headshot of Sarah J. Townsend

Biography

Sarah J. Townsend is an Associate Professor of Spanish and Portuguese at Penn State-University Park, where she teaches courses such as Amazonia and Extractivism, Luso-Brazilian Theater Workshop, Latin American Modernisms and (Old) New Media, and Through the Looking-Glass: Race in the U.S. and Brazil. In broad terms, her work deals with the connections among culture, politics, and economics from the late nineteenth century to the present, a dynamic she most often explores through a focus on theater and/or other media technologies in Latin America. She is the co-editor of Stages of Conflict: A Critical Anthology of Latin American Theater and Performance (2008) and the author of The Unfinished Art of Theater: Avant-Garde Intellectuals in Mexico and Brazil (2018). Her current book project is called Opera in the Amazon: Culture, Capital, and the Global Jungle and revolves around the Teatro Amazonas, an opera house in Manaus, Brazil built at the height of the Amazonian rubber boom of the late nineteenth century and now the site of an annual opera festival. In 2021-2022 she will be in residence at the Newberry Library in Chicago working on this project as part of an American Council of Learned Societies Frederick Burkhardt Fellowship for Recently Tenured Scholars.

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