Faculty Name

Katie Schaag, Ph.D.


Assistant Professor


New2021,Theater & Performance


Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison
M.A., University of Wisconsin-Madison
B.A., Loyola University Chicago


Katie Schaag, Ph.D., is excited to join Spelman College as an assistant professor of theatre & performance. Her interdisciplinary approach to contemporary performance engages the page, stage, gallery, screen and social context as sites of embodied inquiry. As a writer, artist and theorist, she researches experimental aesthetics through the lenses of critical race, gender, feminist, trans, queer, and environmental studies. At Spelman, she’s looking forward to teaching performance theory and practice, digital storytelling, writing for performance and other courses at the intersection of theatre, art, literature and digital media.

From 2018-2021, Dr. Schaag has been a Brittain Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication at Georgia Tech, where she has taught multimedia communication courses, served on Institute Diversity’s Transformative Narratives steering committee, and collaborated with the Center for Serve-Learn-Sustain. She came to Georgia Tech from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she was the Mendota Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow after earning her Ph.D. in English literature with a specialization in performance studies and a minor in fine art and creative writing.

Her scholarly research focuses on performativity, plasticity, and minoritarian avant-gardes. Her first book project, "Conceptual Theatre: Race, Gender, and Dematerialization,” theorizes the political potential of experimental aesthetics in African American and Asian American avant-garde closet drama and conceptual art. Her second book project, "American Plasticity," draws upon eco-critical, feminist, and queer theory to theorize synthetic plastic aesthetics in contemporary performance art, visual art, and pop culture. She has presented her research at international conferences including Performance Studies International, Performance Philosophy, and International Federation for Theatre Research. Her scholarly writing appears in Modern Drama, Performance Research, and Inter Views in Performance Philosophy, and her public essays appear in Edge Effects and Yes Femmes.

Exploring the performative production of identity in everyday life, in her artistic practice she creates site-specific performances, immersive multimedia installations, lecture performances and participatory experiences. With her artistic duo SALYER + SCHAAG, she orchestrates durational relational aesthetics projects. She has performed and exhibited her solo and collaborative artwork in museums and galleries including Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Woman Made Gallery, La Fonderie Darling, Art + Literature Laboratory, and Chazen Museum of Art.

As a creative writer, she makes hybrid work at the interstices of poetry, drama, and digital media. Her poetic scripts and conceptual scores have been published in Imagined Theatres, Datableed, La Vague and elsewhere; and her plays have been staged at Hemsley Theatre. She is the author of the feminist erasure poetry chapbook "The Infinite Woman" (Greying Ghost 2021) and the interactive remix/erasure poetry web app The Infinite Woman (Angular 2019), selected for inclusion in the Electronic Literature Organization’s global e-lit collection (vol. 4). She is currently at work on a book of experimental scripts entitled “The Moon Appears Upon the Stage and Other Conceptual Plays.”

She is committed to public arts and humanities programming, and was selected as a Humanities Without Walls National Fellow. At UW-Madison she co-founded the Art + Scholarship Borghesi-Mellon Workshop and the Madison Performance Philosophy Collective, and co-curated a series of grant-funded “Theory-Practice Collaboratories” and international symposia. She looks forward to contributing to interdisciplinary arts programming at Spelman.

Related Links
Katie Schaag
@KatieSchaag on Twitter
@salyer_schaag on Instagram

Courses Taught

Fall 2021
STHR 101: Theatre Insight
STHR 103: Performance Ensemble Building

Research Interests

Performance Studies; Performance Theory; Contemporary Performance Practices (Site-Specific, Durational, Devised, Multimedia, Participatory); Minoritarian Avant-Garde Dramatic Literature; Theatre Theory; Creative Writing (Playwriting, Poetry, New Media); Critical Race, Gender, Feminist, Trans, Queer, and Ecological Theory; Visual Cultures; Digital Media; Visual, Sonic, and Interactive Storytelling; Video and Installation; Relational Aesthetics and Social Practice; Design Thinking; Critical Making; Public Arts and Humanities


Scholarly Essays
Plastiglomerates, Microplastics, Nanoplastics: Toward a Dark Ecology of Plastic Performativity.” Performance Research 25.2 (2020). 14-21. Print.

“‘Will blackness please step out and take a curtain call?’: Ed Bullins’ Conceptual Theatre.” Modern Drama 62.3 (Fall 2019). 272-291. Print.

Biological Plasticity and Performative Possibility in the work of Catherine Malabou and Curious.” Inter Views in Performance Philosophy: Crossings and Conversations, ed. J. Elliott, M. Pauker, and A. Street. London and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017. 145-159. Print.

Public Essays
Black Conceptual Aesthetics and the Politics of the Imagination.” UTP Journals Blog. Toronto, ON: University of Toronto Press, November 2019. Web.

The Pleasures of Teaching Plastic.” Edge Effects. Madison, WI: Center for Culture, History, and Environment, October 2018. Web.

From Bush to Brontë and Back Again: The Most Wuthering Heights Day Ever.” Yes Femmes Issue 2. Los Angeles, CA, July 2018. Web.

Creative Writing
"The Infinite Woman." Poetry chapbook. Boston, MA: Greying Ghost, April 2021. Print.

The Moon Appears Upon the Stage” and “Glass Tongued Snake,” poetic scripts. Datableed Issue 11. Canterbury, England, February 2019. Web.

A Plastic Theatre.” Dramatic script. Imagined Theatres Issue 3. Amherst, MA, August 2019. Web.


The Infinite Woman. Interactive digital poetry platform. Developed with Georgia Tech Computer Science and Computational Media students. Launched December 2019. Selected for the Electronic Literature Organization (ELO) Media Arts Festival Virtual Exhibition, (un)continuity (2020), as well as ELO’s Electronic Literature Collection, Vol. 4 (2021).

The Most Wuthering Heights Day Ever. Site-specific participatory performance in Madison, WI (2016 and 2017) and Belgrade, Serbia (2018). Featured in Isthmus, The Capital Times, Tone, and WORT 89.9FM.

Performing MMoCA. Art installation and durational participatory performance project by SALYER + SCHAAG. Selected for exhibition in the 2016 Wisconsin Triennial at Madison Museum of Contemporary Art (MMoCA). Instagram. Twitter.

Osmium, Tungsten, Dionaea, Lavandula. Site-specific participatory performance selected for Spatula & Barcode’s Café Allonge project for MMoCA’s 2013 Wisconsin Triennial. Featured in Isthmus, The Capital Times, and Emergency INDEX Vol. 3 (Ugly Duckling Presse, Brooklyn, NY, 2014).