Dr. Jocelyn L. Buckner

Dr. Jocelyn L. Buckner

Assistant Professor
Theatre Studies
College of Performing Arts; Department of Theatre
Expertise: Theatre Studies; Dramaturgy; Theatre History;
Office Location: Moulton Hall 211
Phone: (714) 289-2084
University Honors Program
Converse College, Bachelor of Arts
Virginia Commonwealth University, Master of Fine Arts
University of Kansas, Ph.D.

Video Profile


Jocelyn L. Buckner holds a Ph.D. in Theatre Studies from the University of Kansas, an M.F.A. in Theatre Pedagogy from Virginia Commonwealth University, and a B.A. in Theatre and Economics from Converse College. Prior to joining Chapman’s Department of Theatre in 2012, Dr. Buckner held a Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Department of Theatre Arts at the University of Pittsburgh.

Dr. Buckner teaches theatre history and historiography, dramaturgy, dramatic theory and criticism, and the B.A. Senior Seminar course. In 2017, Dr. Buckner joined Professor Michael Nehring as a faculty member of the Chapman University London Theatre Tour. Beyond the Department of Theatre, she is also a faculty member of the University Honors Program, where she teaches special topics courses. As a mentor, she draws on her experiences as a director, dramaturg, scholar, and arts administrator to guide the application and integration of students’ research and creative work on productions, internships, thesis projects, and Honors Program capstone projects. Additionally, she mentors students’ independent research/creative projects funded by Undergraduate Student Scholarly/Creative Grants and Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships administered by the Chapman University Office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity. She supports the Chapman Department of Theatre’s Production Season as the advisor for all student production dramaturgs, who support productions and provide audience engagement opportunities by creating resources for the production team, lobby displays, program notes, and facilitating pre- and post-show discussions between artists and audiences. She has been recognized for her work in and out of the classroom with Chapman University’s 2017 Faculty Excellence Award in Mentorship of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity, Chapman University’s 2016 Valerie Scudder Award for Outstanding Teaching, Research/Creative Activity, and Service, Chapman University’s 2015 Faculty Excellence and Achievement in Teaching Award, and the 2014 Sigma Alpha Pi (The National Society of Leadership and Success) Excellence in Teaching Award.

Dr. Buckner’s research focuses on the intersections and representations of identity, as well as materialism and affect in theatre and popular entertainment, particularly in the U.S., from the nineteenth to twenty-first centuries. She is the editor of A Critical Companion to Lynn Nottage (Routledge, 2016), the first scholarly publication dedicated to the playwright’s work. This anthology examines Nottage’s dramatic treatment of themes such as history, the African diaspora, and identity, and includes interviews with the playwright and her frequent collaborators, as well as a special section devoted to Nottage’s first Pulitzer Prize winning play Ruined. Dr. Buckner’s second book project identifies and examines the history of the sister act phenomenon in U.S. popular entertainment at the turn of the last century. These all-female family performance troupes served as a representative touchstone for American society’s increasing acceptance of and complicated relationship to female subjectivity in public, political, and artistic spheres. Dr. Buckner has published book chapters as well as peer-reviewed articles, editorials, book reviews, and performance reviews in African American Review, American Studies Journal, Ecumenica Journal, Journal of American Drama and Theatre, HowlRound, Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism, Popular Entertainment Studies, Theatre History Studies, Theatre Journal, Theatre Survey, and Theatre Topics. Additionally, Dr. Buckner serves as the Book Review Editor (2018-2020) for the Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism.

Dr. Buckner is an active member of several professional organizations and regularly presents her research at conferences including the American Society for Theatre Research (ASTR), the American Theatre and Drama Society (ATDS), the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE), Comparative Drama Conference (CDC), Performance Studies international (Psi), and the Mid America Theatre Conference (MATC). She served as the Vice President of Awards on the Governing Council of ATHE (2015-2017), and as a member of ASTR’s Gerald Kahan Essay Award Committee (2015-2017) and Nominating Committee (2012-2014). She served as the ATDS Conference Planner (2014-2016), and as the Co-Chair of the MATC Articles-in-Progress Sessions and Book-Proposal Workshops (2014-2016).

Dr. Buckner is also a dramaturg and has collaborated with theatres including Pitt Repertory Theatre, Shakespeare Orange County, and Center Stage Theatre’s New Play Festival. She currently serves as a script respondent for the literary department of South Coast Repertory Theatre, and is a resident artist of The Chance Theater, where she dramaturgs the On The Radar: New Works Series, and has served various productions in the mainstage season (Maple and Vine, 2014; A Bright New Boise, 2015; Seminar 2016, Middletown 2017, in a word 2017, and Elevada 2018).

Recent Creative, Scholarly Work and Publications

“A Collective Call Against Critical Bias,” HowlRound Journal: A Knowledge Commons By and for the Theatre Community. 26 June 2017.
Dramaturg, On The Radar: New Works Series, Chance Theater, Anaheim, CA, 2017 season Reading: “A New Play,” Ted Malawer, October 2017 Lab Workshop: “Anatomy of Love,” Ted Malawer, July 2017 Reading: “The Candidate: A Farce,” Jenny Connell Davis, May 2017 Reading: “How to Conquer America: A Mostly True History of Yogurt,” David Myers, March 2017
Dramaturg, in a word, Director: Jocelyn A. Brown, Chance Theater, Anaheim, CA, 2017
Dramaturg, Middletown, Director: Trevor Biship, Chance Theater, Anaheim, CA, 2017
“Diasporic Desires in Las Meninas.” A Critical Companion to Lynn Nottage. Ed. Jocelyn L. Buckner. New York: Routledge, 2016.
“On Creativity and Collaboration: A Conversation with Lynn Nottage, Seret Scott, and Kate Whoriskey.” A Critical Companion to Lynn Nottage. Ed. Jocelyn L. Buckner. New York: Routledge, 2016.
“Introduction.” A Critical Companion to Lynn Nottage. Ed. Jocelyn L. Buckner. New York: Routledge, 2016.
A Critical Companion to Lynn Nottage. New York: Routledge, 2016.
Dramaturg, On The Radar: New Works Series, The Chance Theater, Anaheim, CA, 2016 season Reading: A new play by Lauren Yee, October 2016 Lab Workshop: “Rare Birds” by Adam Szymkowicz, August 2016 Reading: “Gaston” by Jenny Connell Davis, July 2016 Lab Workshop: “Alice & Frank” by Jenny Connell Davis, May 2016 Reading: “L.A. Vida” by David Wendell Nelson, May 2016 Reading: “Scientific Method” by Jenny Connell Davis, March 2016
Dramaturg, Seminar, Director: Elina de Santos, Chance Theater, Anaheim, CA, 2016
“Slaughterhouses and Sensorial Affect: Dramatizing Labor, Capitalism, and Industrial Food Production in Bertolt Brecht’s Saint Joan of the Stockyards and Naomi Wallace’s Slaughter City.” Food and Theatre on the World Stage. Ed. Dorothy Chansky and Ann Folino White. New York: Routledge, 2015. 119-135.
Cambridge Encyclopedia of Stage Actors and Acting. Ed. Simon Williams. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015. Entries on: Henrietta Vinton Davis, Ruby Dee, Free Southern Theater, Charles Sidney Gilpin, Earle Hyman, James Earl Jones, Elizabeth LeCompte, Mako, Negro Ensemble Company, Lane Nishikawa, Soon-Tek Oh, Sidney Poitier, Paul Robeson, Anna Deveare Smith, and Zoe Wanamaker.
Book Review, Spectacles of Reform: Theater and Activism in Nineteenth-Century America by Amy E. Hughes, Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism XXIX, no. 1 (Fall 2014): 99-100.
Book Review, Suzan-Lori Parks: Essays on the Plays and Other Works edited by Philip C. Kolin, African American Review 45.4 (Winter 2012, published Winter 2013): 669-671.
Performance Review, The Tallest Tree in the Forest (world premiere), La Jolla Playhouse, La Jolla CA. Theatre Journal 66.2 (May 2014): 272-274.
Dramaturg, Maple and Vine, Director: Mark Ramont, Chance Theater, Anaheim, CA, 2014
Book Review, Second Skin: Josephine Baker & the Modern Surface by Anne Anlin Cheng. Theatre Survey 54.2 (May 2013): 317-320.
Book Review, A Dangerous Woman: the Life, Loves, and Scandals of Adah Isaacs Menken, 1835-1868, America’s Original Superstar by Michael and Barbara Foster, Theatre Survey 54.2 (May 2013): 317-320.
“’Spectacular Opacities’: The Hyers Sisters’ Performances of Respectability and Resistance,” African American Review 45.3 (Fall 2012 – published Fall 2013): 309-323.
Performance Review, The Best Man, Schoenfeld Theatre, New York. Ecumenica Journal 64.3 (Fall 2012): 105-106.
“Diggin’ the Material: Ideological State Apparatuses, ‘Capitalizm’, and Identity in Suzan-Lori Parks’s Red Letter Plays,” Journal of American Drama and Theatre 23.2 (Spring 2011): 31-50.
“The Angel and the Imp: The Duncan Sisters’ Performances of Race and Gender” Popular Entertainment Studies, 2.2 (Sept. 2011): 55-72.
Performance Review, Harriet Jacobs, Kansas City Repertory Theatre. Theatre Journal 63.3 (October 2011): 460-462.