Publication of Performance Research Issue

Cover of Performance Research issue on “Performing Publics” (vol. 16, no. 2). Photo entitled Brugge 1, 2005, an installation by Spencer Tunick.

In 2010-2011, we produced a special issue of the journal Performance Research (vol. 16, no. 2) based on the theme of the Performing Publics conference in Toronto, 2010. Many contributors developed work presented at the conference and a few pieces were commissioned from artists and scholars who have been doing interesting work on this topic. The editors of the issue were Melanie Bennett, Laura Levin, Marlis Schweitzer, and Richard Gough.

This collection explores how the term “public” has reverberated through performance studies by taking up several genealogies and meanings of the term. More importantly, it demonstrates how a performance studies perspective can revise, extend, challenge, and enliven existing notions of publics and publicness and offer new strategies for thinking about and engaging with global transformations. Performance Studies has helped to frame the idea of “public” as an imagined social totality and as a performative relation between individuals. This sense of the term resonates with what Michael Warner has famously dubbed “publics” and “counterpublics,” calling to mind the complex processes by which individuals avow and disavow membership within various groups, discourses, and social worlds. The contributors to this collection examine the enactment of “public” both as a form of social activism—a means rehearsing, querying, and producing alternative forms of local and global citizenship—and also as a form of social legitimation and exclusion. They remind us that the idea of “public” is inseparable from the body and argue for the centrality of affect in moving beyond public/private binaries and in articulating political identities.

The Performing Publics issue was launched on 25 May 2011 at the PSi Conference at the Utrecht City Theatre (Utrecht, Netherlands).

To purchase a copy of the issue, click here

Performing Publics, Performance Research Vol. 16, No. 2

Click here for a full table of contents 

Introduction by Laura Levin and Marlis Schweitzer

Section 1: Public Spheres
Articles by: Shannon Jackson, Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan, Janelle Reinelt, Louise Owen, Ryan Hartigan, Sharon Mazer, Erica Stevens Abbitt, Johanna Frank, Geraldine Harris, and Roberta Mock, Megan Macdonald, Claire Maria Chambers

Section 2: Public Feelings
Articles by: Kate Welch, Lindsay B. Cummings, Jazmin Badong Llana, Rachel Hall, T. Nikki Cesare

Section 3: Public Spaces
Articles by: Jen Harvie, Bree Hadley, Sigrid Merx, Keren Zaiontz, Kirsten Pullen

Section 4: Public Records
Articles by: Cecilia Aldarondo, Janine Marchessault, Michael J. Prokopow, Jessica Nakamura, Jane Blocker

Final Reflection

Article by: Jill Dolan