To prepare ourselves for the coming year—a year replete with new challenges, generative conversations, and invigorating research-adventures—we are pleased to announce that five Year-One Doctoral Students will be sharing the research questions they have begun to explore, the projects they have begun to formulate, and the methodological frameworks they have been curating as they ready themselves to undertake their thesis projects.
This Colloquium (like all CDTPS Colloquia) provides a wonderful opportunity to engage with research questions and encounter projects that may intersect with your own; to exchange ideas with scholars who are pursuing these projects; and to encounter new and exciting research trajectories and/or creative possibilities that may inform and nourish your own work! Presentation Abstracts will be circulated in early December.
Please, come out and support the presentations of your first-year colleagues, as they reflect upon the extent to which the artists, theorists, practices, and ideas they have encountered in DRA1011 (Sources and Concepts I) have resonated with them in this early stage of their research journeys.
How to Dance Like Nobody’s Watching (by Martin Austin)
A professional dancing body is a body gazed upon. This gaze is strongest in dance spaces, where professional dancers train and perform ideal aesthetics of power. This paper presentation argues that subjective gaze manifests in food, mirrors, make-up, and more to regimen the daily lives of dancers, and proposes potential methods of self-care for dancers looking to reclaim their autonomy. By analyzing Sources and Concepts regarding ethical witnessing and pedagogical theory, these case studies show why pupils do not just ‘learn’ how to dance; dancers instead ‘train’ to internalize subjective gaze.
Giving Cyber Testimony to Bearing Witness: Towards the Immortality of Ephemeral Performative Activism (by Amin Azizi)
After the death of Mehsa Amini in September 2022, a 22-year-old Iranian woman, minutes after being arrested by the Moral Police on charges of not wearing a hijab, a revolutionary movement called #Woman_Life_Freedom has formed in Iran. Accordingly, many protest artworks and performances have been created recently by unknown artists in public places that were Inspired by protestors' calls for the overthrow of the Islamic Republic regime. This paper pursues the question of how cyberactivism—as a form of bearing witness and documentation of ephemeral performance arts--provides an opportunity for the audience to create a symbolic and endless identity of giving testimony to bearing witness through the R(r)epresentation of the performances mentioned above through the social media.
Additional Instances of Tolkien's Eucatastrophic Adaptions of Shakespeare (by Raphael Glazov)
Tolkien is known for expressing dissatisfaction with drama for its technical limitations in producing in its audiences “a suspension of disbelief” in the staged “secondary world.” The classic examples are two incidents in Macbeth (the conceits of Burnham Wood walking, and of caesarean birth as the reference point of the “no man of woman born” designation). However, Tolkien’s improvement on these conceits in LOTR, by means of the Ents and Éowyn, actually betoken a respect for Shakespeare and a desire to make his conceits more believable. In my M.A. in the ways in which he adapts profound passages in Shakespeare in his own work. In my MA thesis, Shakespeare’s Arts of Enchantment through Tolkien’s Lens, I attempted to show how Tolkien also adapted Hamlet’s understanding of tragic comedy to his (Tolkien’s) understanding of the eucatastrophic purpose of fairy tales. The development of this idea is integral to my similarly entitled PhD project. Here I seek to explore how Tolkien adapted three more Shakespearean passages: 1) the phrase “all that glitters is not gold” from Merchant of Venice in the description of Aragorn in LOTR; 2) the phrases “crack of doom” from Macbeth and “edge of doom” in Sonnet 116, and the Fellowship’s journey to Mount Doom in LOTR; 3) Romeo’s tragic departure over the “misty mountain tops” in Romeo and Juliet (3.4) and the eucatastrophic journeys of the protagonists over the “misty mountains” in The Hobbit and LOTR. Finally, 4) I wish to explore commonalities in Shakespeare’s and Tolkien’s use of riddles and of herbal lore to see if here also Tolkien may be adapting Shakespeare.
Title TBD (by Meera Kanageswaran)
While considering the relationship Bharathanatyam dancers, teachers, and choreographers have with the dance, and the cultural and religious context it currently operates within, this paper will identify reasons for proposing changes to the current version of this art form. Bharathanatyam, as it is currently taught and performed, does stem from a broken tradition due to the reinvention it underwent during the twentieth century. Examples from current Bharathanatyam pedagogy are included, which problematize this gendered dance form’s religious and casteist frameworks. Engaging with personal stories of diasporic Bharathanatyam artists establishes the divide between people who want the change and others who oppose it. Detailed investigation into motives for preservation of the current practices of Bharathanatyam establish an understanding of not only how the history is perceived by the practitioners, but also explanations for their trepidation. Through examination of Bharathanatyam scholarship, that is based on the history of hereditary dance communities, the paper will explore aspects of the form that are in urgent need of transformation and avenues that can be explored to implement such changes. Furthermore, the paper will investigate why conversations about current Bharathanatyam pedagogy built upon a difficult history are not prevalent within the Bharathanatyam community and consider methods of disseminating research findings in ways that is accessible to the practitioners of Bharathanatyam.
Community, Not Audience: The Quest for Collective Action in Political Performances (by Soykan Karayol)
As a theatre practitioner who grew up inspired by the works of left-wing artists, I will explore how political figures center their performances around their audiences. Analyzing multiple strategies adopted by prominent 20th century artists, activists, and revolutionaries on how to encourage others to join emancipatory causes will illuminate relevant paths that we can take in the 21st century. By combining autoethnographic methods, such as considering my own artistic practice, with academic and artistic scholarship that has influenced me this term, such as the writings of Bertolt Brecht and Augusto Boal, I aim to investigate and ultimately hope to facilitate the creation of communities out of audiences. This research will build upon and towards foundational theories that privilege solidarity, collective action, and revolutionary struggle.