Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Harvey Young  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Non-Fiction

Audience: Adult;


-- Website --
-- Harvey Young on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Dr. Young is a professor at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.

Biographical and Professional Information

A former Harvard and Stanford fellow, Dr. Young graduated from Yale and holds a Ph.D. from Cornell. He is Associate Chair and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Theatre at Northwestern University and holds appointments in African American Studies, Performance Studies, and Radio/Television/Film.Dr. Young has been widely published in academic journals, profiled in ''The New Yorker'', ''The Wall Street Journal'' and the ''Chronicle of Higher Education'' and cited in ''The New York Times'' and ''The Boston Globe''.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Embodying Black Experience: Stillness, Critical Memory, and the Black Body (Theater: Theory/Text/Performance)
ISBN: 0472051113

University of Michigan Press. 2010

"Young's linkage between critical race theory, historical inquiry, and performance studies is a necessary intersection. Innovative, creative, and provocative."
---Davarian Baldwin, Paul E. Raether Distinguished Professor of American Studies, Trinity College

In 1901, George Ward, a lynching victim, was attacked, murdered, and dismembered by a mob of white men, women, and children. As his lifeless body burned in a fire, enterprising white youth cut off his toes and, later, his fingers and sold them as souvenirs. In Embodying Black Experience, Harvey Young masterfully blends biography, archival history, performance theory, and phenomenology to relay the experiences of black men and women who, like Ward, were profoundly affected by the spectacular intrusion of racial violence within their lives. Looking back over the past two hundred years---from the exhibition of boxer Tom Molineaux and Saartjie Baartman (the "Hottentot Venus") in 1810 to twenty-first century experiences of racial profiling and incarceration---Young chronicles a set of black experiences, or what he calls, "phenomenal blackness," that developed not only from the experience of abuse but also from a variety of performances of resistance that were devised to respond to the highly predictable and anticipated arrival of racial violence within a person's lifetime.

Embodying Black Experience pinpoints selected artistic and athletic performances---photography, boxing, theater/performance art, and museum display---as portals through which to gain access to the lived experiences of a variety of individuals. The photographs of Joseph Zealy, Richard Roberts, and Walker Evans the boxing performances of Jack Johnson, Joe Louis, and Muhammad Ali the plays of Suzan-Lori Parks, Robbie McCauley, and Dael Orlandersmith and the tragic performances of Bootjack McDaniels and James Cameron offer insight into the lives of black folk across two centuries and the ways that black artists, performers, and athletes challenged the racist (and racializing) assumptions of the societies in which they lived.

Blending humanistic and social science perspectives, Embodying Black Experience explains the ways in which societal ideas of "the black body," an imagined myth of blackness, get projected across the bodies of actual black folk and, in turn, render them targets of abuse. However, the emphasis on the performances of select artists and athletes also spotlights moments of resistance and, indeed, strength within these most harrowing settings.

Harvey Young is Associate Professor of Theatre, Performance Studies, and Radio/Television/Film at Northwestern University.

A volume in the series Theater: Theory/Text/Performance

Theatre and Race
ISBN: 023039096X

Red Globe Press. 2013

The theatre has always been a place where conceptions of race and racism have been staged, shared and perpetuated. Harvey Young introduces key ideas about race, before tracing its relationship with theatre and performance - from Ancient Athens to the present day.

Black Theater Is Black Life: An Oral History of Chicago Theater and Dance, 1970-2010
ISBN: 0810129426

Northwestern University Press. 2013

Black Theater Is Black Life fills a critical gap in the history of African American culture in Chicago. Through interviews with prominent producers, directors, choreographers, designers, dancers, and actors, Young and Zabriskie create a portrait of a diverse, dynamic artistic community between 1970 and 2010. They frame this history with helpful guides, including a chronology of key events, a glossary of names, and an appendix of leading performing arts institutions in Chicago.


  • Book of the Year award from the National Communication Association and the American Society for Theatre Research,
  • Theatre and Race

  • Book of the Year award from the National Communication Association and the American Society for Theatre Research,
  • Embodying Black Experience

    Speaking Engagements

    Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)