Department of Communication Studies

Karen Mitchell



Research Interests

My research interests include performance studies, critical communication pedagogy, and performance for social change. What I enjoy doing most is exploring questions of race, class, and gender through performance. My research appears in Text and Performance Quarterly, Theatre Topics, Communication Education, and Women and Violence.

Courses Taught

As a professor of Communication Studies at the University of Northern Iowa I teach a variety of courses in the area of Performance Studies: Performance and Social Change, Group Performance: Scripting and Directing, the Performance and Rhetoric of Social Protest; Performance of Literature; and graduate seminars in Performance Studies and Critical Communication Pedagogy.

Personal/Professional Interests

Currently, I am the Artistic Director of UNI Interpreters Theatre and the founding director of SAVE (Students Against a Violent Environment) Forum Actors. My work with SAVE was originally part of a major grant to combat gender violence on campus, awarded to the UNI Women's Studies program by the Department of Justice, and has now been institutionalized at UNI. I also direct productions for UNI Interpreters Theatre. My directorial work includes stage adaptations of novels (Extra-Curricular: A Novel of Rape on Campus by Anne Hasselbrack), investigations of popular cultural phenomenon (Barbie Undone); hybrid works such as my ethnography of romance readers (The Rainbow Season: Romancing the Romance); and plays centered on social issues ("Execution of Justice" by Emily Mann). In my classes, I emphasize experiential learning, creative performance work, critical thinking, collaborative problem solving, community building, and social justice action. In 2009 I was honored to receive the College of Humanities and Fine Arts Faculty Excellence Award. In my free time I play with my dog Zorro, read, garden, and lavish my four nieces and one nephew with attention.


320 Lang