Pembroke Center

Courtney Lau

Ph.D. Candidate in Theatre Arts and Performance Studies, GNSS TA


Courtney Lau is a Ph.D. candidate in Theatre Arts and Performance Studies at Brown University. Before Brown, with the support of a Fulbright Postgraduate Student Award, she received her M.A. in Dance Studies from the University of Roehampton in London. Her dissertation focuses on the affective, social, and political dimensions of mourning and grief. Specifically engaging loss that emerges from anti-Asian racism in North America, her project considers how Asian diasporic subjects make room for grief in their everyday lives, especially when dominant structures not only disregard loss, but also foreclose the possibility of mourning. Analyzing a wide range of materials, from nineteenth century archival photographs of San Francisco’s Chinatown to contemporary art, she argues that performances of mourning create active relationships to the dead and more livable worlds for those alive. Her teaching and research draw upon performance studies, Asian Americanist critique, and queer of color critique.