Una Chaudhuri is Collegiate Professor in the College of Arts & Science, and holds appointments in the departments of English and Environmental Studies in Arts & Science as well as in the department of Drama at the Tisch School of the Arts, which she chaired for six years. She was a member of the founding faculty at NYU’s Abu Dhabi campus, and taught there from 2010 to 2018. Most recently, she served as Director of GSAS’s XE: Experimental Humanities & Social Engagement.
Una Chaudhuri is a scholar of environmental humanities with a focus on theatre history, performance studies, and dramatic literature. She has been a pioneer in the field of “eco-theatre”—plays and performances that engage with the subjects of ecology and environment—as well as the related field of ecocriticism, which studies art and literature from an ecological perspective. She helped launch both these fields when she guest-edited a special issue of Yale’s Theater journal on “Theatre and Ecology” in 1994. Her introduction to that issue, entitled “‘There Must Be a Lot of Fish in That Lake’ Theorizing a Theatre Ecology,” is widely credited as a seminal contribution to the field. Professor Chaudhuri was also among the first scholars of drama and theatre to engage with another rapidly expanding interdisciplinary field, Animal Studies. She has written and lectured widely on two concepts she has proposed and theorized: “Zooësis,” the discourse and representation of species in contemporary culture and performance, and “AnthropoScenes,” dramaturgies beyond the human. Her current research explores what she calls “ecospheric consciousness”: ideas, feelings, and practices that attend to the multi-species and geo-physical contexts of human lives. Chaudhuri is the author and editor of several books, including The Stage Lives of Animals: Zooesis and Performance, The Ecocide Project: Research Theatre and Climate Change (co-author), and Animal Acts: The Stage Lives of Animals (co-editor).
Una Chaudhuri has been an active member of the theatre community in New York, serving as a judge for the Obie Awards and as a voter for the Tony Awards. She chairs the panel of judges for NYU’s prestigious Callaway Prize in Drama and Theatre. She participates in numerous collaborative art, performance, and research projects, including the on-going multi-platform Dear Climate, which has been featured in exhibitions in Dublin, the Netherlands, Storm King Arts Center, the New York Public Library, the Dumbo Art Festival, Rice University, and Appalachian State University.
Una Chaudhuri attended high school in Paris, France, and Simla, India, received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Delhi University in New Delhi, India, and her Ph.D. in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University. She has been a member of the NYU faculty since 1982.