"In Professor Hankins' course, I recall our critical engagement with Josephine Baker -- a beginning to my complicated understanding of how performances of race can be both positive and negative."
-- Jeffrey McCune
Jeffrey McCune '99Jeffrey McCune '99 credits his Cornell experience for "planting the seed" that led him to become a professional scholar. His research examines closely the interrelatedness and intersections of race, gender, sexuality, and class.
McCune majored in theatre/speech and secondary education at Cornell. He says his path was shaped by experiences in both these departments, and his eyes were also opened to an appreciation of critical thinking during campus dialogues, speech team events, and key English courses with professors Leslie Hankins and Stephen Lacey.
"In Professor Hankins' course, I recall our critical engagement with Josephine Baker," he says, "a beginning to my complicated understanding of how performances of race can be both positive and negative.
"Professor Lacey's deep reading of texts which dealt with sexuality and HIV/AIDS, though often quiet on race, was instructive into how to bring controversial and uncomfortable subject matter in the classroom with grace and poise."
McCune earned a doctorate in Performance Studies from Northwestern University, a path he highly recommends to theatre majors who want to pursue the art from a critical or academic perspective.
"All of us have to keep in mind that the best theatre happens off-stage," he says. "Make them hear you!
McCune was hired in 2007 to teach American and Women's Studies at the University of Maryland-College Park. He is also working on a book tentatively titled "Remixin' the Closet: Black Masculinity and the Politics of Sexual Passing."