My job at BYU is… chair of the Theatre and Media Arts Department. A department chair does a wide range of things. One that I find very rewarding is the work I do to make sure that our faculty have what they need to teach and continue their research.
Currently I’m working on… writing an article about a Finnish philosopher-artist and how aesthetics and science intersect in his work. I’m also working on a book about Peter Gabriel and theatricality. Gabriel became well known early in his career for his theatrical costumes and stage characters—similar to what David Bowie was doing at the time—but my research will look at how “theatricality” is something inherent in most if not all of Gabriel’s artistic work.
My interests are in… performance philosophy. Performance philosophy is a relatively new discipline that explores any intersection between philosophy and performance. Most interesting to me is to think about performance as something that can philosophize, or as something that is part and parcel of what counts as thinking.
Currently I’m reading… Listening by Jean-Luc Nancy.
I get most excited about my work when… I come across something that I’ve never thought of before. For example, I just completed reading Jacques Rancière’s Disagreement: Politics and Philosophy. In it, the author contends that politics deserving of the name is not an institutionalized set of processes by which government is meted out but rather something produced by a performative moment of resistance; it is something that occurs in the midst of different forces vying to submit a subject to one identity or another. Contemporary politics is actually the erasure of politics.
The best-kept BYU secret is… I’m not sure how much of a “secret” the Harold B. Lee Library is, but I think it is the most exciting yet underused resource on campus. I’m especially fond of interlibrary loan.
My most cherished memory at BYU was when… as an undergraduate, I met and fell in love with my wife. We were cast in a student-directed project and met during the first rehearsal.
My dream car is… one that needs no service, ever.
The biggest challenge I’ve faced was… The biggest challenge I have faced and continue to face is balancing priorities in my life: family, church service, personal care, work, etc.
What shows are you most looking forward to in the 2016-17 season? The pairing of The Importance of Being Earnest and Travesties. Both are great scripts, with Travesties directly referencing Earnest and the time during which Oscar Wilde wrote Earnest. I’m excited to see how the two play off each other in the same season.