Jon McKenzie

Professor of English / Director, DesignLab
6143 Helen C. White Hall
E-mail Jon McKenzie
Performance, new media, critical theory, experimental pedagogy


Degrees and Institions

PhD, Performance Studies, New York University, 1996
MA, English, University of Florida, 1987
BFA, Fine Arts, University of Florida. 1984



I am the author of Perform or Else: From Discipline to Performance (Routledge, 2001), which has recently been translated and published in Croatia as Izvedi ili Snosi Posljedice: Od Discipline do Izvedbe. My present book project focuses on different modes of performative power operative in the contemporary world.


I am currently co-editing two projects. The collection Contesting Performance: Global Genealogies of Research is forthcoming from Palgrave Macmillan and co-edited with Heike Roms and Wan-ling Wee. Also forthcoming is a special issue of Frakcija, a Croatian performance journal, which explores visibility, civil liberties, and global security. It is co-edited with artist Lane Hall.


My essays explore a wide range of topics, including performance and globalization, new media and teaching, and emerging forms of electronic civil disobedience, and I am fortunate to have been translated into several languages. My recent texts include “Abu Ghraib and the Society of the Spectacle of the Scaffold,” on the meditated theatricality of psychological torture; “StudioLab UMBRELLA,” which traces the development of the pedagogy I call “StudioLab;” “Global Feeling: (Almost) All You Need is Love,” on the ability of performance and media to help “design experience” on a global scale; and on the application of performance measures in higher education.


I teach courses on performance, new media, cultural theory, and civil disobedience. I have also created StudioLab, an emergent pedagogy that combines critical analysis and creative work in design and new media.

Recent Books

  • Contesting Performance: Global Sites of Research

    Jon McKenzie, Heike Roms & C.J.W.-L. Lee, Eds.

    Palgrave Macmillan


    Contesting Performance is a landmark collection of essays by international scholars that addresses the global development of performance research in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.
  • Perform or Else: From Discipline to Performance

    Jon McKenzie



    In Perform or Else Jon McKenzie asserts that there is a relationship between cultural, organisational, and technological performance. In this theoretical tour de force McKenzie demonstrates that all three paradigms operate together to create powerful and contradictory pressures to 'perform…or else.'