1st Edition

Migration in Performance Crossing the Colonial Present

By Caleb Johnston, Geraldine Pratt Copyright 2019
    204 Pages 37 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    204 Pages 37 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book follows the travels of Nanay, a testimonial theatre play developed from research with migrant domestic workers in Canada, as it was recreated and restaged in different places around the globe. This work examines how Canadian migration policy is embedded across and within histories of colonialism in the Philippines and settler colonialism in Canada. Translations between scholarship and performance – and between Canada and the Philippines – became more uneasy as the play travelled internationally, raising pressing questions of how decolonial collaborations might take shape in practice. This book examines the strengths and limits of existing framings of Filipina migration and offers rich ideas of how care – the care of children, the elderly and each other – might be rethought in radically new ways within less violently unequal relations that span different colonial histories and complex triangulations of racialised migrants, settlers and Indigenous peoples.

    This book is a journey towards a new way of doing and performing research and theory. It is part of a growing interdisciplinary exchange between the performing arts and social sciences and will appeal to researchers and students within human geography and performance studies, and those working on migration, colonialisms, documentary theatre and social reproduction.

    Introduction: Labour Migration and a Travelling Play  1. Performing a Research Archive  2. Travelling with Baggage to the Philippines  3. Knocked Off Script: Refusal, Improvisation and Disposability  4. Migration, Settler Colonialism and Other Futures  Conclusion: Relations, Refusals and Openings


    Caleb Johnston is a Lecturer in Human Geography at Newcastle University.

    Geraldine Pratt is a Professor of Geography and Canada Research Chair in Transnationalism and Precarious Labour at the University of British Columbia.

    "Johnston and Pratt have offered us some vision of hope for how we can help constitute a truly democratic politics in the face of other troubling capitalist trends"
    -Lieba Faier, University of California, Los Angeles

    "Caleb Johnston and Geraldine Pratt’s Migration in Performance is a thought-provoking, careful, inspiring, and well-written book. While presenting as an academic text, the book’s contents belie this reality, pushing readers to disrupt divisions that too often hive social science off from the performing arts. The authors exit the confining boundaries of social science to write at the fuzzy, fertile intersections between performance and scholarship, humanities and social science, art and migration."
    -Alison Mountz, Wilfrid Laurier University

    "This is a book full of stories about people who are transformed, who are ripped apart from families, who are mourning and who are fighting, whose stories are lives and whose lives are stories. A book about witnesses who are physically and emotionally moved through performance. A book about global circuits of power and disempowerment, a book about change, a book about crying and laughing and eating and packing luggage and flying and meeting people and being appalled and being confused and making friends and being taken down a peg or two and about learning and caring. "
    -Sarah de Leeuw, University of Northern British Columbia

    "It is rare to feel, in reading an academic book, that one has traveled with the authors on a journey where the subject of the book quivers with uncertain being, both mutating and persisting as a thing that is also occasion and scene for the ensemble of unexpected questions and connections."
    -Neferti X. M. Tadiar, Barnard College, Columbia University