My dissertation, "It Can Happen Here: Performative American Identity and the Federal Theatre Project" argues that the mass staging of Sinclair Lewis's It Can't Happen Here is an example of the Federal Theatre Project's attempt to create a new type of American identity through performance. I use JL Austin's theory of performativity to ground my argument.
I will need to travel to two major archives to complete my dissertation - the National Archives and the Federal Theater Archives. These trips are very expensive, and even with my husband's job they are out of our range.
I appreciate any money you can contribute. Any money I raise above my goal will allow me bring my husband with me to serve as a research assistant.
A few words about my journey to be Dr. Macy Jones: If you had asked 18-year-old Macy what she thought of getting a doctorate, she would have looked at you like you asked her if she wanted to Princess of the Moon. That's not a real job, right?
When I was a sophomore in college, I watched Tim Robbins's Cradle Will Rock, a film about the Federal Theatre Project. The FTP was a branch of Roosevelt's Works Progress Administration. The aims of the FTP were to put theatre professional back to work and provide inexpensive live entertainment to a nation in crisis. I fell in love. I read everything I could find about it. I worked it into every conversation. Finally, my mentor suggested that I could go to graduate school and spend every waking moment with the FTP.
It never occurred to me that this could be my future. When the suggestion was given every thing clicked. A decade later, I am so very close to my dream. I love this research topic. I wake up excited to write about it. Beyond the practical needs of visiting these archives, I am eager to read the letters, scripted, and reviews attached to this period of American Theatre History.
Thank you all.
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