Marguerite Rippy

Marguerite Rippy

Marguerite Rippy

Associate Dean for Graduate Affairs

Associate Professor

Classic cinema, Orson Welles and the origins of "truthiness" in performance, transindigenous adaptations of Shakespeare, and performing gendered and racialized sexualities from Shakespeare to Hollywood.

Marguerite has served as the Associate Dean of Graduate Academic Affairs in CHSS since 2020. She focuses on supporting a diverse portfolio of graduate programs in humanities and social sciences, raising the profile of graduate student and faculty research, and making connections between CHSS and regional and national groups committed to graduate study. Her priorities are to increase student success, foster inclusive excellence, diversify opportunities for graduate student teaching and research, and enhance mentorship across programs by strengthening ties among students and alumni. 

Over the course of her career she has worked with a range of organizations in the D.C. metropolitan area to encourage higher education partnerships with the community and public schools, to facilitate life-long learning and experiential education, and to enhance institutional commitments to equity and inclusion. She is committed to building pathways that prepare students to move from high school through community college and bachelor's degrees, and on to successful graduate study. Prior to coming to George Mason, she served as Director of the Master's program in English & humanities at Marymount University, where she was also chair of Literature and Languages, and chair of the university’s SACSCOC reaccreditation committee.

Her book Orson Welles and the Unfinished RKO Projects: A Postmodern Perspective (Southern Illinois UP, 2009) analyzes Welles' unfinished early films in the context of his concurrent performances on stage and radio, examining in particular his strategic use of Shakespeare, his explorations of American cultural identities, and his indebtedness to transcultural collaborations. 

Current Research

In Progress:

Orson Welles, Macbeth, and Africa: Collaborative Genius in the Age of Segregation, a study of the national road tour of the 1936 black-cast Federal Theater Project Macbeth.


Selected Publications

Orson Welles and the Unfinished RKO Projects: A Postmodern Perspective. Southern Illinois UP, 2009.

“Orson Welles” in Great Shakespeareans: (Volume XV) Welles, Kurosawa, Kozintsev, Zeffirelli. Mark Thornton Burnett, Marguerite Rippy, and Ramona Wray. Bloomsbury 2013. 7-53

“The Death of the Auteur: Orson Welles, Asadata Dafora, and the 1936 Macbeth.” Orson Welles in Focus: Texts and Contexts. Indiana UP, 2018.

“More Moor, Less Venice: Africa Talks Back to Othello in Not Now, Sweet Desdemona and IagoShakespeare en devenir 12 (2017). Online.

“Welles ‘Voodoo’ Macbeth: Neither Vodou nor Welles?” Shakespeare Bulletin 32 (Winter 2014): 687-92.

Expanded Publication List

“Black Cast Conjures White Genius: Unraveling the Mystique of Orson Welles’s ‘Voodoo’ MacbethWeyward Macbeth: Non-Traditional Casting and the African-American Experience. Eds. Scott Newstok and Ayanna Thompson. Palgrave, 2010.

“A Novel Approach to Ethical Reasoning.” Co-authored with Janine Dewitt. Teaching the Novel Across the Curriculum: A Handbook for Educators.  Ed. Colin Irvine. Greenwood P. 2007.

“Orson Welles and Charles Dickens: 1938-1941.” Dickens on Screen. Ed. John Glavin. Cambridge UP. 2003. 145-54.

“All Our Othellos: Black Monsters and White Masks on the American Screen.” Spectacular Shakespeare: Critical Theory and Popular Cinema. Eds. Lisa Starks & Courtney Lehmann. Associated UP, 2002. 25-46.

“Commodity, Tragedy, Desire: Female Sexuality and Blackness in the Iconography of Dorothy Dandridge.” Classic Hollywood, Classic Whiteness.  Ed. Daniel Bernardi.  U of Minnesota P.  2001. 178-209.

“Exhuming Dorothy Dandridge: The Black Sex Goddess and Classic Hollywood Cinema,”  CineAction 44 (Fall 1997): 20-31.

“Shrews and Saints: Binary Polarity of Female Representation in Shakespeare,” Works and Days: Essays in the Socio-Historical Dimensions of Literature and the Arts 11 (Fall 1993): 101-24.

Grants and Fellowships

National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend, 2019, book project: Orson Welles, Macbeth, and Africa: Collaborative Genius in the Age of Segregation.

Text and Academic Authors Association Publication Grant, 2008.

Mednick Grant, Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges, 2007.

National Endowment for the Humanities, “We the People” American History Summer Stipend, 2004.

Everett Helm Visiting Fellowship for Travel & Research, Lilly Library, 2001, 2006.

Marshall Fishwick Travel Grant, Popular Culture Association, 2004.

Courses Taught

ENGH 305 Dimensions of Writing and Literature


Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
Ph.D. in English and American Literature, 1999
Minor: Performance Studies
Dissertation: “Visual Differences: Images of Miscegenation in Twentieth-Century Performance”

Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
M.A. in English and American Literature, 1990

Brown University, Providence, RI
B.A. with honors in English and American Literature, 1989

Recent Presentations

Orson Welles’ Other Side of the Wind and Shakespeare, Shakespeare Association of America, 2019.

Othello’s Revenge: Africa Strikes Back in C. Bernard Jackson’s Iago (1979), Comparative Drama Conference, 2018.

Woodstock Welles Creative Arts Festival keynote speaker, 2016 (by invitation).

Contested American Identities: The 1936 “Voodoo” Macbeth and the Texas Centennial,  American Studies Association Annual Meeting, 2016.

Transnational Europe in Performance: A Convergence of Continents in the 1936 ‘Voodoo’ Macbeth, MLA International Symposium, Dusseldorf, GER, 2016.


In the Media

“The Fake News of Orson Welles: War of the Worlds at 80.” Interview by Peter Tonguette. Humanities (Fall 2018) 39.4.

“Monster’s Ball: Should We Stop Inviting Hollywood’s Worst to the Party?” Interview by E.A. Aymar. Washington Independent Review of Books 28 Dec 2018.

“Film? Study.” Interview by E.A. Aymar. Washington Independent Review of Books. 14 Sep 2017.

“An Interview with Marguerite Rippy.” Interview by Jake Hinson. Wellesnet: The Orson Welles Web Resource. 18 Oct 2009.

A Fast-Food Shakespeare Review of Scotland, PA. The Chronicle of Higher Education, 2002