Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Communication Studies

Document Type



This study is an ethnography of a performance ethnography. The performance “Hang It Out To Dry” explores the experiences of residents from Saint Bernard Parish, Louisiana in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. This dissertation traces “Hang It Out To Dry” from the beginning of fieldwork to the aesthetic staging of collected narratives and through two years of community building as the performance toured the nation. Particularly, I develop methods for collecting materials from fieldwork for adaptation to the stage. The study demonstrates the intellectual work of performance composition in scripting and staging a performance ethnography. In doing so, I mark the collaborative efforts of the coproducers of “Hang It Out To Dry,” focusing on set design, musical composition, stage work with colleagues, and audience response. I also discuss the communities of “Hang It Out To Dry” to show the power of performance as a primary redressive act in community building. Finally, I map the web of remaking the story, “Hang It Out To Dry.” The dissertation concludes with a reconstituted script, a reminder that performance is a doing of remembrance and therefore forward making. My study is significant because while scholars have discussed the method and process of performance ethnography, they have not fully explored the aesthetics of a staged ethnography. This study highlights the performance composition and production while tracing the many events and stories of those who bore witness.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Shaffer, Tracy Stephenson



Included in

Communication Commons