Lucy Mae San Pablo Burns

Associate Professor

3336 Rolfe Hall
Box 957225
Los Angeles, CA 90095


Class Websites


Ph.D., University of Massachusetts at Amherst, 2004
B.A., California State University at Sonoma., 1993
A.A., Porterville College, 1991

Areas of Interest

Burns's research interests include theater and performance, Filipino Studies, cultures of/against empire
Brief Bio: Lucy Burns is an Associate Professor at UCLA's Asian American Studies Department. She is the author of Puro Arte: On the Filipino Performing Body, is published by NYU Press. Current inquiries include representations of the future in performance through the figure of the robot, and “commonwealth” as an American identity.

Burns is also a dramaturg, whose recent collaborations include David Rousseve's Stardust, and R. Zamora Linmark's But, Beautiful, and TeAda Productions’ Global Taxi Drivers' Project. She has participated in several projects focusing on Asian American theater and performance, including attending the 2007 World Social Forum as a member of a U.S. artist delegation and as a reviewer for the National Asian American Theater Festival (2009, 2011).


Lucy Burns is an Associate Professor at UCLA's Asian American Studies Department. She is the author of Puro Arte: On the Filipino Performing Body, is published by NYU Press. She is working on her second monograph, Impersonating Humans, Personating Robots, a book concerned with the drama that the figure of the robot raises, beyond the simple naturalization of robots as vibrant matters with whom humans have social relations. Impersonating Humans, Personating Robots turns to performative explorations of human-robot relationality and corporeality to query what horizons of race are imagined at the intersection of robots and humans. 

Other writings include Fictions of Dictatorship, a project exploring fiction as a method to attenuate the persistence of state violences, foregrounding the tense and tender relations between power and justice. In so doing, fiction work set at times of dictatorship imaginatively transforms events to myths, one’s memories turn out to be someone else's, as fiction becomes a counter to state-sponsored lies. Burns is also at work on an edited collection of plays (with essays), Crossovers: Globality and Performance at This Time.



  • Puro Arte: Filipinos on the Stages of Empire (NYU Press, 2012),


  • “Eartha Kitt’s Waray Waray: The Filipina in Black Feminist Performance.” In Filipino Studies: Palimpsests of Nation and Diaspora. NYU Press.

  • “Imagining a ‘New WORLD’: Asian American Women Playwrights Archives in Western Massachusetts.” New WORLD Theater. Edited by Chinua Thelwell. University of Massachusetts Press.

  • “The Art of the Asian American Movement’s Social Protest Performance.” Cambridge History of Asian American Literature. Eds. Min Song and Rajini Srikanth. 

  • “there was a boy: David Rousseve’s Stardust.” “Queer and Now Special Issue.” The Writing Instructor. Eds. Aneil Rallin, et al. 

  • "Your Terno's Draggin': Costuming Filipino American Performance (Women & Performance Journal 21.2)
  • “New WORLD” Archives in Western Massachusetts: Asian American Women Playwrights.” Asian Americans in New England. Edited by Monica Chiu. UPNE Press. 150-166
  • “Woman and the Changing World on Alternative Global Stage: Sixth Women Playwright International Conference.” Asian Theater Journal32.2. Fall 2005. 324-333.
  • "Cosmopolitanism.” Entry. Keywords for Asian American Studies (NYU Press; eds Cathy Schlund-Vials, K. Scott Wong, and Linda Vo). Under Contract.
  • "Theater." Entry. Encyclopedia of Undocumented Immigrants (ABC-CLIO; edited by Anna O'Choa Oleary). Under contract.


  • California Dreaming: Movement & Place in the Asian American Imaginary. With Dr. Christine Bacareza Balance. under contract with the University of Hawai'i Press.


  • Halfway to Dawn: A Strayhorn Project. A multi-media piece on musician Billy Strayhorn. Created,  Choreographed, and Written by David Rousseve.  Premiering at the Redcat in Los Angeles, CA. October 2018.
  • But, Beautiful by R. Zamora Linmark.
  • Stardust. Created, Choreographed, and Written by David Rousseve. Premiered at the University of Maryland’s the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center. Presented at Los Angeles Redcat (2013), University of Washington Meany Hall for Performing Arts (2014).

  • Humanities Consultant. Global Taxi Drivers by TeAda Productions.

  • How to Make it to the Dance Floor: A Salsa Guide for Women (Based on Actual Experiences by Cyndi Garcia.


  • Woodrow Wilson/Andrew Mellon National Foundation Career Enhancement Fellowship (2008-2009)
  • The UC President's Postdoctoral Fellowship (2003-2005)