John M. Meyer is an artist and scholar studying at the University of Texas at Austin (Ph.D., 2020). He earned a three year graduate research fellowship from the National Science Foundation for his research on organized violence. His current research portfolio centers on the British general Orde Wingate, and his peers, rivals, and superiors. The larger themes of John's work include ethical and unethical behavior during war, risk-taking in combat, and competition within military units. John also studies why states deploy special operations forces, and why individuals choose to join such units. In addition to receiving funding from the National Science Foundation, he has received support from the Institute for Qualitative and Multi-Method Research, the Program in British Studies, and the Schusterman Center for Jewish Studies.
J. M. Meyer works as a playwright-performer in Austin and New York. He performed at the Obama White House thanks to Aquila Theatre's outreach program, "Ancient Greeks/Modern Lives." In 2016 he performed off-Broadway in Sophocles' Philoctetes with Aquila Theatre, and returned to the company in 2017 to perform at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and in the U.S. national tour of Our Trojan War. His plays have received support from The Great Plains Theatre Conference, the Cohen New Works Festival, Lawrence University, University Co-Op, and Frontera Fest. In 2015 he performed with the Veteran Artist Project at the Lincoln Center Home Show. In the spring of 2016 he began a six-month fellowship with BEDLAM theatre thanks to the Mission Continues project. His work as a playwright and an actor has been featured in the Austin Chronicle, The Austin American-Statesman, KUT radio, the BBC online, The Scotsman, and The List. His stage play "American Volunteers" won the 2010 Mitchell Award at the University of Texas, and subsequently made the long-list for the Dylan Thomas Prize in the United Kingdom. Alongside Karen Alvarado he is the co-artistic director of Thinkery & Verse, where he directed and performed in a four-actor “Much Ado About Nothing,” toured Manhattan living rooms with “The Priceless Slave,” and created “Bride of the Gulf,” a transnational collaboration with artists from Basra, Iraq that toured to the 2018 Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
Much of John's work draws on his experiences as an Airborne Ranger. He served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and his military awards and badges include the Bronze Star, Good Conduct Medal, Combat Infantry Badge, Parachutist Badge, and Ranger Tab.