Lau Ortiz Mercado
Early Modern literature; Shakespearean drama; theatre performance and staging; witchcraft and supernatural elements in theatre; genre theory; gender and queer studies; fan theory; Shakespeare in popular culture.
Lau is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow with Shakespeare at Notre Dame. In July 2021 they successfully defended their dissertation titled “Double Trouble: Queering and Disrupting Genre Conventions Through Witches in Early Modern Drama,” thus completing their doctoral studies at the University of Notre Dame. During their years as a doctoral student and a Kinesis-Fernández Richards Fellow at the University of Notre Dame, they specialized in Early Modern literature and completed graduate minors in both Gender Studies and Screen Culture Studies. Their main research focuses on questions about the role of the supernatural and the representation of female figures in Renaissance drama. Their work tracks the socio-cultural and historical changes across political, gendered and racial lines to better our understanding of the witchcraft phenomenon in Early Modern culture and theatre. Their dissertation, directed by Dr. Jesse Lander, used genre, performance, and queer theory to investigate how the spectacle and repeated performance of witches in the stage affect the audience’s perception of both witchcraft and generic conventions. They also work on popular culture studies and fan theory, looking at the relationship between academic fans (“acafans”) and mainstream fandoms. In this field, they are particularly interested in how Shakespeare in modern adaptations fits within the hierarchy of knowledge of fan communities. Furthermore, as a passionate activist and social rights advocate, they participate in several organizations that seek to bring visibility to the challenges faced by members from marginalized and underrepresented sectors, including latinx and BIPOC students, and members of the LGBTTQIA+ community.
Recent Scholar Activity:
“Double Trouble: Queering and Disrupting Genre Conventions Through Witches in Early Modern Drama.” Doctoral dissertation directed by Dr. Jesse Lander. Defended on August 2, 2021.
“Witchcraft, Children, and Queer Chaos in Justin Kurzel’s Macbeth.” Shakespeare Association of America 2020. Online due to Covid-19. April, 2020.
Panel Chair and Organizer: “Phenomenologies of Intimacy: Gender, Sexuality, and Disciplines.” Employing Interdisciplinarity: Early Modern Legacies, Future Challenges. South Bend, IN. September, 2019.
“Toying with the Canon: Shakespeare Fan Communities and Fanwork as Playful Scholarship.” PCA/ACA 2019 National Conference. Washington, D.C. April, 2019.
“Playing in networks: intellectual engagement through Shakespeare fanfiction.” BritGrad 20th Annual Shakespeare Conference. Stratford-Upon-Avon, England. June, 2018.
“‘Militant fans’: a case study of ABC’s Once Upon a Time and the threat of fan participation.” PCA/ACA 2018 National Conference. Indianapolis, IN. March 2018.
“Eve in Paradise Lost: The Influence of the Hebrew Myth of Creation on Milton’s Characterization of the First Woman.” Notre Dame’s EGSA Graduate Research Symposium. South Bend, IN. March 2017.
“Political and ideological readings of guilt in the “wicked queens” of the Arthurian Cycle.” M.A. thesis defense at the University of Granada. September, 2016.
“The Birth of Merlin: a prequel to the cycle of the Arthurian legend.” University of Puerto Rico’s Program of Honors’ Studies. San Juan, PR. December, 2014.
“Spectacle and Skepticism: Witch-plays in the Early Modern Stage.” Leadership Alliance’s National Symposium. Stamford, CT. July 2014.
“Witchcraft and Gender in William Shakespeare’s Tragedies and Histories.” Leadership Alliance’s National Symposium. Stamford, CT. July, 2013.
Professional and Institutional Service:
- Postdoctoral Fellow with Shakespeare at Notre Dame. 2021-present
- Mentor for the Leadership Advancing Socially Engaged Research program. 2020-2021.
- Recruitment Representative for Notre Dame’s Office of Graduate School. 2019-2021.
- Teaching Assistant for Introduction to Gender Studies. University of Notre Dame. South Bend, IN. 2019-2020.
- Guest Instructor for Stories and How they Work: Narrative in Fiction and Film at the University of Notre Dame. South Bend, IN. 2019.
- Instructor for Writing and Rhetoric at the University of Notre Dame. South Bend, IN. 2018-2019.
- Guest Lecturer for Adapting Shakespeare at the University of Notre Dame. South Bend, IN. 2018.
- Teaching Assistant for Basics of Film & TV at the University of Notre Dame. South Bend, IN. 2018.
- Teaching Assistant for Great Irish Writers I at the University of Notre Dame. South Bend, IN. 2017.
Academic Organizations and Activities:
- President of the English Graduate Student Association. 2019-2020.
- Founder and organizer of ND Connect. 2019-2020.
- President of the Latinx Graduate Association at Notre Dame. 2018-2019.
- Vice-President of the English Graduate Student Association. 2018-2019.
- Organizer of the Graduate LGBTQ+ and Allies Student Society. 2017-2018.
- Vice-President of the Latinx Graduate Association at Notre Dame. 2017-2018.