Harry J. Elam, Jr. is the Olive H. Palmer Professor in the Humanities, and the Freeman-Thornton Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education at Stanford University. He is author of Taking It to the Streets: The Social Protest Theater of Luis Valdez and Amiri Baraka; The Past as Present in the Drama of August Wilson, winner of the Errol Hill Award; and coeditor of African American Performance and Theater History: A Critical Reader; Colored Contradictions: An Anthology of Contemporary African American Drama; The Fire This Time: African American Plays for the New Millenium; and Black Cultural Traffic: Crossroads in Performance and Popular Culture. His articles have appeared in American Drama, Modern Drama, Theatre Journal, Text and Performance Quarterlyas well as journals in Israel, Belgium, Poland and Taiwan and also in several critical anthologies. He was inducted into the College of Fellows of the American Theatre in April 2006. In August 2006 won the Betty Jean Jones Teaching Award from the American Theatre and Drama Society and in November 2006 the Distinguished Scholar Award from the American Society of Theatre Research.
Professor Elam served as editor of Theatre Journaland is currently on the editorial boards of Atlantic Studies, Journal ofAmerican Drama and Theatre, and Modern Drama. He serves of the research and publication board for the American Society of Theatre Research.
In addition to his scholarly work, he has directed professionally for over twenty years: most notably, he directed Tod, the Boy Todby Talvin Wilks for the Oakland Ensemble Company, and for TheatreWorks in Palo Alto California, he directed Jar the Floor by Cheryl West and Blues for an Alabama Skyby Pearl Cleague, which was nominated for nine Bay Area Circle Critics Awards and was the winner of DramaLogue Awards for Best Production, Best Design, Best Ensemble Cast and Best Direction. He has directed several of August Wilson's plays, including Joe Turner'sCome and Gone, Two Trains Running, and Fences, the latter ofwhich won eight Bay Area “Choice” Awards. He directed August Wilson’s Radio Golffor TheatreWorks in October 2008.
At Stanford he has been awarded six different teaching awards including: The ASSU Award for Undergraduate Teaching, Small Classes (1992); the Humanities and Sciences Deans Distinguished Teaching Award (1993); the Black Community Service Center Outstanding Teacher Award (1994)(2004), The Bing Teaching Fellowship for Undergraduate Teaching (1994-1997); The Rhodes Prize for Undergraduate Teaching (1998).
Harry Elam received his AB from Harvard College in 1978 and his Ph.D. in Dramatic Arts from the University of California Berkeley in 1984.