Robyn Holly Taylor-Neu

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

California, Berkeley, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10033

Approve Date

August 26, 2020

Project Title

Taylor-Neu, Robyn (California, Berkeley, U. of) "Suspended Animation: Staging Sedimented Histories in Andalusian Puppet Theater"

What do Andalusian puppets, Pepe-the-frog memes, and Danish prophet cartoons have in common? I approach these media as “art acts,” a species of expressive action that exceeds and escapes existing anthropological analyses. My proposed research in Granada, Andalusia examines a popular genre of puppet theater in order to parse how certain artworks and performances exercise disruptive political force in contemporary Spain — how they become “art acts” that rupture and reconstitute social worlds. Puppet audiences and performers in Andalusia express reflexive awareness of the semiotic-aesthetic techniques by which art acts mobilize affect for political purposes. By examining the cristobica genre of puppetry in Spain, in a region where the genre is animated by ties to Franco-era traumas, I aim to understand: (1) how certain modes of expression practically function as art acts (when they do); (2) how such acts articulate diffuse affects, histories, and sensibilities; and (3) how they accrue force within wider social and political worlds.