Jen(nifer E) Shook is a digital and performance dramaturg whose research and practice live at the intersection of literature, performance, media and digital humanities, Indigenous and critical race and gender studies, and commemoration. She is a currently a Visiting Junior Fellow with the Center for Humanities & Information at Penn State.
She holds a PhD in English and a Graduate Certificate in book history/book arts from the University of Iowa, as well as interdisciplinary humanities degrees from Swarthmore College and the University of Chicago. She has taught at institutions including Oklahoma State University, The Theatre School at DePaul University, Columbia College Chicago, the Newberry Library, and Grinnell College, where she was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Mellon-funded Digital Bridges for Humanistic Inquiry. She toured the Midwest as a Road Scholar talking about Lincoln in popular culture and early American theatre for the Illinois Humanities Council and worked as a dramaturg, director, and theatre producer in Chicago, where she founded Caffeine Theatre—a company that mined the poetic tradition to explore social questions (2002-2012). Her current work explores the relationship between performance, literature, and digital culture, particularly in promoting Native American artists’ reworkings of historical commemorations. Jen has participated in the NEH’s Digital Native American Indigenous Studies pedagogy cohort, the Harvard Mellon School of Theater and Performance Research , and was a WikiEdu Fellow with the National Women’s Studies Association. She served for four years as Co-Director of Imagining America’s PAGE (Publicly Active Graduate Engagement) Fellow Program, and sat on the editorial board of the multimedia journal PUBLIC. She has also peer-reviewed for American Quarterly, juried for the Sound of Silent Film Festival and the Region 5 Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, and been a reading judge for 50pp Latinx new plays, Native Voices, and Middle East America new play lists/awards/festivals. She has collected and transformed local stories into visual art for the Iowa City Carnaval, hosted a symposium on “Life After: Activist Memorials and Digital Collaboration,” and co-designed a number of very small shadow puppets.
Her book project Unending Trails: The Making of Oklahoma-as-Indian-Territory in Performance, Print, and Digital Culture follows ritual and virtual reenactments and memorial performances in and out of the transcultural space of Indian Territory, connecting politics and policy with the print public sphere as well as to plays, poetry, and multimedia performances that borrow and revise early archives. In addition, she’s developing Instead of Redface, a digital resource amplifying contemporary Indigenous playwrights.