Professor Magdalena Kazubowski-Houston is an anthropologist, performance theorist and theatre director. Her research interests include experimental, imaginative and performance ethnography; ethnographic storytelling; political/activist performance; political anthropology; environmental anthropology; gender and ethnicity; international relations; violence and terrorism; migration; ageing; socialism/postsocialism; and the Roma people. She is a co-founder of York University’s Centre for Imaginative Ethnography (CIE), a project committed to advancing critical and politically conscious research.
Dr. Kazubowski-Houston’s research has explored performance as an ethnographic research methodology and representation. She worked on performance ethnography projects with Romani minorities in Poland, Nazi-Holocaust survivors in Canada and Poland, and low-income residents in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Her research has also bridged bioethics, policy and gerontology. She collaborated on a study that investigated theatre as a method of public engagement in health policy development regarding the use of reproductive technologies. Her current research examines dramatic storytelling as an affective and reflexive ethnographic research methodology in the study of ageing and migration.
Her book Staging Strife (McGill-Queens University Press 2010) was awarded both the 2011 International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry Outstanding Qualitative Book Award and the Canadian Association for Theatre Research Ann Saddlemyer Book Prize. Staging Strife explores the challenges of collaboration and activism in performance ethnography by analyzing a politically charged theatre production undertaken with a group of Romani women in Poland.
Dr. Kazubowski-Houston’s other publications include journal articles in Social Science & Medicine, Text and Performance Quarterly, Anthropologica, Canadian Theatre Review and West Coast Line. She is currently writing her second monograph on imaginative ethnography, dramatic storytelling and fiction, which is under book contract with McGill-Queens University Press.
Professor Kazubowski-Houston trained as a theatre director with prominent Polish theatre/visual artist Józef Szajna and has worked as a professional theatre director, performer and playwright in Canada and Poland.
In recognition of her contribution to excellence in teaching in the Department of Theatre, she was the 2014 recipient of the Junior Faculty Teaching Award of York’s School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design.