Sean Metzger is a professor in the UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television. He is a scholar works at the intersections of several fields: visual culture (art, fashion, film theater) as well as Asian American, Caribbean, Chinese, film, performance, and sexuality studies. He has written two books. Chinese Looks: Fashion, Performance, Race (Indiana University Press, 2014) shows how aesthetics, gender, politics, economics and race are interwoven and argues that particular forms of dress can help us think anew about gender and modernity. The Chinese Atlantic: Seascapes and the Theatricality of Globalization (Indiana University Press, 2020) complicates discourses of globalization and reimagines geographies through an examination of aesthetic objects and practices situated in cities from Shanghai to Cape Town. He has published over fifty articles and reviews in various print and online venues.
Metzger has worked extensively to increase collaboration among thinkers and artists from different disciplines. He has co-edited six interdisciplinary collections of essays in this vein: Embodying Asian/American Sexualities with Gina Masequesmay (Lexington, 2009); Futures of Chinese Cinema: Technologies and Temporalities in Chinese Screen Cultures with Olivia Khoo (Intellect, 2009); Race, Space, Place: The Making and Unmaking of Freedoms in the Atlantic World with Michaeline Crichlow (Cultural Dynamics, Nov. 2009); Islands, Images, Imaginaries with Francisco J. Hernández Adrián and Michaeline Crichlow (Third Text, 2014); Expressions of Asian Caribbeanness with Andil Gosine and Patricia Mohamed (Asian Diasporic Visual Cultures and the Americas, 2019); and Transient Performance with Kimberly Chantal Welch (Cultural Dynamics, 2021). With John Clum, he edited an anthology of plays called Awkward Stages: Plays about Growing Up Gay (2015). He has been an Associate Editor of Cultural Dynamics for several years and assumed co-editorship of Theatre Journal in 2019.
Metzger also strives to create educational and scholarly networks from the local to the global. He served on the Executive Board of Performance Studies international beginning in 2014, serving as the organization’s president from 2016-2020. In 2014, he taught for the UC Education Abroad Program at Fudan University (China). He travels often, giving guest lectures in the US and abroad. At UCLA, he serves as a Faculty in Residence, where he works to engage students to engage Los Angeles as a global media capital. He continues to consult for major entertainment companies.
Before his arrival at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television in 2012, Metzger was Assistant Professor of English, Theater Studies, and Asian & Middle Eastern Studies at Duke University. He was named the inaugural Fulbright Research Chair in North American Society and Culture at Concordia University (Canada) in 2008 and a Framing the Global Fellow with Indiana University and Indiana University Press (2011-2018). At the beginning of his academic career, he served as adjunct faculty at Antioch University, Loyola Marymount University and the USC School of Dramatic Arts. In addition to his academic work, he spent three years in social services at the Los Angeles LGBT Center and as an independent consultant to school districts and other non-profit institutions.
Metzger holds a PhD in Theater (Twentieth Century Performance and Culture), an MA in Comparative Literature, and a BA Summa Cum Laude in Humanities and Psychology.