BRING IT IN: TRANSNATIONAL FEMINISMS IN PRACTICE
2019 Summer Institute in Performance Studies
Funded by The Center for Global Culture and Communication
July 8-12, 2019
**Monday, July 8th**
10-11:30 am Introductions and Logistics (Marcela Fuentes/Danielle Ross)
11:30am-12:30pm Student Presentations
• Robin Conrad (Texas Woman’s University), “Individuality, Intimacy, and Loss: Subjecthood and Community in a Post-Kinetic World”
• Malú Machuca Rose (University of Wisconsin, Madison/Northwestern University), “La Noche es de las Cabras: Queer and Trans Survival in postwar Lima”
1:30-4pm Open Presentation and Seminar: Jennifer C. Nash (Northwestern University)*
“Performing Black Feminism: Beauty, Risk, Vulnerability”
Performing Black Feminism takes seriously writing as a black feminist practice, and explores how ethics and aesthetics of beauty, risk, and vulnerability have come to be the centerpiece of the black feminist theoretical and political project. Through a close engagement with work by Nicole Fleetwood, Bettina Judd, Karla FC Holloway, and Christina Sharpe, we will collectively explore writing as a black feminist act, and consider what forms and practices of writing have come to mark the black feminist theoretical archive.
• Nicole Fleetwood, “Posing in Prison: Family Photographs, Emotional Labor, and Carceral Intimacy,” Public Culture 27 (2015): 487-511.
• Bettina Judd, “Sapphire as Praxis: Toward a Methodology of Anger,” Feminist Studies
45.1 (2019): 178-208.
• Karla FC Holloway, Passed On prologue – p. 9-15.
• Christina Sharpe, In the Wake, ch 1.
4-5:30pm Student Presentations
• Michell Miller (Northwestern University), “Womb Metaphor: Exploring Sacred Circles”
• Troizel D.L. Carr (New York University), “beychella: a lesson on citation, form, and
• Tara Asgar (School of the Art Institute of Chicago), “B-Desh (Home is a Foreign Place)”
**Tuesday, July 9th**
10-12pm Open Presentation and Seminar: Danielle Bainbridge (Northwestern University)*
“Medical and Musical Instruments: Staging Contemporary Performance out of 19th C
Freak Show Archives”
Millie-Christine McKoy (b. 1851) and Thomas “Blind Tom” Wiggins (b. 1849) were 19th
century enslaved performers who traveled the world as medical anomalies, performing freaks, and musicians into the early years of the 20th century. Although their remaining archives prove unreliable in locating their unmediated autobiographies, the documents of their musical legacies offer blueprints of their performance strategies. My ongoing book project Refinements of Cruelty explores the tension between the pleasure derived from these extraordinary acts of performance and the violent conditions under which they were made. Out of my archival research I’ve created a performance piece titled Curio. In collaboration with undergraduate performers and faculty at the University of Pennsylvania (notably student composer Elias Kotsis and director Professor Rosemary Malague), I had the McKoys’ lyrics set to handbell music and sung in harmony, because bells were frequently used for torture devices meant to sound the alarm if repeatedly fugitive slaves attempted to escape. In this talk I will evaluate the ethics of creating new artistic work out of these archival remnants.
• Saidiya Hartman, Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Social
Upheaval (Book One).
12-1pm Lunch + Gervais Marsh (Northwestern University), “untitled”
1-3:30pm Open Presentation and Seminar: Laura G. Gutiérrez (The University of Texas at Austin)*
“Thinking about Cockroaches, Axolotls, and Mermaids in Transnational Latinx and Mexican Performance”
This presentation and seminar address the ways in which contemporary Latinx and Mexican performances use non- or half-human creatures for their personas/characters to transition into. In doing so, create transnational feminist possibilities that are actively engaging environmental and migratory issues, as well as those associated with state-sponsored violence and that affect gendered, sexualized, and racialized bodies. Some of the artists whose work we will draw from are Xandra Ibarra (aka La Chica Boom), Naomi Rincón Gallardo, and Lía García.
• Christina A. León, “Forms of Opacity: Roaches, Blood, and Being Stuck in Xandra Ibarra’s Corpus.” ASAP/Journal, Volume 2, Number 2 (2017): 369-394.
• Cynthia Delgado Huitrón, “Haptic Tactic Hypertenderness for the [Mexican] State and the Performances of Lia García,” TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly, Volume 6, Number 2 (2019): 164-179.
3:30-4:30pm Student Presentations
• Nitya Seshadri Vedantam (SUNY Buffalo), “Performed Gestures of “Strange” Femininity: Queering the Oppression of Widows in India”
• Ashley Ferrell (Northwestern University), “Remediating Rhetoric, Race, and Institutional Recognition”
4:30-5:30pm Student Presentations
• Benjamin Zender (Northwestern University), “junk”
• Cordelia Rizzo (Northwestern University), “Transnational Affective Mapping”
**Wednesday, July 10th**
10-12:30pm Workshop: Marie Bardet (IDAES- UNSAM, Argentina)
“Making a Front with our Backs”
When the striking power of recent feminist waves such as those that originate in Argentina touch us, what ways/tools do we have to register and map these movements, these struggles, and the new forces they put in motion? Participating in assemblies, marching at night, making a women’s strike, accompanying friends who want to end a pregnancy, engaging with bodily methods of “awareness through movement”: how do we think and share these processes as “new forces”? And if we take these as more than a glorious “super body” ready for the fight, in what part of our lives-bodies, of our practices-thoughts, do we make room for a “force” that does not block (Amparo Gonzalez)? How much does this feminist moving-thinking experience engage other ways of “looking at” beyond oculocentrism, of “surrendering the pattern of facing a single direction” (Deborah Hay)? In which way do gestures that “make” and “listen” at the same time disarm the active/passive binary opposition, and with it the feminine/masculine hegemonic ways of binary subjectivation? How do these forces allow us to also break the imperative of happiness and success embedded in “winner versus loser” political narratives?
• Marie Bardet, “Hacer frente con nuestras espaldas/ Making a Front with Our Backs.” Esferas. Issue 9 (2019). New York University.
• Donna Haraway, “Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective.” Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature, 183-201.
• Marie Bardet, “Saberes Gestuales: Epistemologías, estéticas y políticas de un «cuerpo danzante». Enrahonar. An International Journal of Theoretical and Practical Reason 60 (2018): 13-28.
1:30-2:30 pm Student Presentations
• Themal Ellawala (University of Illinois at Chicago), “Uncertain Grammars, Ambiguous Desires: Towards a Sexual Politic of Indeterminacy in Sri Lanka”
• Candice Merritt (Northwestern University), “Between You and Me– Somewhere, a Trinity”
2:30pm-4:30pm Presentation and Seminar: Shayna Silverstein (Northwestern University)
“Towards a Feminist Geopolitics of Listening: Soundscapes in/of Displacement and Migration”
Mapping space through acts of listening is generally considered a critical and creative method for decentering perceptions of the habitual and making audible the presence of marginalized spaces and subjects. This session invites students to examine what modes of knowledge and power structures are reproduced through processes of territorializing sound and spatializing lived experience through sonic phenomena, and to ask how a feminist geopolitics might reimagine the possibilities of sonic cartography. Listening to soundscapes of Syrian displacement as case studies, we will engage with discourses of feminist geopolitics that center embodied, communal, and intimate processes of worldmaking as radical acts of care, refuge, and justice.
• Deborah P. Dixon, “What can a Feminist Geopolitics Do?” Feminist Geopolitics: Material States (2015): 1-19.
• Sara Ahmed, “Home and Away: Narratives of Migration and Estrangement,” International Journal of Cultural Studies 2.3 (1999): 329-47.
• Jessie Hanna Clark, “Feminist Geopolitics and the Middle East: Refuge, Belief, and Peace.” Geography Compass (2017). https://doi.org/10.1111/gec3.12304
• Antonella Radicchi. “A Pocket Guide to Soundwalking” (2017).
• Shayna Silverstein, “Syrian Bodies, Sonic Ruptures.” [in]Transition: Journal of Videographic and Moving Image Studies. 6.2 (2019) http://mediacommons.org/intransition/syrian-bodies-sonic-ruptures
• Soundscapes of Hamra (Lebanon), Baadawi camp (Lebanon), Beyoglu (Turkey), and Athens (Greece), all courtesy of Refugee Hosts: https://refugeehosts.org/readings-andsoundscapes/
4:30-5:30 Midpoint Reflections
**Thursday, July 11th**
10-noon Open Presentation and Seminar: Mabel Rodríguez Centeno (Universidad de Puerto Rico)*
“Antiproductivism and (trans)feminism in times of trap and indebtedness”
In Puerto Rico, a colonial and borderline space, the indebtedness and its familiar neoliberal adjustments work as death machines that divest our futures. In this context, the narco-culture and mafialization of life take advantage of the deconstruction of the work space and the known political system to install themselves as material alternatives. For Puerto Ricans, laziness works as a historical stigma. The supposed indolence of the inhabitants tries to explain a discourse of material, moral, and political backwardness that has justified colonialism throughout history. In this theoretical-political proposal, we try to uncover what lies behind the insult of the labor mandate over the bodies-for-work, heirs to slavery and peonage. This is to say, that slavery towards work is inescapable even in the post-work that confines us to the most precarious culture of attempt, or the dark and profitable occupations of the narco-reality. This is how we understand that the rejection to work in relation to a rejection to masculinity, and a rejection to heterosexual capitalism as a way to embrace queer laziness as an anticapitalist and post-identity proposal.
• Maurizio Lazzarato, The Making of the Indebted Man, Introduction.
• Maurizio Lazzarato, Governing by Debt, pp. 245-255.
• Sayak Valencia, Gore Capitalism, chapters 1, 2 and 5.
1-2pm Student Presentations
• Arnaldo Rodríguez-Bagué (Northwestern University), “Caribbean Snow Wars: The
Anthropocene’s Transcolonial Geoperformances of the Insular”
• Laura Pérez Muñoz (Harvard University), “The Intersex Body as Site of Contention: Translating the Liminality of Subjectivity in Mami, Yo, y Mi Gallito by Arisleyda Dilone”
2pm-3:30pm Open Artist Presentation: Keijaun Thomas (Independent Artist)*
“She Really Good At What She Do”
“My Last American Dollar: Round 1. Tricking and Flipping Coins: Making Dollars Hit, Round 2. Black Angels in the Infield: Dripping Faggot Sweat, Round 3. Whatchu Gonna Do: Marvelous like Marva” I am thinking about resistance. How do we resist temptation, how do we slow down, how do we play, how do we survive? I have been thinking about 5 spaces/ environments that frame my research: Locker Rooms, Strip Clubs, Waiting Rooms, Church pews and Field Days. In “My last American Dollar” I build a “waiting room” inside of a room. Church pews and benches become spaces for audience members to watch me and themselves. Sometimes I am her, I am your dancer. My back sweat is your holy water our locker room. My speech becomes locker room talk, the “boys” playing in the field. The project investigates forms in which black and brown people hold space for each other, how do you carry the multiplicities of being young, gifted and black.
3:30-5pm Open Workshop: Joshua Chambers-Letson (Northwestern University)*
“Dark Divisions of Labor: Keijaun Thomas’ ‘My Last American Dollar’”
• Essay to be circulated on June 5th
5-5:30pm Student Presentations
• Ron (Romi) Morrison (University of Southern California), “Sedimentary Exits”
5:30pm-8pm Time on your own
8pm Chicago Dinner and Outing for Institute Students
**Friday, July 12th**
10-noon Workshop: Praba Pilar (Independent Scholar and Artist)
“Temporary Utopias in the Necro Techno Complex”
This workshop operates from a dismantling of the global architecture of the Necro-Techno Complex. Data brokers Amazon, Google/Alphabet, and Facebook are the quasi-military institutions of the global apparatus of surveillance capitalism that carry forward the Doctrine of Discovery and the Framework of Dominance. The lieutenants and sicarios of these large Tech Cartels create sinister tech trade conflict zones which seize biopower from modern states, obliterate sovereignty, and intensify the commodification of biological life across the globe into a necropolitical extrajudicial colony. What are queer approaches to temporality, ruins, demobilization and dismantling? How are bodies engaging the illicit syndicates that have generated the global ruins of modernity? Where can we locate pluriversal ruptures, glitches, inversions and utopias? We will engage with experimental approaches, embodied exercises, and dialogue to catalyze imaginaries of individual and collective agency.
• Praba Pilar, “Situating the Web of the Necro-Techno Complex: The Church of Nano Bio Info Cogno.” Performance, Religion, and Spirituality. Spiritual and Religious Dynamics of Activism and Protest, Vol 1, No. https://www.utdl.edu/ojs/index.php/prs/article/view/190
• Browse, Issue #13 of ADA, A Journal of Gender, New Media and Technology. https://adanewmedia.org/issues/issue-archives/issue13/
• Hackers of Resistance. “h0rd14r13z.” Ada: Journal of Gender, New Media, and Technology. Issue #13 https://adanewmedia.org/2018/05/issue13-hors/
Noon-1pm Student Presentations
• Mariam Karim (University of Toronto), “Transnational Feminisms and Media from the Arab World”
• Susana Costa Amaral (New York University), “What Can An Open Body Do?”
2-3:30pm Student Presentations
• Roy Gómez Cruz (Northwestern University), “Circus Drag, Performagia and Hair Haging:
Performing Gender and Sexuality in Transnational Circus Territories”
• Cara K. Snyder (University of Maryland), “Making Visible Making Worlds: The Queer Athletavisim of Brazilian Futebolistas”
• Amy Swanson (Northwestern University), “Strategic Incoherence in the Work of Fatou Cissé”
3:30-5:00pm Institute Concluding Session
* Indicates Open Talk. All welcome.