Meiling Cheng

Meiling Cheng

Fellow: Awarded 2008
Field of Study: Fine Arts Research

Competition: US & Canada

University of Southern California

Born in Taipei, Meiling Cheng received her B.A. degree from the National Taiwan University in 1983 before coming to the United States, where she earned her M.F.A. (1989) and D.F.A. (1993) in theater arts from Yale University. She joined the faculty of the University of Southern California in 1994 and is currently an Associate Professor of Critical Studies and English there. 

In addition to teaching courses in theater history, dramatic literature, and contemporary kinesthetic theater and live art, Meiling Cheng has curated, directed, or performed in various live-art events, including Sonic Capsules: A Poetry Performance Concert (1998); Urbanecology: Living Patterns in L.A. (2001), for which she received the Arts Initiative Award; and On the Edge: West Coast Performance Art in the Americas (2004).

Even before coming to the United States, Ms. Cheng was an award-winning essayist and a published poet and fiction writer.  After she emigrated to the U.S., she continued to win accolades for her writing. She received two grants from the James H. Zumberge Research and Innovation Fund–the first for her book In Other Los Angeleses: Multicentric Performance Art (Univ. of California Press, 2002); the second, for her forthcoming book Beijing Xingwei: Contemporary Time-Based Art in China, the project for which she received her Guggenheim Fellowship–as well as a number of competitive research grants from USC, including the Southern California Studies Center Junior Faculty Research Award for her monograph "Otherness Naturalized: Mulitcultural Performance Art in Los Angeles." 

Her article "Extreme Performances and Installations from China" was the featured story in the Summer 2006 issue of TheatreForum, and TDR: The Journal of Performance Studies, a publication for which she frequently writes, nominated her article "Les Demoiselles d/L.A.: Sacred Naked Girls’ Untitled Flesh" (summer 1998) for its American Theatre Research Award. Her many other publications include "Indexing Death in Seven Xingwei and Zhuangzhi Pieces" (2006) and "Catalyst, Praxis, Habitat: Performative Objects in Chinese Time-based Art" (2007), both published in Performance Research, and "Animalworks in China," which appeared in the "Animals and Performance" special issue of TDR (2007), edited by Una Chaudhuri.  Among her most recent articles are "De/visualizing Calligraphic Archaeology:  Qiu Zhijie’s ‘Total Art’," TDR: The Journal of Performance Studies, 53:2 (Summer 2009): 17-34, and "Down and Under, Up and Over: Animalworks by Sun Yuan and Peng Yu," Performance Paradigm, #4 (June 2008): 1-42 (online).


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