Blog - Latest News

September 30, 2014: Wills Glasspiegel

Icy Lake, a short film and discussion with director and Yale Phd student Wills Glasspiegel

Filmmaker Wills Glasspiegel shows his recent documentary short, Icy Lake, that traces the quirky transit of a “tribal house” dance song from mid 90s New York into the contemporary moment via YouTube. Through Glasspiegel’s film, “Icy Lake” ( the song) becomes a thread that knits together disparate DJ and dance subcultures across time. After the short film, Glasspiegel opens up a discussion about the relationship between his academic projects and his ongoing work as a visual artist and documentarian operating in subcultural spaces across the world.
Wills Glasspiegel received his BA from Yale in 2005 in English and his masters at NYU in Media, Culture and Communications. He is currently a second-year PhD student in African American Studies and American Studies at Yale. As a journalist working in and out of the academy (and as an academic working in and out of the public sector), Glasspiegel produced work on the Nollywood film scene in Nigeria for NPR’s Morning Edition, covered the Chicago footwork story for NPR’s All Things Considered, and produced several hour-long radio documentaries with the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Glasspiegel spent the late 2000s developing his interests in the the computerization of African and African diaspora culture, focusing most on the digitization of traditional musics in Sierra Leone (bubu music) and South Africa (Shangaan electro), projects that have led him to the study of footwork in Chicago, Glasspiegel’s hometown.  Glasspiegel’s work at Yale focuses on footwork, a style of black electronic music and dance from Chicago. For a window into the world of Chicago footwork, Glasspiegel’s short documentaryMaking Tracks (2013) is available from VICE: http://thump.vice.com/videos/thump-video/making-tracks-chicago-footwork-pitchfork-boiler-room-battlegroundz

September 23, 2014: Ayesha Ramachandran

From Theatre to Atlas: Cartography as Performance

 In the sixteenth century, collections of maps were frequently described as “theatres of the world”—the first world atlas, compiled by Abraham Ortelius, is called Theatrum orbis terrarum (1570). But by the end of the century, the term had been replaced by a new one: “atlas,” named after Gerhard Mercator’s 1595 Atlas or cosmographic meditations. This talk traces the conceptual shift—in cartographic practice and in the mapmaker’s identity as an author—signaled by the turn from theatre to atlas. But rather than suggesting a movement away from the underlying theatrical metaphor, I argue that the conception of the mapbook as an “atlas” marks a deeper embrace of cartography itself as performance. Mercator’s Atlas identifies the image of the world with a muscular man on its famous title page. But why does a human body become the symbol for a cartographic portrait of the world? What does this conjunction tell us about the literary history of the world atlas as a textual form? Drawing on recent work in the history of cartography and the notion of text as performance, I suggest that mapmaking in the early modern period drew on emerging notions of theatrical space and textual performance even as it influenced the imagination of early modern drama.

 

Ayesha Ramachandran received her BA from Smith College (2001) and her PhD in Renaissance Studies from Yale University (2008). Her research and teaching focus on the literature and culture of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, primarily on Europe’s relations with an expanding world. She has just completed a book-length study, “The World-Makers: Global Imagining in Early Modern Europe,” which explores the reshaping of the concept “world” and its implications for theories of modernity across a range of disciplines. She has published articles on Spenser, Lucretius, Tasso, Petrarch, Montaigne and on postcolonial drama. She was awarded a Junior Fellowship at the Harvard Society of Fellows in 2007.

September 16, 2014: Rebecca Prichard

Carnevale by Rebecca Prichard - Race and Gender in Performance

In her account of Black London in the eighteenth century Gretchen Gerzina writes “By the eighteenth century the work of all kinds of artists – Hogarth, Reynolds, Gillray, Rowlandson – as well as work by poets, playwrights and novelists… reveals that not everyone in that elegant, vigorous, earthy world was white….there were black pubs and clubs, balls for blacks only, black churches, and organisations for helping blacks out of work or in trouble. Many blacks were prosperous and respected…others..were successful stewards or men of business. But many more were servants or beggars, some turning to prostitution or theft. Alongside the free black world was slavery, from which many of these people escaped” My play Carnevale  explores the lives of two black female ex-slaves in Venice in the eighteenth and twenty first century and is is a fantastical mash-up of languages and contemporary and early modern worlds.  By mixing contemporary representations of race and gender with historical representations, the play aims to critique modern day trafficking and slavery and also raise questions about the way race, gender and sexuality are constructed in ’the (neo)colonial context’. In this session I will discuss the role of language and visual imagery in creating reflexivity around race and gender and ways to create counter narratives to the dominant discourses around race, gender and trafficking.

Biography:

Playwright Rebecca Prichard is currently under commission to The National Theatre and The Royal Shakespeare Company. She has written plays for BBC Radio 4 and her play Parallax was performed at The Almeida Theatre in 2012 and shortlisted for the Brian Way Award in 2013. Dream Pill was performed in 2010 at the Soho Theatre and 2011 at Latitude Festival and The Edinburgh Festival and toured Scotland in 2012 and was shortlisted the Human Trafficking Foundation Awards in 2011. Rebecca’s  first play Essex Girls was performed at the Royal Court Theatre in 1994, as part of the Royal Court Young Writers Festival. The script was later published in Coming on Strong: New Writing from the Royal Court Theatre (1995). Fair Game, a free adaptation of Games in the Backyard by Israeli writer Edna Mazya, was commissioned by the Royal Court and first produced there in 1997. Yard Gal which won the Critics’ Circle Award for Most Promising Playwright, was first produced at the Royal Court in 1998, and was co-produced with Clean Break, a theatre company specialising in work with ex-offenders. Her play Delir’ium was performed at The Royal Court and Tricycle Theatre in 2003  and Futures produced at Theatre 503 in 2006.

Rebecca has been appointed as the Human Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery Fellow at Yale’s Gilder Lehrman Center for the study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition for the 2014~15 academic year.  Prior to this, she was a lecturer in the theatre studies department at Essex University (2011~14) and an AHRC fellow at Lancaster University from 2007~2010.

Image: Matrixial by Christine McPhee

September 9, 2014: Nancy Rosenberger

Cultivating transgression: Young organic farmers in Japan

 From the point of view of elder organic farmers in Japan, younger farmers are not supporting the pure principles of the original organic movement as they consort with the market, the government, consumers, and conventional farmers in new ways. Instead, younger farmers are themselves consumers, concerned with identity and lifestyle, acting within a neoliberal context of governance by subjectivity.  In this presentation, Nancy Rosenberger uses her ethnographic investigations of the lives of organic farmers in Japan to explore shifts from cultures of resistance to a different politics, one of positive engagement that may be better called transgressive: embodied, performative, place-based, self-oriented, and rhizomatic. Interviews show that younger farmers value their own quality of life, adequate livelihood, and their rural communities as well as nature and non-commodified relations with soil, food and humans. Those with fields contaminated with radiation from the Fukushima disaster claim that the sudden uncertainties they face and innovate through form the harbingers of change for all of Japan. Young organic farmers enact roots that are both residual and emergent; rhizomes that reach outside rural communities and transgress prescribed binaries; aesthetics of non-alienated selves; and creative performativity in markets.  By exploring writings on new social movements, the performativity of power, and processes of everyday lifeworlds within neoliberal capitalism, Rosenberger sheds light on the process of how change is occurring in alternative food systems, Japan, and our contemporary world.

 

Nancy Rosenberger received her PhD from University of Michigan and is a Professor of Anthropology at Oregon State University. Her research interests bridge food and agriculture, work, and gender in the context of global development, cultural uncertainty, and resistance. She is the author of such recent works as Dilemmas of Adulthood: Japanese Women and the Nuances of Long-term Resistance; Seeking Food Rights: Nation, Inequality and Repression in Uzbekistan; and a 2014 Ethnos article entitled ”Japanese Organic Farmers: Strategies of Uncertainty after the Fukushima Disaster.”

Justin Sider

Justin Sider a PhD candidate in English at Yale University and will receive his degree this December. He has recently completed his dissertation, entitled “Parting Words: Address and Exemplarity in Victorian Poetry,” which explores the relationship among poetic address, public speech, and cultural authority in Victorian poetry’s valedictions and scenes of leave-taking. He has published articles on Alfred Tennyson and John Ruskin in Victorian Poetry and Studies in English Literature.

Justin will be joining us as an IPSY postdoctoral associate and lecturer in Theater Studies in Spring 2015.

September 2, 2014: Dana Milstein

Manga de dokuha as Visual Novel: 

Ren’Py and Reading Marx through textual gameplay

Japanese publisher East Press published a manga edition of Karl Marx’s multivolume Das Kapital in 2007, and in that same year sold 507,000 copies. Since then, the company has annually released at least one Western canonized literary or philosophical work-as-manga to the Japanese public, and these are now being translated and sold abroad. Several scholars have written on (and created) the practice of transposing difficult philosophy or classic literature into graphic novels and comic books. However, what happens when the manga themselves are transposed into a more interactive art form—that of the visual novel?

 Visual novels are interactive fiction games or multimedia novel forms that incorporate game play, and they are usually centered on dialogue, non-linear narratives, and multiple perspectives. As part of a digital humanities project, I have translated the manga version of Das Kapital, and have been developing a prototype visual novel using Ren’Py, a visual novel engine based on simplified Python scripting.

 For purposes of teaching and learning, Visual Novels have value for three reasons:

1.     This is a method for promoting literacy of and exposure to inaccessible philosophical texts whose ideologies are vogue in culture and criticism.

2.     The form of the visual novel is gaining popularity, and might find some use value in education (is it serious game, edutainment, or literary).

3.     The issues of digital learning—to code in Python, techniques for storyboarding, and translation issues—are paramount.

Biography: Dana Milstein joined Yale ITS as the Academic Technology Specialist to the Humanities in May 2014. Dana earned a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature at the CUNY Graduate Center, where she also completed a certificate in Instructional Technology and Interactive Pedagogy, and a M.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies at NYU. She held faculty and academic technologist positions in the Humanities at several New York universities and distance education institutions, and worked as a freelance curriculum designer and writer for the W. W. Norton series for World Literature and World Drama. Initially trained as a classical saxophonist, Dana enjoys songwriting and learning new instruments. Her hobbies include fiber arts, gaming, yoga, and manuscript illumination. She is a specialist in Nineteenth Century French and German poetry and music, and also researches and participates in anime, video game, and Steampunk material cultures.

Panel Discussion: Friday, September 12th

(RESCHEDULED FROM SPRING)

Interdisciplinary Context of “Slow Dancing”

Friday, September 12, 2014 - 3:00pm to 5:00pm
Location: Yale University Art Gallery Auditorium 
1111 Chapel St. New Haven, CT 06510

Panel discussion with the artist David Michalek and Yale faculty, offering points of view from a wide range of disciplines.

  • Margaret S. Clark, Professor of Psychology and Master of Trumbull College
  • Emily Carson Coates, Lecturer in Theatre Studies
  • Richard O. Prum, William Robertson Coe Professor of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology; Curator of Vertebrate Zoology, Peabody Museum; Professor of Forestry and Environmental Studies
  • Laura Wexler, Professor of Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies and American Studies

 Admission: Free

Open to:  General Public

Contact: Institute of Sacred Music  203-432-5062
 
***IN THE MEANTIME, DON’T MISS THE EXHIBITION!***

Exhibition | David Michalek: Slow Dancing

Slow Dancing at Lincoln Center, 2007
AT YALE:
Wednesday, September 10, 2014 – 8:00pm to Tuesday, September 16, 2014 – 11:00pm
Hours of operation: 8:00-11:00 PM
Location: Cross Campus (outdoors)YALE CAMPUS

Slow Dancing video here.

Presented with support from the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

Additional support from the International
Festival of Arts & Ideas and Site Projects New Haven.

 

 
 

April 22, 2014 — Season Finale

On TuesdayApril 22 from 1pm to 2pm, we will convene at 220 York Street in Room 202 for a group conversation about the state of the field of performance studies as it pertains to our work. We will discuss interdisciplinarity, pedagogy, ideology, institutionalization, professionalization, and other issues in the contemporary academy and broader cultural sphere.

Some questions to kick off discussion will include:

  •  What is the state of performance studies as an interdisciplinary field?
  • In a “disciplinary” institution such as Yale, how does this “interdisciplinary” group serve your work as a teacher and scholar?  How might the group better serve the “interdisciplinary” at Yale and beyond?
  • What are pedagogical strategies that seem to work particularly well when teaching interdisciplinary courses?  (do you define disciplinary borders? are there interdisciplinary methodologies that you have established?)
  • What challenges arise when marketing scholarly work as interdisciplinary (particularly in the realms of publishing and job market)?  What strategies help to meet these challenges?

 

Come prepared for a lively discussion as we send off the 2013-2014 season of PSWG. As always, a light lunch will be served.

April 15, 2014 — Isaiah Matthew Wooden

Black/Power/Nostalgia

Reading Eisa Davis’s semi-autobiographical play, Angela’s Mixtape (2009), alongside Tanya Hamilton’s film, Night Catches Us (2010), this talk investigates the emergence and significance of what I term “Black Power Nostalgia” in contemporary black expressive culture. A remixing of urban ethnographer Michele Boyd’s theorization of “Jim Crow Nostalgia”—what Boyd cite as the reimagining of contemporary blackness through nostalgia for the Jim Crow past—“Black Power Nostalgia” signifies a longing for the past that acknowledges the incredible systemic and personal violences of it as a means to celebrate the ability of resistance movements—notably, Black Power movements—to imagine, if not effect, social change while also opening space to critique investments in the time of progress. I turn to Davis’s play and Hamilton’s film to consider the ways that, through a series of backward glances, both use the leverage of performance to stake a claim for the currency of blackness in and against a moment awash in rhetorics of the “post.

**Join us Tuesday from 1-2 p.m. in room 202 of 220 York. A light, catered lunch will be provided.**

Isaiah Matthew Wooden is a director-dramaturg and Ph.D. Candidate in Theater and Performance Studies at Stanford University with creative and research interests in popular culture and contemporary black theater and performance. His critical writings have appeared in academic journals including Callaloo and Theatre Journal and on popular sites such as The Huffington Post and The Feminist Wire, among others. Isaiah’s dissertation, “The Afterwards of Blackness: Race, Time, and Contemporary Performance,” analyzes the aesthetic strategies and practices that contemporary black cultural producers deploy to critique concepts of normative or “modern” temporality. Isaiah is currently a Guest Artist in Theater and Performance Studies at Georgetown University, where he is directing Robert O’Hara’s Insurrection: Holding History.

April 8, 2014 — Dominika Laster

Discussion of Back to Back Theatre’s Ganesh Versus the Third Reich 

(from the Back to Back website) The story begins with the elephant-headed god Ganesh travelling through Nazi Germany to reclaim the Swastika, an ancient Hindu symbol. As this intrepid hero embarks on his journey a second narrative is revealed: the actors themselves begin to feel the weighty responsibility of storytellers and question the ethics of cultural appropriation.

Cleverly interwoven in the play’s design is the story of a young man inspired to create a play about Ganesh, god of overcoming obstacles. He is an everyman who must find the strength to overcome the difficulties in his own life, and defend his play and his collaborators against an overbearing colleague.

The show is made before our very eyes and takes on its own life. It invites us to examine who has the right to tell a story and who has the right to be heard. It explores our complicity in creating and dismantling the world, human possibility and hope.

Ganesh Versus the Third Reich is a work for the near future, seemingly impossible to make.

Film Screening
Ganesh Versus the Third Reich (Bruce Gladwin, dir.)
Monday, April 7
5:30pm – 7:15pm
220 York Street, Room 202
Group Discussion (light, catered lunch provided)
(Facilitated by Dominika Laster, DUS, Department of Theater Studies)
Tuesday, April 8
1pm – 2pm
220 York Street, Room 202
Dominika Laster is a native of Wrocław, Poland.  Her areas of research include:  20th century theatre, Eastern European theatre, intercultural performance, nonwestern theatre, postcolonial studies, immigration, memory and trauma studies, abjection, and the politics of performance.  In addition to her scholarly research, Laster has worked as a director and performer in work ranging from pantomime to opera.