, Performance Found, Critical Stages no. 15 (June 2017; special issue: African Theatre) http://www.critical-stages.org/15/south-africa-theatre-lost-performance-found/

Brecht: Our Contemporary? (Un)timely translation and the politics of transmission, Theatre Journal  68 (2012): 299-309

Cape Town and the Sustainable City in the Writing of Henrietta Rose-Innes, Journal of Urban Cultural Studies 2:1-2 (2015) 15-33

Performance, Production and Other Spatio-temporal Practices. Playing Culture: 85-109. Ed Vicki Ann Cremona, Rikard Hoogland, Gay Morris and Willmar Sauter. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2013

The Drama of Hospitality: performance, migration and urban renewal in Johannesburg Performance and the City: Global Stages, 19-39. Ed Kim Solga and DJ Hopkins (New York: Palgrave 2012)

On the Tragedy of the Commoner: Elektra, Orestes and others in South Africa, Comparative Drama (special issue: Modern Drama and the cross-cultural question of meaning, 46, no. 3 (2012): 355-77 (Philadelphia Constantinidis Essay in Critical Theory Prize, Comparative Drama Association, 2013)

Beyond the TRC: Truth, Power, and Representation in South Africa After Transition: review essay on The Era of Transitional Justice by Paul Gready, Performing South Africa’s Truth Commission by Catherine Cole, and South African Literature after the Truth Commission by Shane Graham, Research in African Literatures 42, no.2 (2011): 184-9



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

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