1st Edition

The Routledge Companion to the Anthropology of Performance

Edited By Lauren Miller, David Syring Copyright 2024
    560 Pages 60 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The Routledge Companion to the Anthropology of Performance provides a cutting-edge, comprehensive overview of the foundations, epistemologies, methodologies, key topics and current debates, and future directions in the field. It brings together work from the disciplines of anthropology and performance studies, as well as adjacent fields. Across 31 chapters, a diverse range of international scholars cover topics including:

    • Ritual
    • Theater
    • Storytelling
    • Music
    • Dance
    • Textiles
    • Land Acknowledgments
    • Indigenous Identity
    • Visual Arts
    • Embodiment
    • Cognition
    • Healing
    • Festivals
    • Politics
    • Activism
    • The Law
    • Race and Ethnicity
    • Gender and Sexuality
    • Class
    • Religion, Spirituality, and Faith
    • Disability
    • Leisure, Gaming, and Sport

    In addition, the included Appendix offers tools, exercises, and activities designed by contributors as useful suggestions to readers, both within and beyond academic contexts, to take the insights of performance anthropology into their work. This is a valuable reference for scholars and upper-level students in anthropology, performance studies, and related disciplines, including religious studies, art, philosophy, history, political science, gender studies, and education.

    Introduction: Performance as Anthropological Focus and Framework, Lauren Miller Griffith and David Syring

    Part I: Histories, Theories, and Frameworks

    1. Body and Mind: The Making of the Anthropology of Performance, Anya Peterson Royce

    2. In the Spirit of Experience, Reflexivity, and Growth: Exploring the Ancestral Roots of Performance Anthropology, Pam Frese

    3. Performance and Aesthetics: Experiencing Expressive Events and Visual Arts, Helena Wulff

    4. Ritual as Performance, Bradd Shore

    5. Sport as Performance, Claire Conceison

    6. Weaving, Cloth, and Costumes as Vital Contributors to Performance, Andrea M. Heckman

    7. Ethnographic Comportment: A Performance-Based Framework for Research Design, Anthony Kwame Harrison


    Part II: Performing as a Way of Knowing

    8. Anthropology and Laboratory Theater: Opening Anthropological Orthopraxy to Different Ways of Knowing/Being, Caroline Gatt

    9. Miraculous Stories and the Re-enchantment of the World: Oral Hagiographies of Guru Bawa, Frank J. Korom

    10. Who’s Performing When the God Dancer Dances? Possession and Ritual Performance in South India, Sara Dickey

    11. Two-Handed Ethnography: A Method for Performance Anthropology, Sara Delamont and Neil Stephens

    12. Traveling through Space-time in the Manaus Boi-bumbá, Marnie K. Watson

    13. Construction with Varied Materials: Adventures in Global Performativity and Interconnection, Andrew Irving

    Part III: Performance and Identity

    14. Propia de Saraguro: Performance in an Indigenous Andean Community Creating 21st-Century Vitality, David Syring

    15. Music, Identity, and Performance in East Africa, Mwenda Ntarangwi

    16. Embodied Cultural Knowledge in Practice: An Ethio-Modern Dance Case Study of የቡና ዓለም YeBuna Alem/A Coffee World, Ras Mikey Courtney

    17. Performed Identity: A Case Study in Irish Dance, Breandán de Gallaí

    18. Performing Women in Classic European Circuses, Julia L. Offen

    19. Performance in Practice: "American" Karate in the Heartland, Noah C.G.Johnson

    20. (Accidentally) Doing Whiteness: The Meanings of Performance in a Rural U.S. Music Scene, David Flood


    Part IV: Performance and/as Cultural Critique

    21. Performance and Indigeneity: "Playing Indian" in the Theater of Darkness, Bernard C. Perley

    22. On Trial: Law and the Performativity of True Stories, Laurie Frederik

    23. Beyond the Stage: Anarcho-punks Performing Resistance in Bandung, Indonesia, Steve Moog

    24. On Carnivals and Capitalism: Performing Neoliberal Politics in Santiago, Dominican Republic, Sydney Hutchinson

    25. Egyptian Belly Dance is Feeling: Intersubjectivity, Ṭarab, and Cross-Cultural Performance, Margaret L. Morley

    26. #Capoeiristas for Black Lives: The Complementarity of Virtual and Embodied Performance Communities, Lauren Miller


    Part V: The Future of Performance Anthropology

    27. Craftwork in Ethnographic Theater Making, Debra Vidali

    28. Performing the Past and the Present with an Eye to the Future: Optimizing the Potential of Land Acknowledgment Rituals to Help Ensure they Do No Harm, E.J. Sobo, V.L. Lambert, and M.C. Lambert

    29. Performance, Play, and Resistance: Teaching and Learning at the Happiest Place on Earth, Stephanie Takaragawa with Meladnie Rutledge, Ashley Lee, and Javari Hunt

    30. A Sense-Able Partner, Andrea Conger

    31. Beyond the Aesthetically Neutral Body: Performing Disability Futures, Cassandra Hartblay


    Appendix: Tools, Exercises, and Activities for the Anthropology of Performance

    • A Zone Approach to Studying the Social Implications of Performance
      • Lauren Miller Griffith and Evangeline Jiménez

    • David Syring
      • Tuning in to Matizada: Attending to Micro-moments of Aesthetic Enculturation

    • Debra Vidali
      • Circle Warm Up
      • Energizing Groups with Movement
        • Pass the Sound and Gesture
        • Name Passion

      • The Human Barometer
      • Human Statue Creation and Inquiry

    • Ras Mikey Courtney, Transmitting Embodied Knowledge of Traditional Ethiopian Dance

    • Andrea M. Heckman, Weaving, Cloth and Costumes as Vital Aspects of Performance

    • Noah Johnson, Clothed in Practicalities

    • Andrea Conger, Voice-over Interviews

    • Cassandra Hartblay, Transposing Transcription Practice

    • Caroline Gatt, Defamiliarizing Reading

    • Helena Wulff, Writing Performance

    • Julia Offen, Creative Ethnographic Prose: Guided Setting Exercise


    Lauren Miller is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Texas Tech University.

    David Syring is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Minnesota Duluth.