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Cornell Theatre Arts Alumna Diana Looser (PhD) awarded the 2016 Rob Jordan Book Prize

By: Cindy DeLorme Greco, Department of Performing & Media Arts, 
August 3, 2016

The judges called it a ‘sophisticated and ground-breaking study…both extensive in scope and exemplary in its attention to the contribution local cultural traditions and events have made to performance outcomes.’

The Australasian Association for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies awarded author and Cornell University Theatre Arts Alumna (PhD) Diana Looser the 2016 Rob Jordan Prize for her book, Remaking Pacific Pasts: History, Memory and Identity in Contemporary Theater from Oceania (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press 2014). The Rob Jordan Prize is awarded for the best book on a subject related to drama or theatre studies by an ADSA member published in 2014-15.

The judges also cited, that in her work, Looser ‘identifies a substantial and dynamic body of dramatic and performative work in the Pacific that has not until now been as comprehensively analyzed and assessed.’

Additionally, Looser ‘calls on a configuration of sources including Pacific literature, postcolonial theory and accounts of pre and postcolonial performance…’

The judges also noted that Looser’s readings are ‘engaging and absorbing, striking a fine balance between contextualization, theory, thematic discussion and performative analysis…and may well prove to be foundational in its articulation of themes, positions and problems of long term importance for theatre scholars and practitioners, and for the cultural, economic and political future of the region.’

While a graduate student at the Ivy League institution, Looser was awarded a tie for first-place in Cornell University Library’s Book Collection Contest for her work Dramatic Literature of Ocenia, c. 1970-present.

In fall 2015, Looser gave a public talk at the Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts entitled, (Dis)appearing Islands: Climate Change & the Future Geographies of Oceanic Performance. The talk was sponsored by Cornell’s Department of Performing & Media Arts.

Looser’s award-winning book ‘Remaking Pacific Pasts’ is available at Barnes & Noble and on Amazon.