Susan Seizer
About the Book

Susan imagesSusan Seizer

Associate Professor
Department of Communication and Culture
Indiana University

Faculty member at Indiana University since 2006


Office: 800 East Third Street
Bloomington, IN 47405-9700

office phone: 812-856-1986
office fax:       812-855-6014

Academic History

  • Faculty member at Scripps College 1998-2006
  • M.A, Ph.D. University of Chicago 1997
  • B.A. Barnard College, Columbia University. Summa Cum Laude.

Research and Teaching Interests

  • Sociocultural Anthropology
  • South Asian Studies
  • Disability Studies
  • Ethnographic Writing
  • Humor in Use
  • Performance Studies  
  • Gender, Feminist & Queer Studies
  • Stigma in Social Theory

Course syllabi



Stigmas of the Tamil Stage: An Ethnography of Special Drama Artists in South India.
Duke University Press, 2005.


Road Comics: Big Work on Small Stages. Ethnographic documentary, 57 min; 2012. Available from

The Buffoon-Dance Duet. 1997. Ethnographic short, 11 min (in Tamil). Available at

Journal Articles

"On the Uses of Obscenity in Live Stand-Up Comedy." Anthropological Quarterly, Vol. 84, No. 1, p. 209–234, Winter 2011

“Roadwork: Offstage with Special Drama Actresses in Tamilnadu, South India.” Cultural Anthropology, V15N2:217-259, May 2000.

"Jokes, Gender, and Discursive Distance on the Tamil Popular Stage." American Ethnologist, V24N1:62-90, Feb 1997.

“Playing the Field.” Review essay, Taboo: sex, identity and erotic subjectivity in anthropological fieldwork, D. Kulick and M. Wilson, eds. In Transition: An International Review. Issue 71, V6N3:100-113, Fall 1996.

"Paradoxes of Visibility in the Field: Rites of Queer Passage in Anthropology." Public Culture, V8N1:73-100, Fall 1995.

Articles in edited volumes

“Legacies of Discourse: Special Drama and its History,” in Play-House of Power: Gender and Theatre in Colonial and Postcolonial India. Ed. Lata Singh. Delhi: Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2009.

"Gender Plays: Social and Spatial Paradigms on the Tamil Popular Stage." In Tamil Geographies: Cultural Constructions of Space and Place in South India. Ed. Martha Ann Selby & Indira Viswanathan Peterson. SUNY Press, 2008.

“Offstage Negotiations of Stigma by Special Drama Actresses in South India.” In Everyday Life in South Asia, ed. Diane Mines and Sarah Lamb. Indiana University Press 2002, 2nd revised edition 2009.

“Post-Field Positionings” and “The Afterlife of Fieldwork Relations.” Issue Guest Editor, Indian Folklife, Serial No. 23, National Folklore Support Centre, Chennai, India, 2006.

Recent conference papers

"How Drunk Are They? Art in the Age of Alcohol on the Comedy Club Circuit." Paper presented at the American Anthropological Association meetings, Nov 2010.

"Shake It Up: Narrative Moves Into Movement on the Stand-Up Stage." Paper presented at the AAA meetings, Dec 2009, and American Folklore Society, Oct 2009.

"The Grotesque in Sheep's Clothing, Rearing its Head to Make Us Howl," paper on stand-up comedy at the American Anthropological Association meetings, San Jose, CA, November 2006.

"Everything You See is Part of the History of This Place." Paper given at the Bernard S. Cohn Memorial Conference, University of C hicago, Chicago, IL, May 2005.

Online Essays

"Craft & Magic on the US Comedy Club Stage" Humor in America. 24 March 2014.

View Susan Seizer's complete CV: DOCX, DOC or PDF


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