La Donna L. Forsgren

Rev. Thomas J. McDonagh, C.S.C., Associate Professor of Film, Television, and Theatre
Associate Editor of "Theatre Survey"


History, Theory, and Criticism

Research Interests

African American theatre and performance, Black feminist theory, Black queer theory, Black Liberation Struggle, Black Girlhood Studies, production dramaturgy


La Donna L. Forsgren is an Associate Professor in the Department of Film, Television, and Theatre; concurrent faculty in the Gender Studies Program; and affiliate faculty in the Department of Africana Studies at the University of Notre Dame. She serves as Associate Editor for Theatre Survey, a theatre history journal chartered by the American Society for Theatre Research (ASTR).

She is the recipient of ASTR’s Oscar G. Brockett Essay Prize (2020) and the Mid-America Theatre Conference’s Robert A. Schanke Theatre Research Award (2016) for her research in African American theatre history. Her first book, In Search of Our Warrior Mothers: Women Dramatists of the Black Arts Movement, investigates the works and careers of Black women playwrights: Martie Evans-Charles, J.e. Franklin, Sonia Sanchez, and Barbara Ann Teer. Her second book, Sistuhs in the Struggle: An Oral History of the Black Arts Movement Theatre and Performance, explores the art and activism of pioneering Black women intellectuals of the 1960-1970s.

Dr. Forsgren has also published her research on African American theatre history in prestigious academic journals, contributed chapters to book collections, and is working on a third book project that explores Black girlhood and Black queer feminist spectatorship in contemporary musical theatre.

Representative Publications, Performances, and Creative Works

Sistuhs in the Struggle: An Oral History of Black Arts Movement Theater and Performance. Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 2020.

In Search of Our Warrior Mothers: Women Dramatists of the Black Arts Movement. Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 2018.

The Wiz Redux; or Why Queer Black Feminist Spectatorship and Politically Engaged Popular Entertainment Continue to Matter,” Theatre Survey 60, no.3 (2019), pp. 325-354.

“Breaking Down the ‘Walls of Whiteness’: Strategies for Teaching About Race and Social Justice in a ‘Very Black Year,’” Theatre Topics 27 no. 2 (2017), pp. 151-162.

“‘Set Your Blackness Free’: Barbara Ann Teer’s Art and Activism During the Black Arts Movement,” Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies 36 (2015), pp. 136-159.


Phone: 574-631-7171
Office: 230C DeBartolo Performing Arts Center

CV Website