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Nicole Hodges Persley

Chair, Department of Theatre
Associate Professor
Primary office:
Murphy Hall
Room 302


Nicole Hodges Persley is an Associate Professor of Theatre at the University of Kansas. Her research interests include African-American theater and performance, popular culture, hip-hop, women, gender and sexuality studies, solo performance, improvisation theory and transnationalism. Her research and performance works address the impact of racial, ethnic and national identity on performance practices in theatre, television and film.

Dr. Hodges Persley earned her Ph.D. in American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California(Phi Beta Kappa), an MA in African American Studies from UCLA (summa cum laude) and a BA from Spelman College (summa cum laude).

Her forthcoming book Sampling and Remixing Hip-hop in Contemporary Theater and Performance examines the impact of hip-hop music and culture on the artistic practices of non-African American hip-hop theater artists in the United States and England. Dr. Hodges Persley is the 2015 recipient of the Byron T. Shutz Excellence in Teaching Award and the 2016 recipient of the McNair Scholar Mentoring Award. She lectures nationally and internationally on Hip-hop's influence on the arts. She is one of the founding program directors of the Hip-hop Archive at Harvard University’s W.E.B. Dubois Reserach Insiute at the Hutchins Center.

Hodges Persley is a member of SAG and AFTRA and has acting and directing credits in regional theater, television and film. Her performance and directing work have been featured at the Kansas City Fringe Festival, the California Hip-hop Theater Festival, the Hudson Theater, Highways Performance Space and Just Off Broadway Theater in Kansas City where she serves as the Associate Artistic Director of the KCMeltingpot. She has published featured articles in American Theatre magazine and The Cambrodge Companion to Hip-hop with numerous articles and book chapters on hip-hop theater, African American performance and transnational performance.