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I’m Michael Peterson and this is my professional blog. I’m a scholar of theatre and performance, and I teach at the University of Wisconsin. I’ve also made performance almost my whole life, from community theatre to educational television to independent original collaborative performance works.

My scholarship is eclectic (and some might say erratic).

My first book, Straight White Male: Performance Art Monologues was about “identity privilege” and solo performance by artists such as Eric Bogosian, Spalding Grey, Danny Hoch, and some stand-up comedians.

My second book is under contract with the University of Michigan Press. It’s called Las Vegas Culture: the power of place and performance. It is about all kinds of performance in the tourist city and also about understanding Vegas as a whole through the lens of performance.

My current large project shares the name of this blog. I’m working on the ways torture and performance are inter-related. I’m considering modern drama, anti-torture performances under the “war on terror,” and also the role of performance in torture itself.

I imagine that last set of topics being what I’ll mostly post on here, but as the Vegas book moves forward I will comment about that. I also have two other research streams that are back-burner (simmering even more slowly than the Vegas project has!): non-human animals in performance and something I call Thinking about Acting, which is about how acting is understood, rather than how it’s accomplished.


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