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Faculty Lecture Series

The Center for World Performance Studies Faculty Lecture Series features our Faculty Fellows and visiting scholars and practitioners in the fields of ethnography and performance. Designed to create an informal and intimate setting for intellectual exchange among students, scholars, and the community, faculty are invited to present their work in an interactive and performative fashion.

Winter 2018 Faculty Lectures

Damani Partridge
Four Years of Filming the Future: Berlin and Detroit

Tuesday, 1/30 at 6:30pm
East Quad Room 1405

Professor Partridge’s Filming Future Cities project uses film as a critical means to investigate urban futures and engage a broader public, building on his ongoing collaborative film projects in Detroit and Berlin: “Filming the Future of Detroit,’’ and “Filming the Future from Berlin: Noncitizen Perspectives,’’ begun in 2014 (see The point of the project is not only to teach refugees, migrants, youth, and noncitizens the skills required for filmmaking, ethnography, and critical analysis of urban landscapes, but also to teach them how to distribute their work to a broader audience and to participate in the planning for and imagination of their city’s future. Using the project’s films as examples, this talk will think through the efficacy of using film as a technique for shaping the future.

Kelly Askew
Postsocialist Poetics: Articulations of Populist Politics in Tanzania

Tuesday, 2/20 at 6:30pm
East Quad Room 1405

Professor Askew presents the research findings for her current book project, exploring how Tanzanians and Zanzibaris musically and poetically respond to the changes that have taken place since the unraveling of socialism in the mid-1980s. With a focus on popularly produced poetry in Swahili-language newspapers or performed as Swahili rap, this talk explores how ordinary citizens interpret, enact and react to the fusing of socialist and neoliberal practices and ideologies in the United Republic of Tanzania. 

Emily Wilcox
Moonwalking in Beijing: Michael Jackson, Piliwu, and the Origins of Chinese Hip-Hop

Tuesday, 3/13 at 6:30pm
East Quad Room 1405

During the latter half of the 1980s, a popular dance craze known as "piliwu" 霹雳舞 swept urban communities across China. Incorporating two new styles of U.S. urban popular dance--New York-based b-boying/b-girling or "breaking" and California-based popping and locking-- piliwu was China's first localized movement of hip-hop culture, which reflected new circuits of intercultural exchange between China and the United States during the first decade of China's Reform Era. Analyzing the dance choreography recorded in a 1988 Chinese film, Rock Youth 摇滚青年 (dir. Tian Zhangzhuang), together with media reports and testimonials from members of China's piliwu generation, this talk reconstructs the history of the piliwu movement, arguing for the central influence of U.S. pop culture icon Michael Jackson, the growth of China's underground commercial dance (zou xue 走穴) economy, and the agency of dancers' bodies in transnational movements of media culture. 

Fall 2017 Faculty Lectures

Eryn Rosenthal
Dance and Dialogue: Human Contact and Democracy

Tuesday, 9/26 at 6pm
East Quad Room 1405
Space Limited, Registration Required

How can the body be a laboratory for examining dialogue, choice-making, roles and habits? In this interactive workshop, choreographer and King-Chavez-Parks Visiting Professor Eryn Rosenthal will share some of her research on the connections between a dance form called Contact Improvisation and the political writings of Steve Biko, Ada Colau, Paolo Freire, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, Judith Butler, and others. What can the body bring to larger discussions of dialogue-building, diversity, inclusion, and empowerment?

Anita Gonzalez
International Theatre for Social Change: Community Liaisons

Tuesday, 10/24 at 6pm
East Quad Room 1405

The presentation discusses three projects for social change based in Liverpool UK, Johannesburg South Africa, and with Chippewa communities of the Upper Peninsula and Canada.  Two of the projects focus on activism against gender-based violence and one explores Black identities in international context. Gonzalez discussed how social activist interventions can manifest as performance-based projects, academic writings, or public scholarship. Community-based activism requires ongoing engagement with partner organizations working for common goals.


Amy Chavasse

Tuesday, 11/14 at 6pm
East Quad Room 1405

Professor Chavasse presents research from her travels to the Malta Festival in Poznan, Poland, and to Berlin, Germany where she created a new dance work for Tanz Tangente. In Poznan, the panoply of dance, music and theater events focused on the festival theme-- The Balkans Platform, (Platforma Blakany), with the title of "We The People", analogous to our "not my president" protests. Chavasse will discuss the highly politicized works she witnessed as an audience member, posing questions about gender politics and social inequality and autocracy. She will also discuss the creation of a new dance created with Tanz Tangente in Berlin, called "Little Monsters,” in which movement exploration centered around pulsing, agitation, manipulation and absence.