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 cristóbica 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.