Daphne Pi-Wei Lei

Picture of Daphne Pi-Wei Lei
Professor, Drama
Claire Trevor School of the Arts
Associate Dean, Drama
Claire Trevor School of the Arts
Ph.D., Tufts University, Drama
Fax: (949) 824-3475
Email: dlei@uci.edu
University of California, Irvine

Mail Code: 2775
Irvine, CA 92697
Research Interests
Chinese Opera, Asian and Asian American theatre, Intercultural, transnational, Transpacific, Postcolonial performances, Ethnic, Gender and Diasporic Studies.
Academic Distinctions
President, American Society for Theatre Research (ASTR, 2015-2018)
Mellow Postdoctoral Fellow in Humanities, Drama Department, Stanford University (2000-2001)
Research Abstract
My main research fields are theatre, intercultural, transnational, transpacific, and diasporic studies. I use theatrical and paratheatrical performance, such as "Chinese opera" or "intercultural performance" to address intricate relationships among race, ethnicity, gender, stereotypes, xenophobia, politics, and power. I am an author of multiple books and dozens of scholarly articles and have received ASTR lifetime achievement award of distinguished scholar. I am also an artist-activist who uses performance a a way to advocate equity, justice, and minoritarian knowledge.
Awards and Honors
Distinguished Scholar Award, American Society for Theatre Research, 2022
Short Biography
International well-know in the fields of theatre, intercultural, transnational, and transpacific studies, Daphne Lei is an author of many influential monographs and articles as well as artist-activist in advocating equity and justice for immigrants and empowering underrepresented population through theatre.
• I. Books

•Uncrossing the Borders: Performing Chinese in Gendered (Trans)Nationalism. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan University Press, 2019.
Finalist, Outstanding Book Award, Association for Theatre in Higher Education. Finalist, 2019 Theatre Library Association's George Freedley Memorial Book Award.

•Alternative Chinese Opera in the Age of Civilization: Performing Zero (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011)

•Operatic China: Stage Chinese Identity Across the Pacific (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006)

• Co-author with Tobin Nellhaus, Tamara Underiner, and Patricia Ybarra. Theatre Histories: An Introduction, Fourth Edition (London and New York: Routledge, 2024)
• Co-editor with Charlotte McIvor. The Methuen Drama Handbook of Interculturalism and Performance (London: Bloomsbury, 2020).

II. Journal Articles

•“Boring! The Performative Invisibility and Non-theatricality of Asian Americans in Higher Education.” Theatre Journal. Special Issue 74 (September 2022). https://jhuptheatre.org/theatre-journal/online-content/issue/volume-74-issue-3-september-2022/boring-performative
• “Off-Yellow Time vs. Off-White Space: Activist Asian American Dramaturgy in Higher Education.” Journal of American Drama and Theatre. Special Issue: Asian American Dramaturgies (Spring 2022).
• Orphan à la Crouching Tiger." Contemporary Theatre Review 24:4 (2014), the online version (http://www.contemporarytheatrereview.org)
• “Interruption, Intervention, Interculturalism: Robert Wilson’s HIT Productions in Taiwan,” Theatre Journal 63, no. 4 (2011): 571-586.
• “The Public Life of Opera: a Conversation with Daphne Lei and Mary Zimmerman,” edited by Patrick Anderson. Theatre Survey 51, no. 2 (2010): 257-279.
• “Ruptures Within and Without: Pageantry – A Work in Progress by Denise Uyehara and Sri Susilowati.” Theatre Research International 35, no. 2 (2010): 188–192.
• “Blood-Stained Text in Translation: Tattooing, Bodily Writing and Performance of Chinese Virtue.” Anthropological Quarterly 82, no. 1 (2009): 99-127.
• "The Paradox between Materiality and Intangibility: Preservation and Development of Kunqu Oversea." Arts and Literature Studies, no. 6, 2009:: 78-86.
• "Face and Gender Metamorphosis: Beijing opera on the World Stage." Arts and Literature Studies) 208 (no. 9, 2007): 107-113.
• “Can You Hear Me? Female Voice and Cantonese Opera in the San Francisco Bay Area.” The Scholar & Feminist Online (Barnard Center for Research on Women, http://www.barnard.edu/sfonline/ps/lei.htm. 2003).
• “The Production and Consumption of Chinese Theatre in Nineteenth-Century California.” Theatre Research International 28, no 3 (October 2003), 289-302.
• “Wang Zhaojun on the Border: Gender and Intercultural Conflict in Premodern Chinese Drama.” Asian Theatre Journal 13, no. 2 (Fall 1996): 229-237.

II. Online Platform
“Neither Chinese Nor Opera: Demystifying and Retheatricalizing ‘Chinese Opera.’” Theatricality and the Challenge of Definitions series, Naxos Musicology International, edited by Davinia Caddy. Online Platform
• Article #3
“Neither Chinese Nor Opera: Demystifying ‘Chinese Opera.’” Naxos Musicology International edited by Davinia Caddy, Naxos Music Library.

IV. Book Chapters:
• “Performing Natural, Unnatural, Supernatural and Uncanny Motherhood in Snow in Midsummer by Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig.” (M)other Perspectives: Staging the Maternal in 21st Century Theatre & Performance. Edited by Lynn Deboeck and Aoise Stratford (Routledge, 2023).
• “Diasporic Trauma, Nativized Innovation, and Techno-Intercultural Predicament: The Story of Jingju in Taiwan.” Palgrave Handbook on Theatre and Migration. Edited by Stephen Wilmer and Yana Meerzon (Palgrave Macmillan, 2023).
“Solitude to Solidarity: Imagined Transnational Alliance of Humanity against Bestial Hegemony.” Asian City Crossings: Pathways of Performance through Hong Kong and Singapore, edited by Rossella Ferrari and Ashley Thorpe (London and New York: Routledge, forthcoming 2021).
• “Introduction.” The Methuen Drama Handbook to Interculturalism and Performance. Edited by Daphne Lei and Charlotte McIvor (London: Bloomsbury, 2020).
• “Playful Yellowness: Rescuing Interculturalism from Millennial Orientalism.” Interculturalism and Performance Now: New Directions? Edited by Jason King and Charlotte McIvor. Palgrave Macmillan, 2019.
• "Butterfly and Locust: Chinglish and Asian American Theatre in the Transnational Context." The Theatre of David Henry Hwang, edited by Esther Kim Lee. Methuen Drama, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing, 2015.
• “Dance Your Opera, Mime Your Words: Translate the Asian Body on the International Stage.” The Oxford Handbook of Dance and Theatre, edited by Nadine George. Oxford University Press, 2015.
• “Homeland under Attack: Looking for a New Theatrical Paradigm for Asian Americas.” In Asian Canadian Theatre: New Essays on Canadian Theatre, vol. 1, edited by Nina Lee Aquino and Ric Knowles. Toronto: Playwrights Canada, 2011, 33-48 (The collection won the Patrick B. O’Neill Award, the Canadian Association for Theatre Research for Outstanding Edited Collection, 2012).
• “Sung J. Rno.” In Dictionary of Literary Biography: Twentieth-Century American Drama, Fifth Series, edited by Garrett Eisler. Detroit: Gale Cengage Learning, 2008, vol. 341, 177-181.
• "The Virtual Chinatown and New Racial Formation: Performance of Cantonese Opera in the Bay Area." In Critical Theory and Performance, Revised and Enlarged Edition, edited by Janelle G. Reinelt and Joseph R. Roach. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2007, 156-172.
• “An Ill-rehearsed Play: the First Sino-American Encounter on the Nineteenth-century Californian Stage". In The present and future of Chinese opera in Hong Kon), edited by Li Shaoen et al. Hong Kong: Chinese University of Hong Kong, 2005, 31-44.
• “Staging the Binary: Asian American Theatre in the Late Twentieth Century." In Blackwell Companion to Twentieth-Century American Drama, edited by David Krasner. Oxford, UK; Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers, 2004, 301-317.
• “Envisioning New Borders for the Old China in Late Qing Fiction and Local Drama.” In Political Frontiers, Ethnic Boundaries, and Human Geographies in Chinese History, edited by Nicola Di Cosmo and Don Wyatt (London and New York: RoutledgeCurzon, an imprint of the Taylor and Francis Group, 2003), 373-397.
• "Biography of Sung J. Rno." In Asian American Playwrights: A Bio-Bibliographical Critical Sourcebook, edited by Miles X. Liu. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2002, 292-297.
• DECADE Mentor Graduate Diversity Award (2012-2014) • CORCL Cultural Diversity Studies Faculty Research Grant (2012) • Pacific Rim Development Grant (2009) • Single Investigator Innovation Grant (2006) • Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Fostering Undergraduate Research (UROP, 2005)
Medical Humanities Grant, 2018, 2021 21C Research Grant 2021
Professional Societies
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