Webster McDonald

Webster is an artist-scholar-educator. He earned a B.F.A. in Theatre Arts from The Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts and an M.A. in Theatre Education: Theatre and Community from Emerson College. He recently completed a Ph.D. in Theatre and Performance Studies at The University of Kansas. His dissertation, “Voyages into Colonial Spaces: Unsettling Western Culturality, Constructing Implicated Subjects, Inaugurating Contemporary Human Systems,” focuses on Michael Rothberg’s writings about “multidirectional memory” and, more recently, “implicated subjects.” It expands upon the work of scholars such as Pierre Nora to offer a conceptual framework for studying public and transcultural remembrance of the disavowal of queer lives.

Dr. McDonald theorizes a queer, Black Jamaican, post-colonial subjectivity to subvert normative cultural discourses like colonialism, anti-Blackness, and hegemonic masculinity. He does this within his trance-rhizomatic theory, defined as a hybrid container for research that centers Afro-Caribbean thought in conversation with Western knowledge systems. This concept allows him to move within, between, and against the anti-Black design of space’s political, social, and economic organization, as well as perceptions of Blackness that emerged during violent colonial ruptures. By offering trance-ness as a critical Black modification of the rhizome, McDonald argues for research processes that turn to embodied knowledge, pulling the researcher and the researched into a spiritual-like state to enact Afro-diasporic calls and responses.

He joins the ranks of many radical post-colonial thinkers who call attention to humanism in its secular state to construct projects that seek to enact epistemological ruptures, especially in spaces where the culture of White supremacy predominates. Webster has taught courses in Acting, Movement, Approaches to World Dance, Post-Colonial Theory, and Drama at The University of Kansas. For three consecutive summers, he has offered Special Topics in Dance, Performance Studies, and Contemporary Arts as a visiting professor at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada (2021-2023).