It has been suggested by performance scholar Phelan that, “‘the equation of performance with empowerment and visibility with liberation is ‘a meeting of profound romance and deep violence’” (in Kruger 2005: 782). At the same time, as has been noted by artists and theorists from a wide range of disciplines, performance represents an important oppositional, revolutionary and transformative public forum through which people respond to forms of political, economic, and social/cultural domination.
Performance and politics intersect in the staging and contestation of gendered, sexualized, racialized, colonial, neo-colonial, local, national, and global hierarchies and inequalities. Performativity, as emerging from linguistic theories and then interpreted by Judith Butler (1993) in relation to gendered identities, involves the iteration of acts, the embodiment of those acts, and the historical processes of exclusion that already shape those embodied acts. But iteration too can be turned on its head. Since social roles and power relations can be reproduced and challenged in their enactment, performance can be both liberating and tyrannical. As such the potentiality of performance as a social practice and as a scholarly framework can only emerge in a close consideration of the culturally and socially constructed world of, what scholar Diana Taylor (1991) has called, “the politics of theatricality,” where the past, the present, the future, the “real” and the imagined become common referents for performers and their audiences in particular spaces. Performance as a form of analysis may carry a theatrically-based Western bias of the not real (Schieffelin 1998), but it also works productively against any easy disciplining of the arts (Taylor 2003: 26).
In commemoration of this year’s passing of Augusto Boal, the editors of Issue 4 “Performance, Revolution, Pedagogy: Theatre and Its Objects” invite scholars and artists whose work deals with the theatricality of power, corporealities of structural violence, and sensory regimes to contribute to a dialogue related to the potentiality of theatre and performance as a critical social practice applied to broad artistic, political and cultural contexts. The editors welcome pieces that engage with the politics of performance practices, broadly conceived within and beyond the theatre, as well as those submissions that address performance as a mode of analysis.
Papers, interviews, reviews, and artistic works that wish to be considered for publication should be emailed to guest Editors Dr. Michelle Bigenho mlbSS@hampshire.edu Hampshire College and Dr. Alberto Guevara firstname.lastname@example.org York University. Style and submission guidelines can be accessed and downloaded at http://www.yorku.ca/intent/submissions.html. Submission deadline: March 15th, 2010.
Michelle Bigenho, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Anthropology
School of Social Science
893 West Street
Amherst MA 01002
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