Matthew J Roberts, Assistant Professor and Literatures and Languages Librarian

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Personal profile

Personal profile

Matthew Roberts is Assistant Professor and Literatures and Languages Librarian and has faculty appointments in the University Library and the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory. Prior to his appointment at UIUC, he held a professional position at the University of California, Irvine as the Subject Specialist for the Critical Theory Archive and Research Librarian for Comparative Literature, Critical Theory, English, and European Studies. He belongs to a number of professional organizations, including Modern Language Association and the American Comparative Literature Associaton, regularly presenting research at each organization's annual conference.  Along with UIUC colleagues Mara Thacker and Sarah Christensen, he edits the Journal of Library Outreach and Engagement.

Research Interests

Attic Tragedy

Modern Drama 


Performance Studies 



Information Literacy Instruction/Humanities Based Research Methods

My scholarship draws from the insights of psychoanalysis and deconstruction to study twentieth- and twenty-first century dramatic literature and theatrical performance. My work studies trauma's profound effect --personal, historical, and otherwise-- on playwrights who challenged the tenants of pre-existing theatrical genres, most notably classicism, naturalism, and realism, and their respective conventions. By problematizing theater's ability to respond to traumatic experience with such conventions, modern and contemporary drama often facilitate divergent and subjective responses to traumatic experience and their implications. 

My publications appear in numerous academically prestigious journals, including Comparative Drama, Modern Drama and New Theatre Quarterly. I recently edited the special issue of Modern Drama, entitled "New Approaches to Harold Pinter" and am the forthcoming editor of The Harold Pinter Review.


Creative/Performing Interests

Postdramatic Theater

Community Based Theater

Art Therapy

Drone Music

Education/Academic qualification

Comparative Literature, PhD, The Tears of Dionysus: on the Birth of Catastrophic Theater in British Drama, Emory University


Award Date: Jun 13 2013

Philosophy, BA, DePaul University


Award Date: Jun 15 2005


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