Erin Kamler

Erin Kamler

Erin is an American writer, composer, researcher, and international gender advisor who works at the intersection of feminist social justice and the arts. Her new book, “Rewriting the Victim: Dramatization as Research in Thailand’s Anti-Trafficking Movement” is now available from Oxford University Press.

Erin earned her Ph.D. from USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, where her research focused on the trafficking and migration of women in Thailand, and using the arts as a tool for political communication and human rights witnessing. Conversationally fluent in the Thai language, she has conducted fieldwork with anti-trafficking NGOs, members of Thai and U.S. governments, female migrant laborers and trafficking survivors and has led projects in collaboration with community-based women’s organizations and the U.S. State Department. Erin holds a Masters in Public Diplomacy from USC’s School of International Relations, a Masters in Communication Arts from USC’s Annenberg School and a Bachelors in music composition from Sarah Lawrence College.

A recipient of the USC Graduate School’s prestigious Research Enhancement Fellowship and Diploma In Innovation Award, Erin’s dissertation combined feminist international research with the writing, composing and production of a musical, LAND OF SMILES, critiquing the U.S.-driven crusade to combat sex trafficking in Thailand. LAND OF SMILES was workshopped at the Gate Theater in Chiangmai, Thailand in 2013 and garnered critical acclaim at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland in 2014.

Other projects as a composer and playwright include DIVORCE! THE MUSICAL, which made its 2009 world premiere at the Hudson Theater in Los Angeles where it garnered the LA Times’ Critic’s Choice, Backstage West’s Critic’s Pick, won the 2009 Los Angeles Ovation Award for Best Book, Music and Lyrics for an Original Musical, the 2010 Backstage Garland Award for Best Playwriting, the 2010 Backstage Garland Award for Best Musical Score, the LA Weekly Awards for Best Director and Musical Director, and was nominated for the 2009 LA Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Original Score. Her work has been staged at New Dramatists, Berkeley Rep, The Public Theater, Playwright’s Horizons, and she is a three-time winner of Stephen Sondheim’s Young Playwright’s Festival and University of Michigan’s Hopwood Award.  Her musical RUNWAY SIXTY-NINE, about a strip club on the eve of the clean-up that transformed Times Square received New Dramatists’ 2008 Frederick Loewe Award. Erin is a member of the Dramatists Guild. As a recording artist, Erin has performed in India, Japan, Mexico, Italy, Turkey, Thailand and throughout the United States with her albums MANTRA GIRL: TRUTH, MANTRA GIRL: TRINITY and Kundalini Yoga Instructional DVD’s. Her music can be heard on numerous albums and films.

Erin divides her time between Southeast Asia and the United States, working as an artist, scholar, and international gender advisor.