Professor

Kirsten
Shepherd-Barr
Grunnfag Oslo, BA Yale, MA, DPhil Oxf
Fellow and Tutor in English
Professor of English and Theatre Studies
Knowledge Exchange and Public Engagement Champion for the Humanities Division

Teaching

I teach the Prelims Victorian and Modern literature papers at Catz, as well as selected FHS papers on special topics such as Literature and Science, Fin de Siècle Literature and Modern Drama.  My lectures in the Faculty of English cover topics in modern drama and in literature and science from the nineteenth century to the present.

I supervise D Phil students working on a range of topics in modern drama and in literature and science.  I also regularly co-convene the Post-1900 M St and teach C-course options on modern British drama, Victorian theatre, Drama since 1945, and Women and Theatre.

About me

I received my BA in English from Yale University and then worked for two years in the publishing house Alfred A Knopf, Inc in New York City before graduate studies at the University of Oslo (on a Fulbright Grant) and then Oxford, where I received my D Phil in English.  Prior to coming to Oxford in 2007, I taught at the University of Birmingham in the Department of Drama and Theatre Arts.  Before that I taught at North Carolina State University in the Department of English, at the University of Pennsylvania, and at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.

In addition to my roles within the Faculty and the college, I serve as the Knowledge Exchange and Public Engagement Champion for the Humanities at Oxford (2015-17).

Research

There are three main strands to my research.  One is the study of theatre and science, looking at the ways in which plays and performances have engaged with scientific ideas.  My book Theatre and Evolution from Ibsen to Beckett (Columbia University Press, 2015) investigates the interaction between theatre and evolutionary theory since the 1840s, encompassing the full spectrum of theories (Lamarck, Darwin, Haeckel, DeVries, Huxley, Wallace and many others) and a wide variety of dramatic modes and playwrights, some well known and some forgotten.  The project was supported by a Leverhulme Research Fellowship in 2011-12.  My book Science on Stage: From Doctor Faustus to Copenhagen (Princeton University Press, 2006; paperback 2012) traces the development of the "science play" since the Renaissance and was the first full-length study of this genre.  I have published articles on theatre and science in American Scientist, Nature, Gramma, Interdisciplinary Science Reviews, Women: A Cultural Review and elsewhere.  In addition I co-edited two special issues of Interdisciplinary Science Reviews on "New Directions in Theatre and Science" in 2013 and 2014.

I also work on Ibsen’s plays.  My book Ibsen and Early Modernist Theatre, 1890-1900 (1997) explores how Ibsen’s plays were staged and critically received in England and France in the context of the incipient modernist theatre.  Articles I have published in this area have appeared in Theatre Research International, Ibsen Studies, Nordic Theatre Studies, and elsewhere.  I convened the Ibsen Network at Oxford funded by TORCH (2013-15) and have just been awarded funding for a new Nordic Network which I co-convene with colleagues across the Humanities division:  http://www.torch.ox.ac.uk/nordic

The third key research interest for me is in the role of theatrical performance in the historiography of modernism, and I have published on this topic in journals such as Modernist Cultures and Theatre Research International.