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Unit Contributions to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion 6474

Academic Years: 
Theatre Arts
1. Faculty: 

Theatre Arts faculty teach and conduct research in a wide variety of dramatic fields, including particular emphases in Arab and Arab-American theatre, Latino/Latina theatre, and Indigenous/Native theatre. The department also offers graduate seminars on production theory and aesthetics, particularly queer/avant-garde/postmodern. The faculty has voted to attend an implicit bias training with ArtsEquity, a national organization that specializes in implicit bias trainings specifically geared toward arts organizations. TA Associate Professor Michael Najjar will host Egyptian-American playwright Yussef El Guindi for a series of UO and community events during Winter Term 2019. El Guindi will deliver the keynote address at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, hosted by UO, on February 22. He will also address TA students in Professor Najjar’s class on career options in the field of theatre, and he will meet with audiences of Professor Najjar’s production of Pilgrims Musa and Sheri in the New World, sponsored by Minority Voices Theatre and The Very Little Theatre. During AY 2018-19, Professor Najjar will also be directing Scenes from 71* Years with Golden Thread Productions in San Francisco, which focuses on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Professor Najjar will be working with a diverse group of actors hailing from the Middle East.

2. Staff: 

Our office staff is committed to maintaining a welcoming and supportive work environment. As an indication of this commitment, our Business Manager, Marie Greig, sits on the department's Diversity Committee.

3. Graduate Programs: 

Recent Graduate Seminar topics have included African American theatre and popular entertainment, Arab-American Drama, Intra-Cultural Theatre, Native/Indigenous North American Drama, Latino/Latina theatre and drama. The department voted in spring of 2018 to fund Olga Sanchez Saltveit’s two-week intensive course on Public Humanities at the Mellon School of Theater and Performance Research at Harvard University.

4. Undergraduate Programs: 

Our undergraduate curriculum currently includes courses in Israeli-Arab-American theatre and Indigenous/Native North American theatre. Soon, we will be offering a new course in costume design focused on representation of ethnicities, as well as self-definition in fashion. With donor support, we have instituted scholarships for first-generation and economically disadvantaged undergraduates seeking to participate in our annual Spring Break at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (students see plays, take tours, have talks and do workshops with a wide variety of OSF professionals). TA faculty voted in spring of 2018 to create a new undergraduate scholarship for outstanding academic performance by a TA major from an underrepresented group.

5. Outreach and Partnerships: 

Within the department, we hosted Crystal Roman's Black Latina, The Play in October, 2018. Ms. Roman also conducted two workshops in the department, one on AfroLatinx Identity and another on Beauty. We regularly use department funds to support other departments and units who are hosting activities that enhance the intellectual diversity of the university community. In 2017, we supported the Anthropology Department's symposium on "Islam, Feminism, and Women's Mosque Movement" and the Department of Ethnic Studies' visit by Native American lawyer and author Mary Kathryn Nagle, who spoke on “Sovereignty in the Law, Sovereignty in Our Stories.” In fall of 2018, the department has supported the UO Confucius Institute visit of Professor Nancy Rao from Rutgers University, for a public talk on Chinese Opera in the U. S. Theatre Arts provides faculty leadership and financial support for the Native Play Reading Series. In recent years, the Department has organized public readings in the Many Nations Longhouse of The Edward Curtis Project and The Girl Who Swam Forever, by Marie Clements, The Woman Who Was a Red Deer, by Diane Glancy, In a World Created by a Drunken God, by Drew Hayden Taylor, Sliver of a Full Moon, by Mary Kathryn Nagle, and WaterWays, a new play with UO students. In 2018-19, we will present a reading of Salmon Is Everything, by TA faulty member Theresa May, in addition to other titles.

6. Other: 

The department is currently exhibiting an elaborate Dia de los Muertos display in the main office in order to expose students, faculty, and visitors to this important cultural tradition. Issues of diversity play a crucial role at every level in University Theatre productions. Decisions about play selection, casting, costuming and set design all involve careful consideration of the way cultures and identities are represented on stage. During the 2018-19 season, plays of particular relevance to issues of racial, cultural, and gender diversity include Avenue Q, a musical about gender identity by UO playwright Jeff Whitty, Machinal, an American classic about marriage and gender inequality in the 1920s, and The Home Planet, a devised work exploring (among many other themes) Native American stories about the earth. During the 2017-18 University Theatre season, the department produced Professor John Schmor's original adaptation of Award-winning Oregon author Ursula K. Le Guin’s groundbreaking novel, The Left Hand of Darkness. The department also staged graduate student Olga Sanchez Saltveit's Tricks to Inherit, the first English translation of Fermin de Reygadas’ Astucias por heredar un sobrino a un tío, which is known as the “first drama staged in California." Written in Mexico City, Tricks to Inherit is a satirical comedy about a miserly uncle, his love-struck nephew, and their wily servants..

4. Professional Development and Training: 
Marie Greig, our Business Manager, represented the department at the CAS Workshop on Diversity in spring 2018, and she has attended multiple UO implicit bias trainings. Marie also attended a UO Queer Allied training. Marie and Alohi Wright, our Office Specialist 2, both attended the UO Dreamer Allied training in AY 2017-18. Marie and Alohi together attended the UO Title 9 training in summer of 2017, and Alohi attended a UO training on purchasing and contracting with minority-owned businesses.