About the Institute
Convened by faculty from Brown University's Department of Theater, Speech and Dance, this Institute will explore the role of theater and new media in political and social movements, with a particular focus on the potential of diverse art forms to advance principles of non-violence and civic debate. The Institute responds in particular to the diverse political and social movements of the past year, staged all around the world. What is new in these movements? What do they owe to different theories, traditions and practices of expressive freedom and participatory politics? The Institute will address these questions through lectures, readings, performances and discussions organized around four interconnected themes: transgression, translation, transformation and transcendence. We invite scholars from the humanities and beyond, and artists and performers working in different genres and media, to contribute to an interdisciplinary exploration of the ways in which creative production—whether scripted, improvised, devised, choreographed, or spontaneous—expands the civic imagination and conjures new understandings of public space.
Head of Playwriting and Professor of Theatre Arts & Performance Studies, Department of Theatre Arts & Performance Studies
Associate Professor of Theatre Arts & Performance Studies, Department of Theatre Arts & Performance Studies
Professor of Literary Arts, Brown University
John Cayley has practiced as a poet, translator, publisher, and bookdealer, and all these activities have often intersected with his training in Chinese culture and language. Links to his internationally recognized writing in networked and programmable media are at programmatology.shadoof.net. His last printed book of poems, adaptations and translations was Ink Bamboo (London: Agenda & Belew, 1996). Cayley was the winner of the Electronic Literature Organization's Award for Poetry 2001. He has taught at a number of universities in the United Kingdom, and was an Honorary Research Associate in the Department of English, Royal Holloway College, University of London. In the United States, he has taught or directed research at the University of California San Diego and twice previously at Brown before becoming a long-term Visiting Professor in 2007 and then regular faculty in January 2011.
Professor of Theater, Dance, & Performance Studies, University of California, Berkeley
Ph.D., Northwestern University. Cole teaches African Performance, Field Methods, Postcolonial Studies, and Disability Studies. She is the author of Performing South Africa’s Truth Commission: Stages of Transition (2010) as well as Ghana’s Concert Party Theatre (2001). In addition to recently serving as the editor of Theatre Survey, Cole has co-edited the book Africa After Gender?(2007), a special issue of Theatre Survey on African and Afro-Caribbean Performance, and a forthcoming special issue of TDR: The Drama Review entitled “Routes of Blackface.” She is the lead curator on a forthcoming exhibition “Fiat Lux Redux: Ansel Adams and Clark Kerr,” which will open at the Bancroft Library in Fall 2012 and co-convener of the Townsend Humanities Center Working Group “Making UC Futures.” Cole’s dance theater piece Five Foot Feat, created in collaboration with Christopher Pilafian, toured North America in 2002-2005. She has published articles in Africa, Critical Inquiry,Disability Studies Quarterly, Research in African Literatures, Theatre, Theatre Journal, and TDR, as well as numerous chapters in edited volumes. Cole’s research has received funding from the National Humanities Center, National Endowment for the Humanities, Fund for U.S. Artists, American Association of University Women, ELA Foundation, and University of California Institute for Research in the Arts.
Grupo Cultural Yuyachkani, Peru
One of the founding and still active members of Peruvian theater ensemble Grupo Cultural Yuyachkani, Ana Correa joins us for two performances from the repertoire of Yuyachkani: Rosa Cuchillo & Confessiones. Peru's most important theater collective, Grupo Cultural Yuyachkani (www.yuyachkani.org) has been working since 1971 at the forefront of theatrical experimentation, political performance, and collective creation.'Yuyachkani' is a Quechua word that means 'I am thinking, I am remembering'; under this name, the theater group has devoted itself to the collective exploration of embodied social memory, particularly in relation to questions of ethnicity, violence, and memory in Peru. The group is comprised of seven actors (Augusto Casafranca, Amiel Cayo, Ana Correa, Débora Correa, Rebeca Ralli, Teresa Ralli, and Julián Vargas), a technical designer (Fidel Melquíades), and an artistic director (Miguel Rubio), who have made a commitment to collective creation as a mode of theatrical production and to group theater as a life style. Their work has been among the most important in Latin America's so called 'New Popular Theater,' with a strong commitment to grass-roots community issues, mobilization, and advocacy. Yuyachkani won Peru's National Human Rights Award in 2000.Known for its creative embrace of both indigenous performance forms as well as cosmopolitan theatrical forms, Yuyachkani offers insight into Peruvian and Latin American theater, and to broader issues of postcolonial social aesthetics.
Professor of Literary Arts and Comparative Literature, Brown University
Forrest Gander, the Adele Kellenberg Seaver Professor of Literary Arts and Comparative Literature, has degrees in geology and English. The author of more than a dozen books including the novel As a Friend, now translated into half a dozen languages, Gander writes across the genres. His 2011 collection, Core Samples from the World (a National Book Critics Circle finalist), is transnational formally and thematically. Its structures include haibun, a Japanese poem/essay, lyric sequences and a madrigal. At its heart, it is concerned with the way identity is translated by the foreign. The editor of two anthologies of Mexican poetry, Gander is also a well known translator: Watchword by Pura Lopez Colome, Spectacle & Pigsty by Kiwao Nomura, and Firefly Under the Tongue: Poems by Coral Bracho are most recent. In a collection of essays, A Faithful Existence, Gander explores evolution, literary hoaxes, snapping turtles, and border crossings. He is a United States Artists Rockefeller Fellow and recipient of fellowships from the Library of Congress, the Guggenheim, Howard, and Whiting Foundations. In 2012, he was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for poetry.
Professor of Theater, Dance & Performance Studies, University of California, Berkeley
Ph.D., Performance Studies, and Graduate Certificate, Women’s Studies, Northwestern University (1995). Performance theory; contemporary visual and performance art; American studies; sex/gender/race studies; history of disciplines; solo performance; new media theatre. Jackson is currently the Director of the Arts Research Center. Selected publications:Lines of Activity (2000), Honorable Mention, John Hope Franklin Prize in American Studies (ASA) and Professing Performance (2004), Best Book Prize in Theatre Studies (ATHE) and Best Book Prize in Performance Studies (NCA), plus many essays in journals of theater, performance studies, and cultural studies. Her most recent book is Social Works: Performing Art, Supporting Publics, and she is also working on a book about The Builders Association. Other awards and grants include: Lilla Heston Award for Outstanding Scholarship in Performance Studies (NCA); Junior Faculty Fellowship, Radcliffe College; the Kahan Scholar’s Prize in Theatre History (ASTR); the Spencer Foundation Dissertation fellowship; the Black Theater Network; the National Endowment for the Humanities, and several project grants from the Walter and Elise Haas Fund, UCIRA, the San Francisco Foundation, and the LEF Foundation. Selected adaptation, performance, and directing credits: White Noises, The Smell of Death and Flowers, Hull-House Women, Catastrophe, The Successful Life of 3. Jackson serves on the boards of Cal Performances, the Berkeley Art Museum, and the Berkeley Center for New Media. She serves on the editorial boards of several journals, has been a keynote speaker at a variety of international symposia, and has co-organized conferences and residencies with the Arts Research Center, The Builders Association, Touchable Stories, American Society of Theatre Research, the American Studies Association, the Women and Theatre Project, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, the Multi-campus Research Group on International Performance, and UCB’s Center for Community Innovation. Jackson was an Erasmus Mundus visiting professor in Paris at the Maison des Sciences de l’Homme Nord and at the Université Libre de Bruxelles for the 2008-09 academic year. Before moving to Berkeley, Jackson was an assistant professor of English and Literature at Harvard University from 1995 to 1998.
Professor of Theatre, University of Rio de Janeiro
Zeca Ligiéro is theater/video director and scholar specializing in Afro-Brazilian culture. He is Ph.D., Department of Performance Studies, New York University, where he completed his Master degree under a Fulbright scholarship, 1988. He has published Teatro e Comunidade, Uma Experiência (Theater and Community, An Experiment) (Uberlândia M.G: Editora UFU, 1983), and Teatro Infantil de Zeca Ligiéro (Zeca Ligiéro's Theater for Children), (Uberlândia, M.G.: Editora UFU, 1986); Iniciação ao Candomblé (Initiation to Candomblé), (Rio de Janeiro: Editora Record, 1992), the same title was translated into Spanish and published by Panamericana Editorial, Colombia, 1995; and he is one of the four authors of Divine Inspiration from Benin to Bahia edited by Phyllis Galembo (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1993), and Umbanda Paz, Liberdade e Cura (Umbanda, Peace, Freedom and Healing) in collaboration with Dandara (Editora Record, Rio de Janeiro, 1998). He is currently working on a book titled Carmen Miranda, an African-Brazilian Paradox to appear at Temple University Press (Philadelphia). On the field of Afro-Brazilian culture he has published several articles in popular Brazilian magazine Ano Zero (Rio de Janeiro), and Icarus Journal (New York City). Zeca Ligiéro has taught in the University of Rio de Janeiro (UNI-RIO) for the past 15 years, and he founded the Graduate Theater Department there, of which he was Chair for two years (1990-92), and currently he is Assistant Chair. In Brazil, he adapted and directed plays and won several prizes; he wrote the script Pivete based on the Jorge Amado's novel Capitães da Areia for the Dance Brazil Company, and Elegba Crossings, A Journey of Spirit produced by Madame Walker Theater Center from Indianapolis, both performances have toured all over the United States. In collaboration with the singer and writer Dandara, he has developed the Samba-Drama project in Rio de Janeiro and New York since 1991. In New York, he has lectured about Afro-Brazilian culture at the New School, the Museum for African Arts, the American Museum of Natural History and the New York University. He is the president of Alafia Media Arts and Media Inc., a non-for-profit organization to support creative and academic works on African-Amerindian cultures in both countries the United States and Brazil. He is collaborating with The Hemispheric Institute, an international project developed by Department of Performance Studies, NYU, his NEPAA (Núcleo de Estudo das Performances Afro-Ameríndias) and the Pontifice Universidad Catolica de Lima (Peru), and sponsored by Ford Foundation).
Performance Artist & Actress
Perforamance artist and actress Violeta Luna has collaborated with La Pocha Nostra and Guillermo Gómez-Peña since 1998. Luna has participated with distinguished theatre directos in different events in Mexico and in the United States. Her work explores the relationship between theatre and performance. Born in Mexico City, Luna studied at El Centro Universitario de Teatro, UNAM and La Casa del Teatro.
Assistant Professor of Drama, Stanford University
Jisha Menon specializes in postcolonial theory and performance studies. Her research interests lie at the intersection of religion and secularity, gender and nationalism, cosmopolitanism and globalization. She has published essays on the Indian partition, transnational feminist theatre, and sexual and political violence in South Asia. Her current project, Bordering on Drama: Community and Nation in Postcolonial India, is an interdisciplinary book-length study that considers embodied, political performances to examine the theatricality of nationalism in South Asia. She is also co-editor, with Patrick Anderson, of a volume of essays, Violence Performed: Local Roots and Global Routes of Conflict (Palgrave-Macmillan Press) that explores the coimbrication of violence, performance, and modernity in a variety of geopolitical spaces.