Debra Sowell

  • Professor of Humanities

Education

  • Ph.D. in Performance Studies, New York University, 1990
  • M.A. in Theatre History, Tufts University, 1980
  • B.A. cum laude in Humanities, emphasis in French Literature, Brigham Young University, 1975

As a professor, my primary goal is to prepare students for a lifetime of enjoying the arts. That enjoyment is enriched by understanding the major artistic movements and styles that have formed Western culture, which is what we study in Humanities 210 and 215.  I love taking students to the National Gallery of Art, where we see examples of the works we have studied. And as a member of the Southern Virginia University community, I appreciate being able to make connections between course material and the restored gospel.


Education


  • Ph.D. in Performance Studies, New York University, 1990
  • M.A. in Theatre History, Tufts University, 1980
  • B.A. cum laude in Humanities, emphasis in French Literature, Brigham Young University, 1975

Courses


  • Core: Arts in Western Civilization I & II
  • Theatre Major: Introduction to Theatre History

Teaching Positions & Professional Experience


  • Joined the Southern Virginia University faculty in 2011
  • Associate Professor of Humanities, Department of Humanities, Classics, and Comparative Literature at Brigham Young University, 2005-2011

Scholarship & Creative Work


  • Authored “The Christensen Brothers: An American Dance Epic,” 1998
  • Co-author on two books of 19th-century dance: “Il Balletto Romantico” (2007) and “Icones du Ballet Romantique,” (2016)
  • Scholarly articles have also appeared in the International Encyclopedia of Dance, Dance Research Journal, and Dance Chronicle
  • Published articles on dance iconography and the Romantic Ballet, including “Romantic Landscapes for Dance: Ballet Narratives and Edmund Burke’s Theory of the Sublime” in Dance Chronicle in 2011
  • Frequent contributor to scholarly conferences including the Society of Dance History Scholars
  • Performed with Brigham Young University Theatre Ballet, (1971-1975), the Cambridge Court Dancers (1977-1979)

Awards, Leadership & Service


  • Secretary of Southern Virginia University Phi Kappa Phi chapter, 2018-present
  • Faculty Advisor to the Marriott Scholar Society, Southern Virginia University, 2016-present
  • Founding president of Southern Virginia University Phi Kappa Phi chapter, 2016-2018
  • Alcuin Fellowship, Brigham Young University Department of Humanities, Classics, and Comparative Literature, 2011
  • Board Member and National Officer, Society of Dance History Scholars,
  • Board Member, Advisory Board of Dance Chronicle, 2010-2019
  • John M. Ward Fellowship in Dance and Music for Theatre, Harvard Theatre Collection, 1992-1993
  • Research Grant, San Francisco Performing Arts Library and Museum, 1987-1990
  • Evans Handcart Award for western biography (1998) and the De la Torre Bueno Prize’s Special Citation (1999) from the Dance Perspectives Foundation for her book, “The Christensen Brothers: An American Dance Epic”
  • Served with her husband, Dr. Madison U. Sowell, when he presided over the Italy, Milan Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1998-2001

Memberships


  • Phi Kappa Phi, initiated 1974
  • Pi Delta Phi, French Honor Society, initiated 1974