ASTR 2017

American Society for Theatre Research -- Working group on the Global South:

November 16-19th

I'm co-organizing the working group on performance studies in/from the Global South. Please feel free to submit a proposal for a paper and share widely with scholars/artists who work on the categories of performance, media, and the global South. More details on submission and the conference are available on the ASTR Website here

"The history of modernity, as theorists of decolonization have argued, emerges simultaneously with and through the violence of coloniality writ large. As scholars of the global South, our working group has focused on the histories of alterity that haunt Western performance practices--in theatres, museums, fairgrounds, archives and courtrooms, and on stages, pages and screens--which are derived from the lived embodiment of coloniality’s constituent Others: the peoples of Africa, Latin America, Asia, the Pacific Islands and indigenous people the world over. The production of the founding epistemic categories of modernity, most importantly the boundaries of the term “human,” have been defined against those subjected to the violence of the colonial state. Yet, Saartjie Baartman, the so-called Venus Hottentot, is but one example of the myriad bodies displaced from the Global South that went on to stage epistemic and aesthetic revolutions in Euro-American performances of race, gender, sexuality, class, (dis)ability, and beauty. At the same time, performance studies scholars of and from the Global South are also poised to assess how ideas of other(ed) bodies circulate outside of the West in pre- or de-colonial spaces where the very idea of difference is differently understood. How might the aesthetic categories of Noh, Kathakali or Egungun masquerade, disrupt prevailing notions of alterity that enshrine Western expectations as the norm against which deviation is measured? By drawing together these two strands of inquiry in and from the Global South, we explore new directions for the field as it comes to terms with extraordinary bodies the world over."



ACLA 2017

Looking forward to sharing my work at the American Comparative Literature Association seminar on the Postcolonial Difference and the Post-human:

More details on ACLA 2017 here.

How do we think cultural, sexual, and racial difference today? Since the work of Edward Said, Gayatri Spivak, and Homi Bhabha broke ground, Postcolonial Studies has entailed a commitment to thinking difference. But practitioners of the discipline now turn against the value of difference. Scholars such as Dipesh Chakrabarty, Robert Young, and Ian Baucom ask what contribution the discipline might make, if any, to universal categories such as "climate change," "ecology," or "the anthropocene." Challenging the relevance of Postcolonial Studies, they argue for the need to move beyond notions of difference that have so far grounded definitions of the human. At the same time, discourses of post-humanism, from Gilles Deleuze to Donna Haraway, have deployed difference to break free of the human.   Indeed, "the human" has become a contested category within contemporary literary and cultural criticism. Within Ethnic Studies and Black Studies, Neferti Tadiar and Sylvia Wynter question the liberatory potential of the category. Tadiar argues against the humanizing of subjugated identities, claiming that inclusion in the category "normalizes the violence of everyday protocols for being human." Wynter demonstrates the colonial, racist, and capitalist work done by the human. The ethical and political choice is therefore no longer between the human and the post-human. Rather, it is between lost, radical conceptions of the human that disrupt what Wynter terms "the overrepresentation of Man." Simultaneously, in response to the Deleuzian notion of "becoming-animal," activists and scholars informed by postcolonial feminism reject the posthuman as a site of radical intervention. In fact, they argue that the posthuman turn in the humanities further erases differences disavowed by liberal humanism but manufactured by capitalism. This seminar asks, does Postcolonial Studies need to abandon difference to rethink the human? Alternatively, how is postcolonial difference still useful to highlight the blind spots of knowledge formations like "the posthuman," "new materialisms," "theory from the south" or "the decolonial option"? In response to misconstrual in both the indictments and defenses of Postcolonial Studies, this seminar invites papers analyzing the status of difference and the post/human after new scholarly interest in environmental and state racism, world literature, visual culture, species thinking, global indigeneities, and science and technology. What does the supposed waning of Postcolonial Studies have to with the urgency of Critical Race Theory and Settler Colonial Studies, and how do these fields interact today? What is at stake in declaring the end of Postcolonial Studies and why must we keep declaring it – repeatedly and in different ways – if the field is, in fact, as many claim, irrelevant?

SCT 2017

This summer, I will be spending six weeks in Ithaca at the School of Criticism and Theory, attending the seminar on themes of the Human and the Humanitarian. If you're in Ithaca, get in touch!