Laura Pattillo, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Office: Merion Hall 183
Phone: (610) 660-1386


B.A., University of Richmond, 1991

M.A., Louisiana State University, 1993

Ph.D., Louisiana State University, 2001

Professional Experience

General Fields of Professional Interest

Dramatic literature

Southern literature

Appalachian studies

Religion and literature

American regional and ethnic cultures and literatures

Folklore and oral history

Dramaturgy and new play development

Pedagogical Style

I usually teach through guided class discussion, often prompted by a brief in-class writing assignment about our text for that day. I also lecture intermittently, sometimes in conjunction with screenings of selected scenes from videotapes of plays we are studying. I use peer editing in my writing courses and try to keep the material relevant and interesting to students. Always come to class prepared, engaged, and ready to actively participate. Expect to make many trips to the library and to develop a close, meaningful relationship with your dictionary (pun intended).

Other Information

I direct one play each year as part of the Cap and Bells season at SJU, and I am the advisor to the SJU chapter of Alpha Psi Omega, the national honorary theatre fraternity.

I have extensive practical experience in the theater, and also some in television and film. I majored in both Theatre Arts and English at the undergraduate level and completed a doctoral minor in Theatre at LSU. I studied drama in London for a summer as a graduate student and for six months worked as a dramaturgy and literary management intern at Actors Theatre of Louisville, home of the renowned Humana Festival of New American Plays. In the course of my doctoral studies I also served as co-director of inmate theatre companies in Louisiana and Kentucky state prisons that wrote and performed original works.

Member of Modern Language Association, Popular Culture Association, Society for the Study of Southern Literature, Conference on Christianity and Literature, Association for Theatre in Higher Education.

Courses Taught

English 1011 (The Craft of Language)

English 1021 (Texts and Contexts)

English 2451 (Modern Drama)

English 2751 (American Drama)


Selected Publications

"The American President on the Stage," chapter in The American President in Popular Culture, ed. John Matviko, Greenwood Press, forthcoming 2004.

"Samm-Art Williams" entry in Encyclopedia of African American Literature, forthcoming.

"Tony Kushner," "Cuban American Drama," and "Neil Simon" entries in Encyclopedia of Multiethnic American Literature, forthcoming.

"Hatcher Hughes" article for Dictionary of Literary Biography, Vol. 249, published in 2002.

"Opening Nights Behind the Walls: Male and Female Inmates Writing and Performing the Prison Experience," Popular Culture Association, San Antonio, 2004.

"'Sure, I Remember the Homeplace': Treasuring Tradition and Packaging the Past in Hume Cronyn and Susan Cooper's Foxfire," Mid-Atlantic Popular Culture and American Culture Associations, Wilmington, Delaware, 2003.

"'She's Not Mammy Yokum and I'm Not Daisy Mae': Giving Voice to Appalachian Female Identities in Elizabeth Stearns's Stage Adaptation of Hillbilly Women," Southern Women Writers Conference, Berry College, Rome, Georgia, 2003.

"'Don't Ye Put No Stock in Witchery: Put Hit in the Bible': The Battle between and Blending of Superstition and Religion in Appalachia as Represented in Percy MacKaye's Timber," Popular Culture Association, New Orleans, 2003.

"'There is so much we have not said to each other': The 'White,' 'Black' and 'Indian' Elizabeths of Jo Carson's play The Bear Facts," Northeast Modern Language Association, Boston, 2003.

"Recapturing the 'Time of no Writing': The Privileging of Orality over Literacy in Alice Walker's The Temple of My Familiar," 20th-Century Literature Conference, University of Louisville, 2003.

"'I give You thanks for my own, on this earth': Traditional Mountain Religion and Folk Belief in the Plays of Romulus Linney," Northeast Region Conference on Christianity and Literature, St. Francis College, Brooklyn, New York, 2002.

"Mammies, Mistresses and Mother's Milk: Katherine Anne Porter and Sherley Anne Williams Write Against Myths of the Old South," American Literature Association, San Diego, 1998.

"The Woman in the Middle: The Parallel Lives of Laura Wingfield and Stella Kowalski," Tennessee Williams Scholars Conference, New Orleans, 1998.

"It's Bigger Than All of Us: The Love Club Tradition of the University of Richmond Theatre Department," Popular Culture Association, San Antonio, 1997.

"The Ongoing Narrative of Slavery: Octavia Butler Rewrites Harriet Jacobs," Southern Women Writers Conference, Berry College, Rome, Georgia, 1994.

"I Have Failed in My Responsibility to the Young: Education and Power in David Mamet's Oleanna," Mardi Gras Conference on Languages and Literature, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, 1994.