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Dr. John Gentile

Dr. John Gentile To Receive NCA’s Heston Award

By Keaton Lamle

Dr. John Gentile, Professor of Performance Studies in Kennesaw State’s Department of Theatre and Performance Studies, will receive the National Communication Association’s Lilla A. Heston Award for Outstanding Scholarship in Interpretation and Performance Studies. NCA will present Gentile with the award during its 103rd annual convention in Dallas, Texas this November.

The Heston award, which recognizes excellence in published research and creative scholarship, comes on the basis of Gentile’s essay, “Shape-Shifter in the Green: Performing Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” (published in Storytelling, Self, Society: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Storytelling Studies). “Shape-Shifter in the Green…” builds on Gentile’s three decades of scholarship in arguing an inextricable link between the seemingly disparate tasks of performance and scholarship. To hear Gentile explain it, his goal is to illuminate the work of what he calls, the ‘scholar-artist,’ thereby, “show[ing] the work in scholarship that inevitably takes place behind the scenes in preparing a performance of a canonical text like Sir Gawain.”

Gentile has always been attracted to what he refers to as, “masterworks,” those canonical texts that are ultimately handed down and rediscovered across the distance of centuries. As a result, much of his work as a scholar and artist has centered on the concept of adapting and staging canonical works like Sir Gawain, Moby-Dick, and The Scarlet Letter for contemporary audiences. “I often wonder about the future of great works,” Gentile explains. “If they are not embedded in our education experience, when will people come upon them? And so I almost have a quest to ‘salvage’ works from a sense of loss, whereby a work of true power and significance is reduced— to contemporary students— to only a title they may have heard of.” According to Gentile, it is this task of cultural curation that ultimately necessitates a link between scholarship and performance. “Assuming the artist creating the adaptation of a major literary text for the stage has done his or her work in analysis and in research,” the professor explains, “and brings to it an effective vision, and makes it vital in the theatrical experience, then that performance can lead audiences back to the original text itself -- as readers, and that to me is the real benefit of doing the work I do.”

Given Gentile’s track record of both penning and staging engaging performances of famous texts, and his impeccable ability to articulate the theory behind this process in his work, it’s no surprise that Emerson College’s John Dennis Anderson called him, “the preeminent exemplar… of the scholar artist [in the field of performance studies]” in a nomination letter for the 2017 Lilla A. Heston Award for Outstanding Scholarship in Interpretation and Performance Studies.

Gentile’s celebrated scholarship and artistry will be on display on November 11, at the Jung Society of Atlanta’s, “The Green Knight and Other Stories of Magic and Transformation: A Storytelling Program with Music

Archived News

Call for Submissions for Special Edition of KSU Undergraduate Research Journal

The COTA Special Edition of the Kennesaw Journal of Undergraduate Research (KJUR) welcomes articles and reviews that meet the criteria for undergraduate research. 

The definition of undergraduate research is: “An inquiry or investigation conducted by an undergraduate student that makes an original intellectual or creative contribution to the discipline (”

Undergraduate arts research and scholarship includes: traditional papers (manuscripts) in each COTA discipline; musical scores; video art and video documentaries/narratives/histories/choreography; graphic novels; audio files; digital photo files.  Non-manuscript submissions must be coupled with a theoretical contextualization of the project and an artistic statement.

Manuscripts authored by a single student or by a team of students will be considered.

Please be sure to include your faculty advisor, necessary for the application process.

Please consult the Policies of the KJUR at: regarding submission rules, rights of authors, and attribution and usage policies.

When preparing your manuscript for submission, be sure to consult the KJUR Formatting Requirements at as well as the “Cover Letter Guidelines and Manuscript Guidelines” at:

In addition to your adherence to your department/school submission guidelines, please follow the following COTA Special Edition Manuscript Guidelines:

* Research manuscripts should fall within the 3,000 – 8, 000 word range.

* Reviews of performances or exhibitions should be up to 1,500 words.

*With regard to formatting and citation style, the writer should defer to the recommended style for their particular area of research. Chicago (Turabian), MLA, and APA styles are supported by KJUR. Authors should consult with a faculty mentor in their area to determine the recommended style for their manuscript.

* Submit manuscripts via the Submit Article tab at

* DEADLINE EXTENDED! The new deadline for paper submission is May 30, 2017, by 5pm.