Race and Performance after Repetition

Book Pages: 344 Illustrations: 34 illustrations Published: September 2020

African American Studies and Black Diaspora, American Studies, Theater and Performance > Performance Art

The contributors to Race and Performance after Repetition explore how theater and performance studies account for the complex relationship between race and time. Pointing out that repetition has been the primary point of reference for understanding both the complex temporality of theater and the historical persistence of race, they identify and pursue critical alternatives to the conceptualization, organization, measurement, and politics of race in performance. The contributors examine theater, performance art, music, sports, dance, photography, and other forms of performance in topics that range from the movement of boxer Joe Louis to George C. Wolfe's 2016 reimagining of the 1921 all-black musical comedy Shuffle Along to the relationship between dance, mourning, and black adolescence in Flying Lotus's music video “Never Catch Me.” Proposing a spectrum of coexisting racial temporalities that are not tethered to repetition, this collection reconsiders central theories in performance studies in order to find new understandings of race.

Contributors. Joshua Chambers-Letson, Soyica Diggs Colbert, Nicholas Fesette, Patricia Herrera, Jasmine Elizabeth Johnson, Douglas A. Jones Jr., Mario LaMothe, Daphne P. Lei, Jisha Menon, Tavia Nyong’o, Tina Post, Elizabeth W. Son,  Shane Vogel, Catherine M. Young, Katherine Zien


“Offering a groundbreaking take on one of the most central premises of performance studies, this innovative volume advances theoretical and interpretive articulations of time that expand upon and challenge long-held assumptions about performance as repetition. It significantly expands performance theory and promises to animate conversations about performance, race, and time going forward. This collection is truly a breath of fresh air.” — Ramón H. Rivera-Servera, coeditor of Blacktino Queer Performance

“‘What time is it?!’ Race and Performance after Repetition offers a pathbreaking and long overdue intervention in performance studies by posing this sly and urgent question from a multiplicity of critical vantage points. This brilliant and inspired collection of essays unsettles the very foundations of the field by tracing, interrogating, and ultimately questioning the dominant logic of repetition as a foundational theoretical axiom in performance studies scholarship by way of calling attention to the difference that race makes. As this anthology demonstrates, the material historical conditions of race demand a wider, deeper, and more robust critical lexicon that moves beyond the grammar of temporal repetition. It is a volume that heralds new times in the field.” — Daphne A. Brooks, author of Bodies in Dissent: Spectacular Performances of Race and Freedom, 1850–1910


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Soyica Diggs Colbert is Idol Family Professor of the College of Arts and Sciences at Georgetown University and author of Black Movements: Performance and Cultural Politics.

Douglas A. Jones Jr. is Associate Professor of English at Rutgers University and author of The Captive Stage: Performance and the Proslavery Imagination of the Antebellum North.

Shane Vogel is Ruth N. Halls Professor of English at Indiana University and author of Stolen Time: Black Fad Performance and the Calypso Craze.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments  vii
Introduction: Tidying Up after Repetition / Soyica Diggs Colbert, Douglas A. Jones Jr., and Shane Vogel  1
Part I. Toggling Time: Metatheaters of Race
1. So Far Down You Can't See the Light: Afro-Fabulation in Branden Jacob-Jenkins's An Octoroon /  Tavia Nyong'o  29
2. The Performance and Politics of Concurrent Temporalities in George C. Wolfe's Shuffle Along / Catherine M. Young  46
3. A Sonic Treatise of Futurity: Universes' Party People / Patricia Herrera  71
Part II. Choreo-Chronographies
4. Joe Louis's Utopic Glitch / Tina Post  103
5. Sorrow's Swing / Jasmine Johnson  127
6. Parabolic Moves: Time, Narrative, and Difference in New Circus / Katherine Zien  142
7. Choreographing Time Travel: Rethinking Ritual through Korean Diasporic Performance / Elizabeth W. Son  173
Part III. Temporal (Im)mobilities: Dwelling Out of Time
8. Carceral Space-Times and The House That Herman Built / Nicholas Fesette  199
9. Performance Interventions: Natality and Carceral Feminism in Contemporary India / Jisha Menon  220
10. Whitnessing Queer Flights: Josué Azor's Lougawou Images and Antihomosexual Unrest in Haiti / Mario Lamothe  242
11. The Body Is Never Given, nor Do We Actually See It / Joshua Chambers-Letson  270
Bibliography  293
Contributors  317
Index  321
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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-1-4780-0829-3 / Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4780-0780-7