Riley, Shannon Rose

Shannon Rose Riley

Professor and Chair, Humanities Department
Coordinator, Creative Arts Program
Associate Vice Chair, Academic Senate (2017-18; 2018-19)





Preferred: (408) 924-1365

Alternate: (408) 924-4481 (Creative Arts general number)

Office Hours

The Dept of Humanities Office is open M-F, 9:00-5:00; my advising hours are Tuesday afternoons and by appointment


  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Performance Studies with a Designated Emphasis in Critical Theory, University of California, Davis, 2006
  • Master of Fine Arts (MFA), Studio Art and Critical Theory, School of The Museum of Fine Arts & Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts, 1998
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA), Sculpture, with a minor in Art History, Maine College of Art, Portland, Maine, 1995


Shannon Rose Riley is an interdisciplinary artist and scholar. She is Professor and Chair of the Humanities Department and Coordinator of the Creative Arts Program at San José State University, where she teaches courses in Humanities, Creative Arts, and American Studies and serves as a member of the Academic Senate. She occasionally advises on dissertations and individual study projects at the Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts. Professor Riley has a PhD in Performance Studies and Critical Theory from the University of California, Davis (2006), an MFA in Studio Art (Performance, Video, Installation) from Tufts University and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (1998), a BFA in Sculpture and Art History from Maine College of Art (1995), and broad undergraduate training in the arts and humanities at the University of Notre Dame, University of Colorado, Boulder, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Before coming to SJSU in 2008, Dr. Riley was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Women's InterCultural Leadership at Saint Mary's College, Notre Dame, where she had joint appointment to the Department of Communication and Performance Studies and the Intercultural Studies Program. From 1998 to 2002, she was the Dean of Students at Maine College of Art in Portland.

Dr. Riley is the author of Performing Race and Erasure: Cuba, Haiti, & US Culture, 1898-1940 (Palgrave 2016), which examines the ways that Cuba and Haiti—both as signs and as sites—were crucial to the imaginative rethinking of race in the US at the turn of the 20th century. Her essays appear in Theatre Topics, English Language Notes, Performing Arts Resources, and Baylor Journal of Theatre and Performance as well as in the edited collections Practice as Research in the Arts: Principles, Protocols, Pedagogies, Resistances (Palgrave, 2013), Kathy Acker and Transnationalism (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009), and Mapping Landscapes for Performance as Research: Scholarly Acts and Creative Cartographies (Palgrave, 2009), which she co-edited with Lynette Hunter. Her book reviews appear in The Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era (2013) and TDR: The Drama Review (2015).

She is currently working on a book and multimedia project titled, Crossing the Windward Passage: Race, Geography, Performance, and Resistance. In June 2014, she completed a durational performance in Cuba, Haiti, and the Windward Passage, as part of the performance-as-research methodology for the project. She has presented papers on this work at the 2008 UC Berkeley conference on African and Afro-Caribbean Performance, the 2008 ASTR conference, the Black Geographies Panel at the 2010 Association of American Geographers (AAG) conference, the 2010 American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA) conference, the 32nd Festival del Caribe in Santiago de Cuba (July 2012), as part of the roundtable, "Imaginative Ethnography" at the 2014 American Anthropological Association conference, as part of the roundtable and installation, “Sensing the Moment: Imaginative Intersections of Art and Ethnography, Parts I and II” in collaboration with co-members of the Center for Imaginative Ethnography at the Society for Applied Anthropology (SFAA) conference in Vancouver, BC (2016), and most recently as part of a panel on Guantánamo, Cuba at the XXXV Latin American Studies Assocation (LASA) International Congress in Lima Peru (2017).

Professor Riley’s visual and performance works have been exhibited/staged internationally at numerous venues, including the ICA (Portland ME), Mobius (Boston), Randolph Street Gallery and Artemisia Gallery (Chicago), the Cushwa-Leighton Library (Notre Dame IN), Performance Studies International (PSi) in Mainz Germany (2001) and Stanford (2013), the Festival Nacional de Pequeño Formato (Santa Clara Cuba, 2006) and Month of Performance Art-Berlin (2013). She also continues to perform and record with the Chicago-based gospel/noise/performance group, ONO. Recent ONO works include an original soundtrack for a film collaboration with Jesse Malmed, Whirred, Whirled (2015) commissioned by the Chicago Film Archives for the CFA Media Mixer 2015; a multimedia event for E.S.P. TV #76, Live from Chicago, Pt. 1, (begins at 17’13”) E.S.P. TV, Season 5, 2015; original soundtrack material for the 2010 film Alice in Wonderland by James Fotopoulos; and the albums, Albino (Moniker Records, 2012), Diegesis (Moniker Records, 2014), and Spooks (Moniker Records, 2015). Diegesis was ranked #9 of the top ten albums of 2014 by Tiny Grooves "Best of the best of XX14!!" and was listed in the "Best of 2014" by Decoder Magazine; Dan Deacon lists Spooks as one of his top 10 album picks for 2015. In October 2017, ONO returned to the studio to work on its next album, Red Summer; in November, Riley and ONO-mates, travis and P.Michael Grego, presentes a co-authored paper as part of the "Listening to the Sonic Subaltern" working session at the 2017 American Society of Theatre Research (ASTR) conference in Atlanta.