March 4, 2014 — Joseph Roach

Dangerous Men and Smart Women:  The Persistent Eighteenth Century

In a world of rake-hells, war-mongers, and the women who love them, a family tragedy unfolds against the backdrop of the threatened outbreak of global war among the European nations and their colonies.  Sir Charles Hanbury-Williams, British Ambassador to Russia, holds the key to world peace and the romantic fates of his two unmarried daughters back in England.  They write affectionate letters trying to distract him with lively descriptions of David Garrick’s latest acting triumphs at Drury Lane, but Sir Charles is tortured by the terrible secret that has estranged him from his wife and threatens his very sanity.   What is that secret?  Will he negotiate peace at home (literally) and abroad before he goes completely bonkers? Will his beloved Frances and little Charlotte find happiness?  Will Garrick’s Lear make a difference?

Come to PSWG this Tuesday and find out

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

Joseph Roach, Sterling Professor of Theater at Yale University, is President of the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies.  His research explores the enduring legacy of eighteenth-century art, literature, and culture in the subsequent history of performance.  His books include Cities of the Dead: Circum-Atlantic Performance, which won the James Russell Lowell Prize for the best book by a member of the Modern Language Association in 1997, and his articles on the eighteenth-century stage have appeared in Eighteenth-Century Studies, The Eighteenth Century:  Theory and Interpretation, Modern Language Quarterly, PMLA, and elsewhere.  As a director, he has staged a number of plays and operas from the period, including Goldsmith’s She Stoops to Conquer, Haydn’s La Cantarina, and Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas.

February 25, 2014 — Elise Morrison

Through the Looking Glass: Performing Gender in Surveillance Art

While surveillance technologies are commonly figured as masculine, protective instruments of patriarchal power, referred to as “the Man” and “Big Brother,” there is a particular blind spot in cultural studies of surveillance when it comes to critically examining the gaze of surveillance as gendered and gendering. My presentation addresses this oversight by exploring the work of surveillance artists that stage surveillance as a “technology of gender”, a term coined by feminist film theorist Teresa de Lauretis to describe dominant visual media, such as Hollywood cinema, that produce and maintain gender norms. I explore a feminist line of inquiry in these works that, while they do not all draw explicit allegiances to feminism, are implicitly in conversation with feminist approaches to defining, critiquing, and building alternatives to a disciplinary “male gaze” in visual culture. We will look at work by artists and activists such as Jill Magid, Steve Mann, Mona Hatoum, and Giles Walker that make visible the gendered and gendering gaze of surveillance, and produce alternative, even transgressive performances of gender under and through surveillance.

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

Elise received her PhD in Theatre and Performance Studies from Brown University in 2011 and is currently a postdoctoral associate in Interdisciplinary Performance Studies at Yale.  Her book project, Discipline and Desire: Surveillance Technologies in Performance, forthcoming from University of Michigan Press, looks at artists who strategically employ technologies of surveillance to create performances and installations that pose new and different ways of interacting with and understanding apparatuses of surveillance.

February 18, 2014 — Elizabeth Wiet

Minor Maximalisms: Theater and the American Novel Since 1960

What would it mean to disentangle American experimental theater from historical narratives of twentieth-century music, visual art, and poetry, and to re-entangle it with the history of twentieth-century fiction?  In my dissertation, I explore the confluences of experimental theater and experimental fiction in the United States from 1960 to the present by tracking their mutual use of a “maximalist” aesthetic. Given its interest in historicity, publicity, and various forms of play, I argue that the aesthetic dimensions of the maximalist novel are acutely theatrical—and it is for this reason that maximalism provides a particularly crucial point of entrance into the intersections between these two forms. Though each chapter of my dissertation draws on the work of a number of different artists, they are structured around the pairing of one theater artist with one novelist: in the first chapter, Thomas Pynchon and Jack Smith; in the second, William Gaddis and Robert Wilson; in the third, Kathy Acker and Laurie Anderson; in the fourth, David Foster Wallace and The Nature Theater of Oklahoma.

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

Elizabeth Wiet is a third-year PhD student in the department of English at Yale University.