The Empty Space


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Jennifer Linde (artistic director)

Jennifer Linde

Linde (M.A.) is a principal lecturer in the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication and the artistic director of The Empty Space. She has designed and taught performance studies courses relating to communication and creativity, oral interpretation of literature, performance of sexuality, performance theory, civil communication, and methods for adapting traditional scholarship to the stage. In her position as artistic director, Linde serves as an advisor, script consultant, and director of a variety of laboratory performances presented by faculty, undergraduate and graduate students at The Empty Space. She has participated in the design and development of Civil Dialogue, a format designed to foster civil communication when discussing controversial topics. Linde has engaged Civil Dialogue as a pedagogical tool in performance studies classes and facilitated Civil Dialogue events at the Empty Space since 2004.

 Daniel Brouwer

Daniel Brouwer

Associate Professor Brouwer is a critical rhetorical scholar whose interest in uses of the human body in political and cultural performances converges with the interests of the Empty Space. In 2010, he was a plenary speaker at a conference on Teaching Rhetorical Criticism; his presentation featured intersections of rhetorical studies and performance studies through the use of performance modes in a course on Rhetoric of Social Issues. Recently he co-taught with Jennifer Linde a graduate-level methods module on the trigger-scripting performance format, helping to adapt traditional scholarship on race, history, and communication for the stage. Adapting traditional scholarship and popular culture texts for the stage, he is also a regular performer in the School’s annual Cornucopia fall showcase.

 Olga Idriss Davis

Olga Idriss Davis

Professor Davis received her Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and is an alumna of The Juilliard School in drama. She made her television debut in a recurring role as Student Nurse on the ABC daytime drama, “General Hospital.” Her stage debut occurred with the late Rock Hudson, Claire Trevor, and Leif Erickson in the bi-centennial production of “John Brown’s Body” directed by John Houseman. As a Rockefeller fellow, she conducted research on the performative and liberatory nature of Black female slave narratives. Her current scholarship extends the role of narrative in the lives of African American survivors of the Tulsa, Oklahoma Race Riot of 1921. Davis’ research interests include ritual and identity in the African Diaspora, womanist theory, and the performance of African American women’s rhetorical and performative traditions.

Amira de la Garza

Amira de la Garza

Amira de la Garza, associate professor, uses performance, embodied methods and creative writing in (auto) ethnographic research and studies of culture, spirituality, and narrative identity. The most powerful way that de la Garza engages the issues is to perform what she calls "paradoxically (un)certain stories" that emerge in her work and reflection. Her relationship with the audiences and her own embodied experience of performance allows her to get deeper insights into the nature of what she is researching, which she calls "Questioning the Body." She also teaches a graduate seminar/studio class that works with the body as a site of knowledge capable of profoundly performing the study of human communication.

 Brandon Ferderer

Brandon Ferderer

Brandon Ferderer is an Instructor in the Hugh Downs School, and teaches a variety of classes in communication theory, performance, and placemaking and is the author of several award-winning essays at both regional and national conferences in the areas of performance studies and rhetoric. Brandon serves as co-producer and Educational Director of The Empty Space’s Encyclopedia Show AZ, a multi-media, an educational variety show on topics taken from an actual encyclopedia. His solo-narrative work has been featured at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art’s Lit Lounge and his adaptations of performance methods in the areas of urban planning have been showcased as part of the annual Phoenix Urban Design Week.

 Benny LeMaster

Benny Lemaster

Assistant Professor LeMaster is a critical/cultural communication scholar. In particular, they identify as an intersectionality scholar and pedagogue who studies the performative, discursive, and material constitution of cultural difference as it manifests at both individual and systemic levels. With an intersectional focus on difference, they are interested in the performance of identity, non-normative modes of relationality, and mundane performances of self and/as culture. The methods that they most regularly utilize include both text-centered methods as well as performative and critical field methods such as autoethnography, critical and performance ethnography, critical rhetorical field methods, and arts-based approaches. The critical rhetorics that help shape their intersectional lens include: critical (mixed-)race, queer and queer of color, transfeminist, and critical disability/crip theories. Their teaching and service are co-constitutive of their research, and similarly reflect critical/cultural interests and approaches. For instance, they created Trans Empowerment Groups (TEG) that meld feminist approaches to consciousness-raising with a queer interrogation of normativity leading to a unique pedagogical space in which transgender and gender non-conforming students can explore their genders while envisioning and realizing a transformed culture.

Their pronouns are they/them/their  

Frederick C. Corey

Frederick Corey

Professor Corey conducts research in the areas of performance, narrative, and culture, with a focus on the gay male body. He has published widely in journals and edited collections in communication and performance studies. His articles have appeared in Text and Performance Quarterly, Canadian Journal of Political and Social Theory, Western Journal of Communication, Journal of Homosexuality, Communication Studies, and Communication and the Disenfranchised. His work in HIV education has been funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Corey received his BS in political science from Central Michigan University, MS in communication from Southern Illinois University, and Ph.D. in communication from the University of Arizona. Corey is the editor of Text and Performance Quarterly and Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education at ASU.

John Genette

John Genette

John Genette is a guest lecturer, certified Civil Dialogue Facilitator, and citizen artist. He is collaborating with Jennifer Linde, Leah Marché, and Judy Schwiebert on a new program called Storyscope – A Story Circles Project. Developed in association with the I-4C Collective and affiliation with the U.S. Dept. of Arts and Culture, Storyscope’s mission is to strengthen communities by bringing people together to share personal stories and perspectives in a spirit of equity and belonging. As a performing artist, Genette has created original shows and solo performances at The Empty Space and The Whole Life Center at Shadow Rock, has appeared in The Encyclopedia Show and is active in the storytelling community. Genette is president of Black Mountain Communications Inc., a fundraising agency. 

Sarah Tracy (Affiliated Faculty)

Sarah Tracy

Professor Tracy is an active participant in performative and alternative representational practices. Her interests include creative ethnographic practices and transforming scholarship to the stage. She has worked on three trigger script performances at The Empty Space: Navigating the Cruise, Bullied, and A Good Death. These performances were adaptations/extensions of Tracy and her coauthors' research on cruise ship sexual harassment, workplace bullying, and compassion at end of life. Furthermore, she regularly performs in Cornucopia, and starred as Rebecca in 2010's Empty Space staged reading of "Blue-Orange".


Kristin B. Valentine (Emeritus)

Kristin Valentine

Kristin B. Valentine

Professor Valentine is Professor Emerita of Communication at Arizona State University. Her research focuses on performance studies, specifically on fieldwork-based ethnographies of cultural performances in Arizona, Spain, and New Zealand. Parallel to performance ethnography is her interest in communication and creative writing to, with, and for incarcerated women. She was project director of a National Endowment for the Humanities grant that featured the performance and discussion of contemporary Western American fiction in the public libraries of the Phoenix valley. 


An interview with Emeritus Professor Kristin B. Valentine, co-founder of The Empty Space

Fred Corey, vice provost for undergraduate education at ASU, interviews Emeritus Professor Kristin Valentine for the ASU Retirees Association Video History Project.