Professor William Acree receives NEH Fellowship for his project on “The Creole Circus”

The Department congratulates Assistant Professor of Spanish William Acree, who has been awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Fellowship for his project, entitled, “The Creole Circus and the Making of a Theatergoing Public in Uruguay and Argentina, 1860-1910.”

Professor Acree describes his project below.

“Theater in Uruguay and Argentina has been one of the most popular forms of entertainment since the nineteenth century. Ironically, the success of theater and the making of a theater-going public in the region have their roots in shows put on by circus troupes in the countryside that only later filled urban theaters. From 1860 to 1900 these troupes performed dramas dealing with rural traditions and exploring issues of migration, social stratification, and tensions of economic modernization. Circus dramas became wildly successful, attracting spectators in the countryside and city alike, in venues ranging from makeshift tents to opera houses. By studying circus plays and their reception, The Creole Circus project argues that popular theater in the region was both a catalyst in the formation of lasting social identities and a bridge between popular and elite forms of cultural production. Moreover, the project models ways to approach similar phenomena in other areas of the Americas and beyond.”