Dr. Paul Gagliardi

Paul Gagliardi
Dr. Paul GagliardiMarquette University

Marquette Hall, 252

MilwaukeeWI53201United States of America
(414) 288-3474

Teaching Associate Professor


My primary fields of research are twentieth-century American cultural studies, drama and performance studies, labor studies, and film studies. And my research focuses on the intersection between economic calamity, theories of work and labor, and the performative art people produce during eras like the Great Depression. In my courses, I emphasize  understanding the historical, social, and cultural context of texts, but also how our contemporary readings problematize literature. I also foster interdisciplinary dialogue between all fields in my courses, and support students with both their academic and professional goals.

My book, All Play and No Work: American Work Ideals and the Comic Plays of the Federal Theatre Project (Temple University Press, 2023), examines how select comedies produced by the federal government during the Great Depression portrayed complicated norms of working and labor. I argue that many plays actually subverted norms of traditional labor or promoted alternate forms of working to audiences during the 1930s. My writing on the Federal Theatre Project and other subjects, such a confidence artists, has appeared in such outlets as Journal of American Drama and Theatre, Middle West Review, and Howlround. I’m currently working on several projects, including the portrayal of confidence schemes in The Righteous Gemstones and the cultural mythology of Slyvester Stallone’s early films.

Courses Taught

  • American Literature
  • Rhetoric/Composition
  • Drama
  • Cultural Studies

Research Interests

  • American literature, theatre, and culture, 1865-1945
  • Economic history
  • Confidence artists
  • Theories of work / Labor, Speculation


  • All Play and No Work: American Work Ideals and the Comedies of the Federal Theatre Project. Temple University Press. November, 2023.

  • Haunted City: Three Centuries of Racial Impersonation in Philadelphia.Rev. of Christian DuComb’s Haunted City: Three Centuries of Racial Impersonation in Philadelphia. Theatre History Studies. 3021, Volume 40. 218-221.

  • "Salesman of the Year: Season One of Fargo and the Legacy of the Confidence Artist in the Midwest.” Middle West Review. Volume 5, Number 2, Spring 2019. 

  • "The Illusion of Work: The Con Artist Plays of the Federal Theatre Project.” Journal of American Drama and Theatre. Volume 30, Number 1 (Fall 2017).
  • "No Security In Acting: A Moral Entertainment and the Conflict Over Theatrical Labor in the Federal Theatre Project.” LATCH: A Journal for the Study of the Literary Artifact in Theory, Culture, or History. Volume 8, Number 1 (2015 to 2016).
  • "The Feast of Crispian: Shakespeare with Veterans.” HowlRound. February 15, 2018.
  • "It Happened Here: Looking Back on Revivals of Sinclair Lewis’s Play During the 2016 Election. HowlRound. February 19, 2017.

Additional Information

Office Hours

Fall 2024

  • TuTh 11:00-12:30

Teaching Schedule

Fall 2024

  • 1001/117 TuTh 12:30-1:45 Gymnasium  A104
    • Foundations in Rhetoric
  • 1001/118 TuTh 2:00-3:15 Gymnasium  A104
    • Foundations in Rhetoric
  • 3000/102 TuTh 3:30-4:45 Gymnasium A104
    • Introduction to Literary Studies
  • 3740/701 W 5:00-7:30 O'Brien Hall 303
    • Film Studies: Cult Cinema

Faculty & Staff Directory


Department of English
Marquette Hall, 115
1217 W. Wisconsin Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53233
(414) 288-7179

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