Kristen Rudisill

Department of Popular Culture

245 Shatzel Hall | 419-372-2444 |

Dr. Kristen Rudisill is a Professor of Popular Culture and current Director of the Asian Studies Program at BGSU. She has a background in religious studies and earned her PhD in Asian Studies from the University of Texas in Austin. Her research focuses on Tamil theater, dance, and literature in India, Sri Lanka, and the Tamil diaspora. She has had two Fulbright Fellowships in India and sees Chennai as a second home. Her book Honeymoon Couples and Jurassic Babies: Identity and Play in Chennai’s Post-Independence Sabha Theater was published with SUNY Press in 2022. She has published in a number of edited volumes and journals such as the Journal of Popular Culture, the Indian Theatre Journal (for which she serves on the editorial board), the Asian Theatre Journal, South Asian Popular Culture Journal, Inter-Asia Cultural Studies Journal, Ecumenica, and Studies in Musical Theatre.

  • Popular culture in South Asia
  • Performing arts in South Asia
  • Tamil language and literature
  • Television and film in India
  • Globalization, transnationalism, and diasport communities
  • Hinduism and the Religions of South Asia
  • Government and Politics in South Asia
  • PhD- University of Texas, Austin
  • MA- University of Chicago, Divinity School
  • BA- Bryn Mawr College
  • Bowling Green State University- MBA, Accounting Specialization


  • POPC 3100- Global Popular Culture
  • POPC 4600- Bollywood Film
  • POPC 4600- Religion and Popular Culture
  • ASIA 4800-Asian Studies Senior Capstone


  • POPC 6610: International Popular Culture
  • POPC 6800: Romance Novels
  • POPC 6800: Popular Dance and Identity

My new book project is tentatively titled The Rise of Gaana: Dance Competitions, Cinema, and Global Tamil Identity. I consider the way Tamil identity has been constructed using popular Indian film dance. I used a Fulbright research fellowship to work with Tamil-language reality television dance competitions in India, then studied Tamil dance competitions in London and Toronto. In 2023, I will go to Sri Lanka on an AISLS fellowship to bring this research full circle.

I plan to publish more translations of Cho Ramasamy’s plays and two chapters in edited volumes. “Who Wants to be the Next Prabhudeva? Viewing Tamil Identity through a Reality Television Dance Competition” for Performance Studies from the Global South, edited by Arnab Banerjee and Sharvari Shastry and “Performing Terrorism: India’s Indirect 9/11 Casualties in Bombay Chanakya’s Tamil Play, Truths that Change Colour.” In Global Perspectives on 9/11 and Terrorism Discourses, edited by Khani Begum.



  • Honeymoon Couples and Jurassic Babies: Identity and Play in Chennai’s Post-Independence Sabha Theater. Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 2022.


  • “The Business of Kollywood Dance in Chennai, India.” In Creative Economies of Culture in South Asia: Performers and Craftspeople. Edited by Anna Morcom and Neelam Raina. Routledge, Forthcoming, 2022.
  •  “Japanese Dancers, Bollywood Dance: Finding Authenticity at Tokyo’s Namaste India Festival” for special issue of the Inter-Asia Cultural Studies Journal called “Inter-Asia in Motion: Dance as Method” edited by Emily Wilcox and Soo Ryon Yoon. Volume 23, Issue 4, Forthcoming December 2022.
  • “Cho Ramasamy’s Cattiram Connatillai (The Shastras Don’t Say So).” Part I with Introduction. Ecumenica: Journal of Religion and Performance. Volume 15, No. 1, Spring 2022: 1-35; Part II with Introduction. Ecumenica: Journal of Religion and Performance. Volume 15, No. 2, 2022: 113-144.
  • “Subversion and Reinforcement of Gender Norms in the Tamil Reality Dance Competition Show Maanada Mayilada” in Indian Theatre Journal, Volume 6, Number 1, special issue “Reality Television in South Asia: Performance, Negotiation, Imagination.” Edited by Kristen Rudisill and Amanda Weidman. August, 2022: 59-75.
  • “Expanding Diasporic Identity through the Transnational Labor of Bollywood Dance in London.” In Pop Empires: Transnational and Diasporic Flows of India and Korea. Robert Ji-Song Ku, Monika Mehta, and Sharon Heijin Lee, editors. Honolulu, Hawaii: University of Hawaii Press, 2019, pp. 177-194.
  •  “Full-blooded Desi Romance: Contemporary English-Language Romance Novels in India.” Journal of Popular Culture. (Volume 51, Issue 3, June 2018): 754-775.
  •  “Evolution of the Mahalakshmi Ladies Drama Group 1989-2015.” In Samyukta: A Journal of Women’s Studies, special issue on Women in Indian Theatre (Volume XVI, Number 2, July 2016): 134-156.
  •  “Pritham Chakravarthy: Performing Aravani Life Stories.” In Asian Theatre Journal special issue on Women in Asian Theatre (Volume 32, Number 2, Fall 2015): 535-554.
  • “My School Rocks! Dancing Disney’s High School Musical in India.” Studies in Musical Theatre (Volume 3.3, December 2009): 253-272.
  • American Institute of Sri Lankan Studies Fellowship
  • New Books Roundtable participant at the South Asia Conference in Madison, WI
  • Co-Edited special issue of the Indian Theatre Journal titled “Reality Television in South Asia: Performance, Negotiation, Imagination”
  • Served as VP of Conference Planning for the Association for Asian Performance

Updated: 08/09/2023 09:48AM