Icy Lake, a short film and discussion with director and Yale Phd student Wills Glasspiegel
Month: September 2014
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 But by the end of the century, the term had been replaced by a new one: “atlas,” named after Gerhard Mercator’s 1595 Atlas or cosmographic meditations.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.
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.”