Sarah M.S. Pearsall is University Senior Lecturer in the History of Early America and the Atlantic World, Faculty of History, and a Fellow at Robinson College, Cambridge University. She is the author of Atlantic Families: Lives and Letters in the Later Eighteenth Century (Oxford University Press, 2008) and Polygamy: An Early American History (forthcoming, Yale University Press, 2019) as well as articles in the American Historical Review, the William and Mary Quarterly, and Gender and History. 

Peter Betjemann is Associate Professor of English and Director of the School of Writing, Literature, and Film at Oregon State University. The author of Talking Shop: The Language of Craft in an Age of Consumption (University of Virginia Press, 2011) and of articles in such venues as The Journal of Design History and Word and Image, his scholarly work more widely deals with the relationship of literature to material objects and to visual art. He is currently writing a book, The Critical Canvas, that describes how literary paintings of the antebellum period engaged slavery and abolitionism. A portion of that project recently appeared in the journal American Art under the title “The Ends of Time: Abolition, Apocalypse, and Narrativity in Robert S. Duncanson’s Literary Paintings.”

Samia AL-Shayban is an Associate Professor of British theater between 1600 and 1830 with emphasis on politics and ideology. She has published on Restoration and eighteenth century British theater. Her publications include essays on John Dryden, Nicholas Rowe, George Lillo Aphra Behn, Margaret Cavendish, William D’Avenant, Nicholas Rowe, George Lillo and John Gay. She explores women’s issues, slavery, imperialism, hegemony and resistance, transatlantic literature and wars in relation to the plays staged during her research period. She presented several research papers in international conferences. Currently she teaching the Postgraduate courses at Department of English Language and Literature, King Saud University-Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.


Douglas A. Jones, Jr., Associate Professor of English at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, is the author of The Captive Stage: Performance and the Proslavery Imagination of the Antebellum North (Michigan, 2014); editor of “Slavery’s Reinventions,” a special issue of Modern Drama (Winter 2019); co-editor of The Methuen Drama Book of Post-Black Plays (Bloomsbury, 2013); and a co-editor of the forthcoming Race and Performance after Repetition (Duke 2020). His essays have appeared in Early American LiteratureTDR,  J19: The Journal of Nineteenth-Century Americanists, and Modern Drama, among other journals and anthologies. He is at work on a book on early African American literary production and its contributions to democratic theory and practice.


Fredrik Thomasson, Associate Professor of history at Uppsala University (Sweden), has for several years worked on the Swedish possession (1784–1878) of the Lesser Antilles island Saint Barthélemy (aka St Barths). He has published extensively on various aspects of Swedish Caribbean colonialism and is preparing a monograph on Swedish slave law and colonial justice, as well as being the initiator and manager of the digitization of the Swedish governmental Saint Barthélemy archive now held in the French National Colonial Archives in Aix-en-Provence.

Sigrid G. Köhler is Professor of German Studies at the University of Tübingen/Germany. Her research areas cover Law and Literature, Matter and Materiality, Post/Colonial Studies, Critical Race Theory and National Identities. She is currently working on a project on human rights as juridical / political practice as a as well as on the reception of the abolition movement in German theater and journals around 1800. Her latest book publications are Recht fühlen, Paderborn 2017 [Feeling law; ed. together with Sabine Müller-Mall, Florian Schmidt and Sandra Schnädelbach] and the network publication Black Diaspora and Germany / Deutschland und die Schwarze Diaspora, Münster 2018 [ed. by the Network Black Diaspora and Germany].


Wendy-Lou Sutherland is Associate Professor of German, Black European, and Diaspora Studies at New College of Florida. Her research, focusing on the depiction of Blacks in German bourgeois drama, culminated with the publication of Staging Blackness and Performing Whiteness in Eighteenth-Century German Drama (Routledge, 2016). One of her most recent projects focuses on Mapping Slavery-Germany, which analyzes the cultural memory of locations in Germany connected with slavery and the slave trade.

Mercy Vungthianmuang Guite has been working as an Assistant Professor at the Centre of German Studies, School of Languages, Literature and Culture Studies, JNU, New Delhi since 2012. Her Ph.D. research was titled “The Haitian Theme in German Literature: A Postcolonial and Intertextual Perspective” and dealt with three seminal texts: Heinrich von Kleist’s Die Verlobung von St. Domingo, Anna Seghers’ Karibische Geschichten and Heiner Müller’s Der Auftrag. She has been awarded the Wuppertal Scholarship for her Doctorate (2014), the DLA-Marbach scholarship for the 5th International summer school in Marbach, Germany (2011) and the DAAD scholarship – A New passage to India at the University of Konstanz, Germany (2009-2010). Since 2018, she is the co-coordinator of the Konstanz-JNU (Baden-Wuerttemberg) Scholarship. One of her recent projects examines German ‘Intercultural’ literature (post war to present day). Her areas of interests include Literature, Language, Art history and Culture Studies.


Sarah J. Adams is a Ph.D. candidate in Dutch Literature at Ghent University. Her FWO-funded project Slavery on Scene. Representations of Slavery on the Dutch Stage of 1800 examines performances of slavery in the Netherlands in an age of significant ideological and political change. The project aims to contribute to the understanding of the complex cultural production generated during Dutch colonialism, and its legacies in modern Dutch society. She has been editor of the yearbook of the Dutch-Belgian Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies since 2016.

Heather S. Nathans is the Chair of the Department of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies, and the Alice and Nathan Gantcher Professor in Judaic Studies at Tufts University.  Publications include: Early American Theatre from the Revolution to Thomas Jefferson (2003); Slavery and Sentiment on the American Stage, 1787-1861 (2009); and Hideous Characters and Beautiful Pagans: Performing Jewish Identity on the Antebellum American Stage (2017). Nathans is the 2018 recipient of the Barnard Hewitt Award from the American Society for Theatre Research, the American Theatre and Drama Society’s John W. Frick Book Award, and was a finalist for the Theatre Library Association’s George Freedley Memorial Award for Hideous Characters and Beautiful Pagans (as well as Slavery and Sentiment on the American Stage in 2009).  She received the 2018 Betty Jean Jones Award for teaching and mentorship from the American Theatre and Drama Society.  She has received numerous research fellowships, including ones from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, the American Jewish Archives, and the NEH.  Nathans is also the Editor of the Studies in Theatre History and Culture series from the University of Iowa Press.

Tendayi Sithole is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Sciences, University of South Africa (UNISA). He is the author of Steve Biko: Decolonial Meditations of Black Consciousness (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2016). Sithole is completing two book projects provisionally titled “Fugitive Tapes: The Poetics of Black Sonic Imaginations” and “Dispositions of the Black Radical Tradition”. He is a founding member of both the Africa Decolonial Research Network based at UNISA and The Johannesburg Jazz Study Group.


Yolanda Mpelé is a French actress born near Lyon. She learned acting by performing in fringe plays in London, UK where she was also part of the Roundhouse Theatre company. In France, she played twice with Christian Schiaretti at the Théâtre National Populaire in Villeurbanne: A season in the Congo (2016) and The tragedy of the King Christopher (2017). She also performed with La Compagnie Persona, Le collectif de l’âtre, l’Opéra de Lyon and in English with the Line Theatre. In 2019, she performed in “Black” directed by Luk Perceval which is part of the trilogy The Sorrows of Belgium.

Chokri Ben Chikha 

Tunde Adefioye was born in Los Angeles and earned a bachelors in Women’s Studies at San Diego State University, followed by one in Molecular Biology and a Master’s in Bioinformatics at Leeds University. He co-founded the youth platform Urban Woorden in Leuven, Belgium, and was awarded the Prize for Cultural Education by the Flemish government. In 2016, he began working as city-dramaturg as part of Michael De Cock’s team at KVS. City-dramaturgy aims to use the city as a conceptual canvas to create discourses with different aspects of Brussels and beyond. Additionally, he has done dramaturgy for plays and projects including Malcolm X and (Not) My Paradise. In 2019, he made his directorial debut with Contact Theatre Manchester, with the piece Old Tools > New Masters ≠ New Futures. Since 2017 he has been delivering lectures and speeches, including giving guest lectures at colleges and a keynote at the 2018 IETM plenary meeting in Portugal, one at the Wales Arts International’s conference, as well as keynote at the European Theatre Convention meeting in Dresden in 2019. He has published frequently in the major Flemish press.


Dr. Frank Obenland is a senior lecturer for American Studies at the Johannes Gutenberg-University in Mainz. He has studied American literature and history at the University of Tübingen and did one year of graduate studies at Brown University in Providence, RI. He earned his doctorate with a study on Nathaniel Hawthorne in 2009. Since then he has published articles on the dramatic works of African American playwrights William Wells Brown, Langston Hughes, Suzan-Lori Parks, and Branden Jacobs-Jenkins. His post-doctoral research interests focus on the importance of transatlantic and transnational performance traditions in African American drama. His recent article on William Wells Brown’s The Escape; or, A Leap for Freedom (1858) discusses how early African American drama articulates a critique of American slavery from a transnational perspective. In a more recent article, he has discussed the rendition of the Haitian Revolution in the dramatic works of Langston Hughes and C.L.R. James. In his teaching, he concentrates on contemporary ethnic drama, African American literature and history, American film and media, as well as early and 19th-century American literature and culture.

Since October 2018 Nikola Keller is a Ph.D. candidate of the research training group “Factual and Fictional Narration” at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg and works on a project entitled “Vom Fremden im Drama erzählen: Faktuale Binnenerzählungen in deutsch- und französischsprachigen Dramen des 18. Jahrhunderts” (Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Judith Frömmer, Prof. Dr. Monika Fludernik). From 2011 to 2017 she studied French and German (1st state exam) at the Universities of Freiburg and Aix-Marseille (France). Between 12/2017 und 09/2018 Nikola Keller worked as research assistant at Professor Dr. Judith Frömmer’s Chair of French and Italian Literature (Department of Romance Studies, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg.

Dr. Debra A. Ryals has taught high school through graduate school over the past twenty years. She holds a Ph.D. in Literature and Criticism from Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a specialty in Nineteenth Century American Literature and completed her dissertation on Alcott and the Theatre. Currently she serves as Associate Professor of English at Pensacola State College where she teaches Composition I and II, American Literature to and from 1870, British Literature to and from 1800, and African-American Literature. She is also a frequent conference speaker, most recently at the 2019 College English Association meeting in New Orleans.


Wayne Weaver recently started a Ph.D. on music and cultural encounter in Jamaica circa 1770-1838 at the University of Cambridge, supervised by Dr. Benjamin Walton. Interested in both colonial history and urban musicology, he enjoys thinking about music’s performance and interpretation in theatrical and sacred contexts in the New World. He is also interested in the ethics and politics of contemporary musical practice and interaction. Studying previously at the University of Edinburgh, Wayne held organ scholarships at St Giles’ Cathedral and St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral before training as a secondary school music teacher. He continues to perform regularly as a harpsichordist and holds the Associate Diploma of the Royal College of Organists.

Mariana Soutto Mayor is a Doctoral Student from the Theater Department of the School of Communications and Arts of the University of São Paulo (USP), and an associate researcher of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in Portugal. She was a short-term professor of the Paulista State University (UNESP) from 2015 to 2016 and University of São Paulo (2015); and member of the Brazilian Society for Eighteenth-century studies (Abes 18) and LITS/USP (Laboratory of Investigation in Theater and Society from the University of São Paulo).