Reed, Alison

Graduate Student


M.A. UC Santa Barbara
B.A. Occidental College

Alison Reed is a PhD candidate in the Department of English at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her dissertation, “Traumatic Utopias: Staging Power and Justice in Black and Latin@ Queer Performance,” examines the generative tension between trauma and utopia in Black and Latin@ queer performance texts from the 1960s to the present. Through interdisciplinary analysis of a rich performance archive, her project shifts conversations about trauma away from a politics of hopelessness endemic to our contemporary moment and toward the everyday transformation of social realities. In so doing, she offers a theoretical model of “traumatic utopias,” or performance practices that use historical traumas as the raw material for creatively inhabiting utopian visions. Her research interests more broadly lie at the intersection of performance studies, queer theory, and critical race and ethnic studies. For two years, she served as Graduate Fellow of the Antiracism Inc. program housed within the American Cultures & Global Contexts Center at UCSB. She also co-organized “Bodies in Space,” an annual guerrilla-style performance conference under the auspices of the Hemispheric South/s Research Initiative. She has facilitated social justice workshops on power and privilege in her capacity as Director’s Assistant at UCSB’s MultiCultural Center in 2014 and as Co-Lead Teaching Assistant of the English Department from 2012-2014. Last year, her teaching was recognized with the UCSB Academic Senate’s Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award. Her research has been published in Digital Creativity, Media-N, Women & Performance, Margaret Atwood Studies, and Jura Gentium Cinema. Her Pushcart-nominated poetry has appeared in several journals including Ocho, Matter, Skin to Skin, Cactus Heart, and So to Speak.





Mailing Address: 

English Department
UC Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-3170


American Cultures and Global Contexts
Hemispheric South/s
American Literature
Creative Writing
Literature and Film
Literature and Technology
Theories of Gender and Sexualities
American Race and Ethnic Studies

Research Interests: 

queer performance studies, contemporary U.S. literature and film, critical race and ethnic studies with an emphasis on Black studies and Chican@/Latin@ studies, digital embodiment, technologies of performance, critical race and sexuality studies, queer migration studies, Queer of Color critique

Recent Courses Taught