Skip to main content

Laura Coby (she/her)

Profile picture for Laura Coby (she/her)

Contact Information

ENGL 248

Office Hours

by appointment


Laura M. Coby is PhD candidate in Literary Studies with a minor in Queer Studies. Her research focuses on modern to contemporary performance with a concentration in performance studies and queer theory. Her dissertation, “Spectral Futurity: The Performative Afterlives of Mourning,” explores how aesthetic mourning practices pave avenues for the dead to inhabit the present, refusing death’s finitude through aesthetic relational exchange. 

In Spring 2023, Laura was the Sue Divan Graduate Student Fellow in Performance Studies and directed a staged reading of Fefu & Her Friends by playwright María Irene Fornés, produced by Dr. Sandra Ruiz through La Estación Gallery and Minor Aesthetics Lab. During her time at UIUC, Laura has worked with La Estación Gallery to perform as a contributing poet, collaborative curator, multi-sensorial installation artist, workshop leader, intern, virtual stage manager, and social media designer. She also did dramaturgy for María Irene Fornés's The Successful Life of 3. Additionally, Laura has served as an Assistant Director of Rhetoric in the Department of English, the Round-the-Press Intern at the University of Illinois Press, and as a research assistant for Prof. Sandra Ruiz and Prof. Andy Gaedtke.

Research Interests

  • Performance Studies
  • Queer of Color Critique
  • Feminist Theory
  • Minoritarian Aesthetics
  • Theatre Studies
  • Theories of Mourning and Melancholia
  • Film Studies
  • Modern to Contemporary Experimental Literature


  • MA in English Literature, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2018
  • BA in English, University of Alabama, 2015


Courses Taught

  • RHET 105: Research and Writing
  • ENGL 104: Intro to Film
  • ENGL: 109: Intro to Fiction

Additional Campus Affiliations

  • La Estación Gallery
  • Minor Aesthetics Lab
  • Brown Theatre Collective
  • Graduate Employees' Organization
  • EGSA

Recent Publications

  • “Reorienting Intimacies: Felix Gonzalez-Torres’s First Canadian Solo Exhibition: An Interview with Rui Mateus Amaral,” Performance Matters, 9.1–2 (2023): 385–405. 
  • “Muppets Take Windows 95: The Queer Failure of Muppets Inside: CD-Rom,” The Journal of American Culture, 46.3 (2023): 224-231.