Petra Kuppers

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Petra Kuppers
Born1968 (1968) (age 54)
OccupationProfessor of English, Art and Design, Theatre and Drama, Women’s Studies, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Known forPerformance Artist and Disability Activist

Petra Kuppers (born 1968) is a community performance artist and a disability culture activist. She is a Professor of English, Women's and Gender Studies, Theater and Dance, and Art and Design, teaching mainly in Performance Studies and Disability Studies, at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and she serves on the faculty of Goddard College's MFA program in Interdisciplinary Arts.[1][2] Her book Gut Botany (Wayne State University Press, 2020) was named one of New York Public Library's "Best Books of 2020."[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Petra Kuppers was born April 1, 1968, in a small town in northern-western Germany. She left Germany when she was 24 and then spent 10 years in Wales, where she learned about disability culture before moving to the United States.

She was the first in her immediate family to go to university. She went on to gain an MA in Film Studies from the University of Warwick; an MA in Germanistik, Cultural Anthropology, Theatre, Film and TV Studies from the University of Cologne; and a PhD in Performance Studies and Feminist Theory from the Falmouth College of Art. She also has a Diploma in Health and Social Welfare Studies from the Open University in the UK.[4]


Kuppers is the Artistic Director of The Olimpias: Performance Research Projects, an artists' collective that creates collaborative, exploratory environments for people with physical, emotional, sensory and cognitive differences to interact with their allies. Her book about how The Olimpias conducts research through artistic practices, "Disability Culture and Community Performance: Find a Strange and Twisted Shape," won the biennial Sally Banes Award from the American Association for Theatre Research.[5] Kuppers is also the recipient of the President’s Award for Art and Activism, Women Caucus for the Arts, awarded at the College Art Association’s National Meeting in New York City, 2015[6]


Kuppers is widely published in journals that explore issues how disability engages with culture and the arts such as TDR: The Drama Review, About Performance, Liminalities, Afterimage, the Quarterly Review of Film and Video, and differences. Her books include Disability and Contemporary Performance: Bodies on Edge (2003),[7] The Scar of Visibility: Medical Performances and Contemporary Art (2007), Community Performance: An Introduction (2007), "Disability Culture and Community Performance: Find a Strange and Twisted Shape"(2013),[8] and Studying Disability Arts and Culture (2014).[9] She also co-authored the poetry collection Cripple Poetics: A Love Story (2008) with fellow disability culture activist Neil Marcus.[10] Her latest book is Studying Disability Arts and Culture: An Introduction[11] (Palgrave, October 2014).


  1. ^ "Petra Kuppers | U-M LSA Women's and Gender Studies". Retrieved 2021-03-16.
  2. ^ Goddard College. "Faculty Page". Retrieved 16 March 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. ^ "Introducing NYPL's Best Books of 2020". The New York Public Library. Retrieved 2021-03-16.
  4. ^ Goddard College. "Faculty Pages". Retrieved 28 November 2014.
  5. ^ American Association for Theatre Research. "Sally Banes Award". Retrieved 28 November 2014.
  6. ^ Women's Caucus for the Arts. "Press Release, 2015 Lifetime Achievement and President's Art & Activism Awardees" (PDF). Retrieved 28 November 2014.
  7. ^ Google Books (2003). Disability and Contemporary Performance. ISBN 9780415302395. Retrieved 28 November 2014. {{cite book}}: |last1= has generic name (help)
  8. ^ Johnston, Kirsty (2014). "Disability Culture and Performance: Rhizomes and re-embodiments in the work of Petra Kuppers". Performance Research. 19 (4): 137–140. doi:10.1080/13528165.2014.947143. S2CID 191588676. Retrieved 28 November 2014.
  9. ^ Palgrave Publishers. "Studying Disability Arts and Culture". Retrieved 28 November 2014.
  10. ^ Homofactus Press. "Cripple Poetics". Retrieved 28 November 2014.
  11. ^ Kuppers, Petra (October 2014). Studying Disability Arts and Culture An Introduction. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 9781137413437. Retrieved 2 December 2014.

External links[edit]