Published: 19 February 2020

Asako Okukubo PhD award goes to Julia Peetz


I’m delighted to have received the Asako Okukubo Prize for 2019! I would like to especially thank Professor Amelia Hadfield for reviving the prize and Professor Simon Usherwood, who was an excellent and tremendously encouraging PhD supervisor.


The prize is for my PhD thesis ‘The Currency of Distrust: Performance, Theatricality, and Representative Democracy’, which examined the intersection of politics and performance through a focus on public performances, primarily speeches, by U.S. presidents, asking whether performance and theatricality should be seen as important functional elements, rather than mere embellishments or corrupting distractions, in representative democracy.


Located at both the Department of Politics and the Guildford School of Acting (previously School of Arts), my PhD was an interdisciplinary project that integrated theories and methods from political science and theatre/performance studies. As part of the research, I conducted a series of in-depth interviews with presidential U.S. speechwriters spanning administrations and campaigns from Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama.


I am now a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the University of Warwick. My current research project, ‘Performing Anglo-Americans Relations: Exceptionalism, Myth, Identity’, is motivated by the ambition to develop an international relations perspective for the emerging field of politics and performance research. In addition to this, I am developing my PhD work into a monograph.


Thanks again to the whole Department of Politics for having been such a wonderful to conduct doctoral research and for this unexpected honour.


Dr Julia Peetz

Leverhulme Early Career Fellow in Performance and Politics

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