Skip to main content

About Lara D. Nielsen

Professor Nielsen's performance research works amongst and between arts medias (dramatic literature, theater, performance, film) as well as popular performance and participation medias privileging kinetic embodiments.
Nielsen's first collaborative book project, "Neoliberalism and Global Theatres: Performance Permutations" (2012) studies complex relationships between the arts and free market ideologies, globally. Nielsen examines practices and premises that advertise the entrepreneurial model of artistic work to negotiate neoliberalism and finance capital ‘from below.’ At issue is the question of whether the conjunctions of neoliberal ideologies and financialization can deliver better futures—and for whom.
Fueled by investigations into popular performance industries that traffic in virtuosity and fungibility, Professor Nielsen's book "The Diamond and the Grid" (in progress) theorizes fugitivity and counterconquest performance in the transnational Caribbean Americas. "The Diamond and the Grid" examines rhetorical emplotments of the new world in the visual and spatial fields that transcribe and transform performance, from popular culture to visual art, historical documents, literature, and digital media.
In "Performance/Documents/Rights", another book project in progress, Professor Nielsen examines performance practices in the multidisciplinary arts that document and contest rights strategies, both tempering and tampering with evidence. From theatre and dance to body/performance art and transnational puppet productions, Nielsen theorizes arts that advance and critique the claims of rights rhetorics.
Professor Nielsen serves on the Steering Committees of the Latin American Studies Program, the Humanitarianism and Human Rights Concentration, and as a founding member of the Critical Theory Concentration.
In 2010 and 2012, Professor Nielsen was nominated for the Best Educator award by the Macalester College Student Council. When Nielsen was in the Department of Drama at Tisch School of the Arts, New York University, her teaching was honored with the David Payne Carter Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2006. Prior to NYU, Nielsen was a Fellow with The Five College's Crossroads in the Studies of the Americas (CISA), where she taught at Hampshire and Amherst Colleges, in Western Massachusetts. Nielsen's research has also been supported by Wallace Grants, ATHE, ASTR, PSi, the Teagle Working Group in Human Rights and Humanitarianism, and NYU Tisch School of the Arts.

EDUCATION: B.A., Boston College M.A., University of Minnesota Ph.D., New York University
Nielsen has been teaching at Macalester since 2007.

Research Interests

Theatre, Performance, and Media Studies, Critical Theory, Cultural Studies, Transnational Modernismos, Post-colonial studies, Ethnographic and Documentary Media, and Oral History

Honors and Awards

  • David Payne Carter Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2006
  • Macalester College Student Council Best Educator Award nominee, 2010 & 2012


  • Theatre and Performance in the Twin Cities
  • Introduction to Theatre Studies
  • Sources of Global Performance
  • Rights and Resistance: Latin American Theatre and Film
  • Feminist Theatres
  • Performance Studies Praxis: Body and Performance Art
  • Performance/Documents/Rights
  • The Oral History Project
  • Performance Theory Seminar

Journal Articles (8)

Books (1)

Contributions to Books (2)

Reviews (7)