New Theatre Quarterly

Research Article

The Case against World Theatre History

Steve Tillis


A strong case can be made against world theatre history as a subject of scholarly study. This paper analyzes seven arguments that can be levelled against world theatre history as an academic subject. It then offers rebuttals to each of these arguments. In so doing, it seeks not only to establish the legitimacy of world theatre history as a subject of study, but also to clarify the methodologies and the goals of such study. Steve Tillis received his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, and currently teaches at St Mary's College of California. He has previously published articles on world theatre history in Asian Theatre Journal, TDR, Theatre Topics, and Theatre Survey.

Key terms

  • theatre historiography;
  • Eurocentrism;
  • provincialism;
  • academic drama