Posts Tagged ‘scholarship’

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: BODY KNOWLEDGE AND CONTROL


evans

Given the recent focus on embodied knowledge in dance and dance studies, I would like to draw attention to the field of physical education. Both dance and “physical education” are founded on the notion of education through and of the body. It is also true that in many schools and colleges one can get “phys. ed.” credit for taking dance classes. Yet the world of professional and experimental dance still feels very divorced from the world of physical education.

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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: 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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Masculinity and Embodied Practice

Video with interview and clips from the symposium.

http://vimeo.com/14096802

Thanks to Ivo for making this video!

Ben Spatz
Artistic Director
Urban Research Theater
MR-AIR 2010-2012

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