bernstein

Robin Bernstein

Dillon Professor of American History and Professor of African and African American Studies and of Women, Gender, and Sexuality

617-495-9634

Robin Bernstein a cultural historian who specializes in U.S. performance and theatre from the nineteenth century to the present. Her interests include formations of race, age, gender, and sexuality, and her research integrates the study of theatrical, visual, material, and literary evidence. A graduate of Yale’s doctoral program in American Studies, she is Professor of African and African American Studies and of Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality at Harvard University.

Bernstein’s most recent book, Racial Innocence: Performing American Childhood from Slavery to Civil Rights, won five awards: the Outstanding Book Award from the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE, co-winner), the Grace Abbott Best Book Award from the Society for the History of Children and Youth, the Book Award from the Children’s Literature Association, the Lois P. Rudnick Book Prize from the New England American Studies Association, and the IRSCL Award from the International Research Society for Children’s Literature. Racial Innocence was also a runner-up for the American Studies Association‘s John Hope Franklin Publication Prize and received an Honorable Mention for the Book Award from the Society for the Study of American Women Writers.

Bernstein’s other books include the anthologies Cast Out: Queer Lives in Theater (University of Michigan Press) and Generation Q (Alyson, co-editor), as well as a Jewish feminist children’s book titled Terrible, Terrible! She is currently writing a book titled Paradoxy: Lesbians and the Everyday Art of the Impossible. This book shows how racially diverse lesbians in the U.S. have, since the early twentieth century, performed paradoxes on stage and in everyday life. These bodily performances of paradoxes, she argues, have theorized lesbian modes of historiography, art-making, and politics. Bernstein has published articles about race, childhood, or performance in PMLA, African American Review, Theatre Journal, Social Text, J19: The Journal of Nineteenth-Century Americanists, and other journals. Her 2009 article “Dances with Things: Material Culture and the Performance of Race” won two prizes: the Outstanding Article award from the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) and the Vera Mowry Roberts Award for Research and Publication, given by the American Theatre and Drama Society for the best essay published in English. For Robin Bernstein’s CV and more information about her current work, see http://scholar.harvard.edu/robinbernstein/home.

Dissertation Committees

“Afro-diasporic Solidarities: Dr. Ana Livia Cordero’s Movements in Ghana, the Caribbean and the U.S., 1931-1992” (Sandy Placido)

“Performing While ‘Black’: African American Broadway Musicals of the 1970s and the Politics of Race” (Scott Poulson-Bryant)

“In The Best Interest of the Child: The Cuban Refugee Children’s Program and Cold War America” (Maude Gates)

“No Place Like Home: A Cultural History of Gay Domesticity, 1948-1982” (Stephen Vider)

Selected Publications

  • Bernstein_CastOut

    Cast Out: Queer Lives in Theater (University of Michigan Press, 2006), by Robin Bernstein

  • Racial Innocence Cover jpg

    Racial Innocence: Performing American Childhood from Slavery to Civil Rights (New York University Press, 2011), by Robin Bernstein