CULTURAL STUDIES/PERFORMANCE STUDIES
FEBRUARY 6-7, 2009
Highlighting the intersection of aesthetics and politics, contemporary performance theory has deeply shaped our critical understanding of the workings of power, hegemony, and resistance. In putting cultural studies and performance studies together in productive dialogue, this year’s Cultural Studies Conference (6-7 February 2009) establishes points of contact between the reproduction and disruption of cultural processes and the workings of power. The articulation of these fields enables us to ask: How has the “performative turn” in the humanities affected the way we study cultural production and reception? What are the embodied ways that culture is transmitted and transformed through affect and signification, feeling and meaning? In what ways does the performance rubric shift our focus to the productive instability of cultural identities, identities that are always in the making and potentially open to critical revision? How does performance traffic across borders and boundaries to forge a public commons in an age of increasing global privatization? What kinds of gestures are required to alter the relationship between local communities and the state? What kinds of songs might rescore the discordant notes of an off-key democracy? What kinds of voices might sound new forms of resistance and collectivity?
A number of panels and keynote addresses will investigate performance across a wide range of media, with a focus on diaspora cultures and the critical de-composition of race.
Paul Berliner (Duke University) will deliver the opening keynote, “The Heart that Remembers: A Tale of Musicians during Zimbabwe’s Liberation Struggle,” a lecture that blends scholarly research with Mbira performance.
Karen Shimakawa (New York University) will deliver the closing keynote, “Habitual Performance: The Transnational Migration of ‘the Geisha.’”
Their presentations will frame three panels with short papers and commentary by invited guest Alexandra Vazquez (Princeton University) and IU faculty working at the intersections of cultural studies and performance studies.
On Friday, Panel I (“Rehearsing Race, Staging Politics”) features papers on the shifting boundaries of race on the vaudeville stage, masquerade and opportunism in an Asian American context, the backstage politics of mid-century black Broadway.
On Saturday morning, Panel II (“Gestures and Media: Re-imagining the Nation in Film and Performance”) examines how various media address questions of national and transnational identity by looking at the global circulation of Angolan urban dance practices, spectacle as a critique of revolution in the work of the Bissauan filmmaker Flora Gomes, and the staging of racism in recent German documentary film and theater.
Panel III on Saturday afternoon (“Actors and Audiences: Traversing the Boundaries of Performance) investigates the relationships and ethics of spectators and performers with papers that explore the onstage and offstage lives of road comics, the ethics of knowing and unknowing in music collection and scholarship, and local practices of HIV-prevention in Detroit Ballroom culture.
Paul Berliner is Arts and Sciences Professor of Music at Duke University and the author of the award winning Thinking in Jazz: The Infinite Art of Improvisation (1994) and The Soul of Mbira: Music and Traditions of the Shona People of Zimbabwe (1993).
Karen Shimakawa is Associate Professor of Performance Studies at New York University and the author of National Abjection: The Asian American Body Onstage (2002).
Alexandra Vazquez is Assistant Professor of African American Studies and English at Princeton University.
FRIDAY, February 6, 2009
Panel 1: Ernie Pyle Lounge
"Rehearsing Race, Staging Politics"Panelists : Micol Seigel,
“Nation Drag: Uses of the Exotic” Shane Vogel,
“Black Broadway’s Backstage Relations” Angela Pao,
“The Theatre Not the City: Ethnic Masquerades and Opportunism”Respondent: Matt Guterl Chair: Purnima Bose
Ernie Pyle Auditorium, Room 220,
Paul Berliner, “The Heart that Remembers: A Tale of Musicians during Zimbabwe’s Liberation Struggle”—Introduction by John Hanson
SATURDAY, February 7, 2009
Panel 2: Faculty Club, Second Floor, IMU,
"Gestures and Media: Re-imagining the Nation in Film and Performance"
Panelists: Marissa Moorman, “Intimate Infrastructures: Kuduro Dance and Angola's Urban Youth”
Akin Adesokan, “Flora Gomes Does Battle with the Dead”
Claudia Breger, “Close-up on the Faces of Racism: Recent German Documentary Film and Theatre”
Respondent: Beverly Stoeltje
Chair: Scott Herring
Panel 3: Faculty Club, Second Floor, IMU, "Actors and Audiences: Traversing the Boundaries of Performance"
Panelists: Alexandra Vazquez, “Toward an Ethics of Knowing Nothing”
Marlon Bailey, “Performance as Intravention: Ballroom Culture and the Politics of HIV/AIDS in Detroit”
Susan Seizer: "Fuck Vulgarity: Road Comics Use 'a little bit of language'"
Respondent: Ellen MacKay
Chair: Amy Cooke
Closing Keynote: Faculty Club, Second Floor, IMU,
Karen Shimakawa: “Habitual Performance: The Transnational Migration of ‘the Geisha’”
Co-sponsored by the Asian American Studies Program and American Studies Program