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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.

Faculty Lecture Series

Fall 2022

Marc Hannaford
Tuesday, 11/15 at 7:30pm
Watkins Lecture Hall
Earl V. Moore Building
1100 Baits Dr.
Free and open to the public.

Marc Hannaford Assistant Professor of Music Theory and CWPS 2022 Faculty Fellow will share about his ongoing research into African American music theorists.

Hannaford will share some of the detailsof his archival research into the music theoretical work of Mary Lou Williams and Sonny Rollins. Examining unseen sketches, scores, and unpublished book drafts from these two giants of Black American music, Hannaford suggests some of the ways that music theory functions in Black creative practice, as well as how it helps affirm Black life and agency. 

2019-2020 Faculty Lectures

Malcolm Tulip
Tuesday, 9/10 at 6pm
East Quad 

Nachiket Chanchani
Tuesday, 10/8 at 6pm
East Quad Keene Theater

Xiao Dong Hottman-Wei
Tuesday, 11/5 at 6pm
East Quad Keene Theater


2018-2019 Faculty Lectures

Mike McGovern
Creating a Narcissism of Small Differences: Cultural Politics in a Multiethnic Village in Shan State, Myanmar

Tuesday, 10/9, 6pm 
East Quad Room 1405 

Mbala Nkanga
Memory of Violence in Peaceful Performance: An Inquiry into the Development of Theatre and Performance Practices in Francophone Africa

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

This presentation presents the preliminary findings on the use of memory of the violent past in popular artistic expressions, performances and plays in Central Africa. It explores the use of myths such as the Mvett of the Fang people of Gabon and historical figures like Lumumba and Mulele, along with the violent events surrounding their existence. 

E.J. Westlake
Walk Toward the Sunset: 
Outdoor Historical Drama and Appalachian Ethnicity 

Tuesday, 1/29 at 6pm
Walgreen Drama Center, Room B207 

Kermit Hunter became famous for his outdoor historical dramas, Unto These Hills and Horn in the West, dramas that are still performed in Appalachia today. His play Walk Toward the Sunset is credited with helping the Melungeon people of Appalachia, a group sociologists categorized as “tri-racial isolates,” gain popular acceptance. This talk explores how Hunter’s play frames Melungeon identity, particularly when considering Hunter’s popularity as a writer of “Indian drama,” and how the narrative holds up to new DNA evidence about Melungeon origins. 

Petra Kuppers
Queer Spiritual Drifting:
Site-Specific Performance and Writing 

Tuesday, 4/2 at 6pm
Walgreen Drama Center, Room B207 

How can drifting find space on the page? Let’s think together about connections between performance practice and writing, about embodiment and the page, and about widening audiencing procedures for performance. In 2017, Petra Kuppers travelled to Belgium and the Netherlands as part of an Olimpias disability performance exploration of queer spiritual asylum spaces. In this talk, Petra will discuss these performance actions and the resulting publication, a travelogue essay in Performance Research, ‘Queer Spiritual Drifting: Not at home in The Beguinage.’ 

2017-2018 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.

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. 

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. 

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.