Posts Tagged ‘politics’

Scholar’s Corner: THE PRACTICE TURN IN CONTEMPORARY THEORY

I hope everyone is surviving (and thriving) in this hot summer city. Meanwhile, I have saved perhaps the most difficult book for last.

schatzki_et_al

The Practice Turn in Contemporary Theory, edited by Theodore R. Schatzki, Karen Knorr Cetina, and Eike von Savigny (Routledge, 2001) is a collection of essays on practice from the perspective of social theory. This means that, although many of its examples are drawn from embodied practice — some even from the performing arts — it is most of all concerned with practice in the broadest sense: “fighting together, hunting together, sailing together, singing together, even, in the present-day world, doing science together” (25).

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Scholar’s Corner: PERFORMANCE AFFECTS

thompson

James Thompson’s Performance Affects: Applied Theatre and the End of Affect (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009) opens with the story of a massacre in a Sri Lankan “rehabilitation centre” for former child soldiers. Most chillingly of all, Thompson suspects that a program of applied theatre that ran in the camp several months before the massacre may have been part of what led up to the killings. Not in a direct way, of course. But Thompson wonders if this program, which he was in charge of, was part of the Sri Lankan government’s overall political strategy. In other words, he wonders if his theatre work was in this instance unwittingly complicit with the machinations of the Sri Lankan government — part of its own effort to perform respectable statehood on the stage of international politics.

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Scholar’s Corner: YOGA BODY

singleton

Today’s book is Yoga Body: The Origins of Modern Posture Practice by Mark Singleton (Oxford University Press, 2010). This is one of the first scholarly works on yoga in its modern “postural” form, as distinct from studies of Hindu religions and yoga more broadly conceived. In coining the phrase “modern postural yoga,” Singleton points to the current focus on asanas that dominates discussions of yoga in the United States. He traces the development of this focus to the early twentieth century and shows how the what is now called “yoga” may owe as much to modern European physical culture as it does to ancient Indian religious practice.

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Scholar’s Corner: POLITICS OF PIETY

As a doctoral student at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, I am currently preparing to take the long-awaited “Second Examination” in August. This consists of a rigorous set of written and oral exams on three scholarly fields that I myself have defined. In this way it is unlike the much broader “First Examination,” which covered all of theatre history and theory in the widest possible scope.

My three fields are as follows:

1) “Approaches to Embodied Practice” (30 books)

2) “Actor Training in the U.S. since 1930” (25 books)

3) “Affect, Politics, and Performance” (25 books)

With the idea that these topics could be of interest to the Movement Research community, I will be posting brief discussions of some of my favorite books here throughout the month of July. Each of the books I will address was published in the past ten years, and each is excellent overall. They are all scholarly works, although some are more accessible in tone and language than others. I hope that these blog entries will point theory-minded practitioners towards some new ideas in emerging scholarship — and perhaps tempt some scholars to the website of Movement Research.

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