1st Edition

Performance Cultures as Epistemic Cultures, Volume I (Re)Generating Knowledges in Performance

    252 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    252 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This volume investigates performances as situated "machineries of knowing" (Karin Knorr Cetina), exploring them as relational processes for, in and with which performers as well as spectators actively (re)generate diverse practices of knowing, knowledges and epistemologies.

    Performance cultures are distinct but interconnected environments of knowledge practice. Their characteristic features depend not least on historical as well as contemporary practices and processes of interweaving performance cultures. The book presents case studies from diverse locations around the globe, including Argentina, Canada, China, Greece, India, Poland, Singapore, and the United States. Authored by leading scholars in theater, performance and dance studies, its chapters probe not only what kinds of knowledges are (re)generated in performances, for example cultural, social, aesthetic and/or spiritual knowledges; the contributions investigate also how performers and spectators practice knowing (and not-knowing) in performances, paying particular attention to practices and processes of interweaving performance cultures and the ways in which they contribute to shaping performances as dynamic "machineries of knowing" today.

    Ideal for researchers, students and practitioners of theater, performance and dance, (Re)Generating Knowledges in Performance explores vital knowledge-serving functions of performance, investigating and emphasizing in particular the impact and potential of practices and processes of interweaving of performance cultures that enable performers and spectators to (re)generate crucial knowledges in increasingly diverse ways.


    List of Figures

    List of Contributors

    Introduction: Performance Cultures as Epistemic Cultures — (Re)Generating Knowledges in Performance

    Torsten Jost

    PART I – (Re)Generating Cultural and Social Knowledges

    1. Building Relations, Engendering Knowledge: Te Rēhia Theatre’s SolOthello in Toronto
    2. Ric Knowles

    3. Contesting the Povāḍā as an Epistemological Mode: History, Form and Performance
    4. Kedar Arun Kulkarni

    5. Kaṭṭaikkūttu as Practice-Based Knowledge
    6. Hanne M. de Bruin

      PART II – (Re)Generating Aesthetic Knowledges

    7. Aesthetic Knowledge and Aesthetic Experience
    8. Erika Fischer-Lichte

    9. What Knowledges Do Dance Viewers Generate?
    10. Susan Leigh Foster

    11. Learning "to be Affected": Attaining "Relational Knowledge" through Interweaving in Acting
    12. Phillip Zarrilli

      PART III – (Re)Generating Spiritual Knowledges

    13. On Being and Unknowing: Moving with an "Other" in Capoeira, Contact Improvisation and Queer Tango
    14. Ann Cooper Albright

    15. Approaching Practices of Acting through Concepts of Daoist Philosophy
    16. Lynette Hunter


    17. Teatr ZAR’s Song Theater as Spiritual Knowledge
    18. Maria Shevtsova

    Coda: Meditation on Not-Knowing

    Christel Weiler



    Contributor Bios

    Ann Cooper Albright is professor and chair of the Department of Dance at Oberlin College. She received an MFA in dance at Temple University, and a PhD in performance studies at New York University. Combining her interests in dancing and cultural theory, including phenomenology, gender, sexuality and feminist studies, Albright teaches a variety of courses that seek to engage students in both practices and theories of the body. Her publications include How to Land: Finding Ground in an Unstable World (2017), Engaging Bodies: the Politics and Poetics of Corporeality (2013), which won the Selma Jeanne Cohen Prize from the American Society for Aesthetics; Modern Gestures: Abraham Walkowitz Draws Isadora Duncan Dancing (2010); Traces of Light: Absence and Presence in the Work of Loie Fuller (2007); and Choreographing Difference: the Body and Identity in Contemporary Dance (1997).

    Erika Fischer-Lichte is director of the International Research Center "Interweaving Performance Cultures" at Freie Universität Berlin. From 1973 to 1996, she was Professor of Modern German Literature, Comparative Literature and Theater Studies at the universities of Frankfurt am Main, Bayreuth and Mainz. In 1996, she joined the faculty of the Theater and Performance Studies department at Freie Universität Berlin. Between 1995 and 1999, she served as President of the International Federation for Theatre Research. She is a member of the Academia Europaea, the Academy of Sciences, Göttingen, the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina in Halle, and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She has held Visiting Professorships in China, India, Japan, Russia, Norway, Brazil and the US. Her research interests and recent as well as forthcoming publications focus on the interweaving of performance cultures in the context of historical and contemporary forms of globalization; transformative aesthetics; performances of ancient Greek tragedies since 1800 worldwide; and performance-related concepts in non-European languages. Recent monographs (in English) include: The Transformative Power of Performance: A New Aesthetics (2008), The Routledge Introduction to Theater and Performance Studies (2014), Dionysus Resurrected: Performances of Euripides’ The Bacchae in a Globalizing World (2014) and Tragedy’s Endurance: Performances of Greek Tragedies and Cultural Identity in Germany since 1800 (2017).

    Hanne M. de Bruin holds a Ph.D. in Indology from the University of Leiden. Among her books are Kattaikkuttu: The Flexibility of a South Indian Theatre Tradition (1999), the first-ever Tamil- English translation of an all-night Kattaikkuttu play, Karna Moksham or Karna’s Death (1998), and the co-edited volume Between Shame and Fame: Performing Women & Women Performers in India (2011). De Bruin has been a guest lecturer at the School of Arts & Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi and the Performing Arts Department of Ashoka University in Sonepat, Haryana. Together with her husband, Kattaikkuttu actor, director and playwright P. Rajagopal, she founded the Kattaikkuttu Sangam (1990) and Kattaikkuttu Gurukulam (2002– 2020). She works full-time for the Sangam running its secretariat, in addition to fund raising and program planning. She is involved in the Sangam’s new productions as a co-director/dramaturg and a costume designer. Her stay as a research fellow of the International Research Center "Interweaving Performance Cultures," Berlin in 2016, 2017 and 2018 has allowed her to take up academic writing again. Her latest essays discuss a unique collaboration between classical Karnatic music and Kattaikkuttu (and appeared in the Drama Review of Fall 2019 (T243)), Kattaikkuttu’s different performance spaces (in Performance Research 25-6/7) and the making of RāmaRāvaṇā, a critical adaptation of an Indian epic written by P. Rajagopal and co-directed by Rajagopal and De Bruin.

    Susan Leigh Foster, choreographer and scholar, is Distinguished Professor in the Department of World Arts and Cultures at UCLA. She is author of several books and anthologies on dance and corporeality, most recently Valuing Dance: Commodities and Gifts in Motion. A collection of her danced lectures can be found at http://danceworkbook.pcah.us/susan-foster/index.html.

    Lynette Hunter, Professor of the History of Rhetoric and Performance, has written and edited over 30 books and many essays in a range of disciplines, from the history of rhetoric and literature, to philosophy and feminist theory, to post/neo-colonial studies (especially in Canada), to the history of science and computing, to women’s history and gender studies (from the early modern period), to performance studies. Her publications include Critiques of Knowing: Situated Textualities in Science, Computing and the Arts (1999) and Disunified Aesthetics: Situated Textuality, Performativity, Collaboration (2014).

    Torsten Jost is a researcher and academic coordinator at the Cluster of Excellence Temporal Communities: Doing Literature in a Global Perspective at Freie Universität Berlin. After receiving his PhD from Freie Universität Berlin in 2017, he joined the faculty of the university’s Theater and Performance Studies Department, where he teaches courses in the bachelor’s and master’s degree program. His dissertation, which was nominated for the Ernst-Reuter-Prize, was published under the title Gertrude Stein: Nervousness and the Theater (2019, orig. German). Together with Erika Fischer-Lichte, he has coedited numerous books on theater and performance in German and English, including The Politics of Interweaving Performance Cultures: Beyond Postcolonialism (2014), Theatrical Speech Acts: Performing Language: Politics, Translations, Embodiments (2020), Dramaturgies of Interweaving: Engaging Audiences in an Entangled World (2021) and Entangled Performance Histories: New Approaches to Theater Historiography (forthcoming).

    Ric Knowles is University Professor Emeritus at the University of Guelph, Canada. He is the recipient of career achievement awards from the Canadian Association for Theatre Research, the Association for Theatre in Higher Education, and the American Society for Theatre Research, and a former editor of Canadian Theatre Review, Modern Drama and Theatre Journal. His most recent book is International Theatre Festivals and 21st -Century Interculturalism (2021).

    Milos Kosic studied creative writing at the City College of New York and English Studies at Freie Universität Berlin. He is a research associate at the International Research Center "Interweaving Performance Cultures," Freie Universität Berlin, where he is working on his PhD thesis on the epistemic violence present at university-level creative writing programs across the U.S.

    Kedar Arun Kulkarni is a literary historian who situates Indian literature and performance within global paradigms, borrowing lenses from colonial and postcolonial studies, comparative literature, and theater and performance studies. He has written about slavery in south Asia, aspects of intellectual history and theory, and Marathi theater. He is an Associate Professor of Literary and Cultural Studies at FLAME University in Pune, India. His first book, World Literature and the Question of Genre in Colonial India: Poetry, Drama, and Print Culture 1790–1890, won the American Comparative Literature Association’s Helen Tartar First Book Subvention Grant and was published in 2022.

    Astrid Schenka is a performing arts scholar, dramaturg and translator. She currently works as a Research Associate at the International Research Center "Interweaving Performance Cultures" at the Freie Universität Berlin as well as a guest lecturer at the Zurich University of the Arts. Following her studies in Theater, Film, and Television Studies as well as English Language and Literature in Bochum/Vienna and many periods of work abroad, she worked at the FU Berlin, at spielzeit’europa | Berliner Festspiele and for the German Federal Cultural Foundation, among other places. Her work focuses on theory and practice of contemporary performing arts, interweaving performance cultures, postcolonialism, theory and practice of translation, aesthetics and art theory as well as object theater and object theories. In 2020, Aisthesis published her dissertation Performing in Plain Sight: Poetics of the Mechanical in Contemporary Performing Arts (orig. German).

    Maria Shevtsova (Goldsmiths University of London) is renowned internationally for her work on contemporary European theater directors, companies, and laboratory groups, Russian theater, past and present, and the interdisciplinary theories and methodologies of the sociology of the theater. Her more recent books, translated into fifteen languages, include Rediscovering Stanislavsky (2020), Robert Wilson (second, updated edition 2019), The Cambridge Introduction to Theatre Directing (2013, co-authored), Directors/Directing: Conversations on Theatre (2009), Sociology of Theatre and Performance (2009), Fifty Key Theatre Directors (2005, co-ed), and Dodin and the Maly Drama Theatre: Process to Performance (2004). She is a regular keynote speaker in English, Russian, French and Italian at university conferences, acting schools and conservatoires. Shevtsova’s outreach activities span digital streaming, radio and television broadcasts, newspaper interviews, public lectures and discussions at major international theater festivals, jury service at festivals, and programme articles and post-show conversations for established as well as upcoming theaters. She is the editor of New Theatre Quarterly and on the editorial boards of Critical Stages (International Association of Theatre Critics) and Stanislavsky Studies.

    Christel Weiler joined the faculty of the Theater and Performance Studies Department at Freie Universität Berlin in 1996, together with Erika Fischer-Lichte. From 2008 to 2017, she held the position of Program Director at the International Research Center "Interweaving Performance Cultures," where she now serves as Senior Adviser. Her research interests focus on interweaving performance cultures, specifically with regard to performance analysis, acting and aesthetics.

    Phillip Zarrilli (1947–2020) was internationally known for training actors in psychophysical process through Asian martial arts and yoga, and as a director/actor. He was the founding Artistic Director of The Llanarth Group based in West Wales, UK. He was also Professor of Performance Practice at Exeter University. His numerous books include Acting (Re)Considered (1995, 2002), When the Body Becomes All Eyes (1998, 2000), Kathakali Dance-Drama: Where Gods and Demons Come to Play (2000), Psychophysical Acting: An Intercultural Approach after Stanislavski (2008) and (Toward) a Phenomenology of Acting (2019).


    Torsten Jost is a researcher and academic coordinator at the Cluster of Excellence "Temporal Communities: Doing Literature in a Global Perspective" at Freie Universität Berlin.

    Erika Fischer-Lichte is Director of the International Research Center “Interweaving Performance Cultures” at Freie Universität Berlin.

    Milos Kosic studied creative writing at the City College of New York and English Studies at Freie Universität Berlin.

    Astrid Schenka is a performing arts scholar, dramaturge and translator. She currently works as a research associate at the International Research Center “Interweaving Performance Cultures” at Freie Universität Berlin as well as a guest lecturer at the Zurich University of the Arts.