Pannill Camp studies performance theory, theatre architecture, and the history of modern western theatre, in particular exchanges between theatre and philosophy in seventeenth and eighteenth-century France. He is the author of The First Frame: Theatre Space in Enlightenment France (Cambridge University Press, 2014), which received an honorable mention for the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) Outstanding Book Award for 2015. This book examines the importance of optics for French reformers of theatre space in the second half of the eighteenth century, and argues that theatre spectatorship during this period both was shaped by and helped articulate the way that empirical philosophy framed the natural world.
He is also currently working on a book about ritual and aesthetic performances linked to freemasonry in eighteenth-century France and in the Americas. Tentatively entitled Arts of Brotherhood: French Freemasonry in Performance, this book looks at the ways embodied performances helped freemasons refine models of masculine homosocial behavior and preserve an esoteric body of knowledge with early modern roots. It also argues that Masonic theatrical and ritual performances helped shape modern civil society both in Enlightenment France and in the Americas by way of extensive Masonic activity in the French territories in the Caribbean.
In 2008-09, Pannill was a postdoctoral fellow at the Humanities Center at Harvard and taught in Harvard’s History of Art and Architecture department. His dissertation won the Joukowski Family Foundation’s Award for Outstanding Dissertation in the Humanities at Brown University in 2009. His articles have appeared in Theatre Journal, the Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies, the Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism, Performance Research, and in Anatomy Live: Performance and the Operating Theatre, published by Amsterdam University Press. Pannill has directed several productions, including plays by Ibsen, Strindberg, and Mac Wellman.