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Gabrielle Civil

Associate Professor of Performance

Contact Information

Foundry Theater 103

937-319-6139 ext. 2312


Associate Professor of Performance Gabrielle Civil is a black feminist poet, conceptual and performance artist, originally from Detroit, MI. She has premiered over forty solo original performance art works nationally (Minneapolis, Chicago, NYC) and internationally (Canada, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Mexico, Puerto Rico, The Gambia). She has also served as a discussant and facilitator for engaged conversations about the work of other contemporary performers and artists.

Trained as a poet and scholar of black women’s poetics, she became early engaged in embodied art practice, alternative reading and writing, community teaching and action research. Her performance art arrives at the intersection of poetry, installation and conceptual art and takes place in galleries, alternative art spaces, museums, theaters, classrooms and the streets.

Recent live performances include “_____ is the thing with feathers” and “Say My Name (an action for 270 abducted Nigerian girls)” at “Call & Response,” an innovative two-part festival of black women and performance that she organized at Antioch College (Summer 2014). She also premiered “Fugue (Da, Montréal)” at the Hemispheric Institute Encuentro in Montreal, Canada (June 2014); “Aide-mémoire” at the AFiRiperFOMA Biennial in Harare, Zimbabwe (Nov. 2013); and a restaging of John Cage’s “How to Get Started” at Antioch College (Oct. 2013).

As a creative scholar, she is interested in closing the loop between live performance and performance theory and criticism, often using her own work as an occasion to theorize race, gender and performance practice overall. After she and Ellen Marie Hinchcliffe co-curated “Girls in Their Bedrooms,” a pop up micro-festival of performance and installation in Minneapolis (where “Say My Name” premiered in May 2014), they turned to co-edit a special “Girls in Their Bedrooms” guest issue for the feminist journal Aster(ix) (Winter 2015). She has written critically about Tourist Art, her poetry/ fine art collaboration with Vladimir Cybil Charlier. She is also circulating Swallow the Fish, her critical/creative text on black feminist performance art practice.

The aim of her work is to open up space.

Ph.D., Comparative Literature, New York University
Concentrations included: Experimental Poetics & Black Feminist Theory
M.A., Comparative Literature, New York University
A.B. with Highest Distinction, University of Michigan
Comparative Literature (High Honors)
English (Creative Writing-Poetry) (High Honors) & French
PERF 104 Presence of the Performer
PERF 140 Storytelling
PERF 165 Styles of Live Art
PERF 230 Writing & Performing the Self
PERF 265 Performance History/ Critical Studies
PERF 360 Advanced Topics: Black Women & Performance
GS 150 Global Seminar in Education