Christopher Ernst earned his PhD in history from the University of Toronto. He is currently a Visiting Research Associate at the Institute for Historical Studies at the University of Texas, Austin. His dissertation is entitled, “The Transgressive Stage: The Culture of Public Entertainment in Late Victorian Toronto.” In it, he demonstrates that public entertainment was one of the most important sites for the negotiation of identities in the late Victorian city, spilling over the threshold of the playhouse and circus tent to influence the wider world. His work examines the moral panic surrounding indecent theatrical advertisements; the use by political playwrights of tropes from public entertainment as a vehicle for political satire; the role of the stage in providing an outlet for Toronto’s racial curiosity; the centrality of commercial amusements in defining the boundaries of gender; and, finally, the importance of the theatre in attempts to control the city’s working class.
University of Toronto