The Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften: Events
Wednesday, 27 June 2012, 11:30-13:00
»Große Salon« in the Villa Reimers
Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities
Carol Bernstein (Bryn Mawr College)»Memory and the Social Spaces of Performance«
Carol Bernstein is Research Professor of English and Comparative Literature, Bryn Mawr College, and Fellow at Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften in June and July 2012.
rnThis talk will examine ways in which two major figures in performance studies have theorized their field. Joseph Roach focuses upon a history of performance in the »circum-ambient world« formed by Europe, Africa, and the two Americas. »The concept of a circum-Atlantic world,« he writes, »insists upon the centrality of the diasporic and genocidal histories of Africa and the Americas, North and South, in the creation of the culture of modernity.« Contrasting the written archive to the more distinctively oral repertoire, Diana Taylor addresses forms of performance art in Latin America, calling them »acts of transfer, transmitting social knowledge, memory, and a sense of identity through reiterated, or what Richard Schechner has called ›twice-behaved behavior‹.« She compares archival memory – largely but not entirely in the form of written documents – to the »embodied memory« of and in performances. As their emphases upon modes and histories of performance might indicate, neither approach – embodied or written – is entirely independent of the other. (A few film clips will illustrate these points.) In a coda, I’ll turn to the question of gesture: a term that has links to both high theory and performance practice.