Tracy Davis

Grant Type

Conference Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Northwestern U.

Grant number

Gr. CONF-776

Approve Date

March 22, 2018

Project Title

Davis, Dr. Tracy, Northwestern U., Evanston, IL - To aid workshop on 'New Dialogues Between Anthropology And Performance Studies,' 2018, Penang, Malaysia, in collaboration with Dr. Jonas Tinius

By asking how performance is mobilized as an embodied locus of ethnographic theorizing, this workshop addresses the role of performance in providing a frame for critical reflections on the challenges of doing ethnography. Over the past decades, ethnographic methods have become canonical in Performance Studies (PS), while performance has taken on extraordinarily broad categorical reference in Anthropology. Though ethnographers in both fields recognize the pervasive presence of performance, anthropologists can benefit from sustained engagement with debates about how to account for these facets of social life and discussion. The question of how ethnographers generate theoretical insight is based on practical engagements in fieldwork situations that we believe can greatly benefit from conceptual analytics developed in PS. Frequently borrowed concepts–including performativity, theatricality, and precarity–significantly inflect interpretation yet are far from mutually understood. Reciprocally, the experiences and toolkits of ethnographic practice, theorizing, and dissemination can help undergird the planning, conducting, and dissemination of the results of fieldwork as an approach to performance in both fields. The workshop aims to reanimate dialogue between PS and Anthropology about the generative loci of theory, in order to address mutual challenges. Five key topics will constitute the scope of the dialogue: (i) what are the challenges of doing ethnography with regard to performance; (ii) what constitutes performative repertoires; (iii) how are repertoires manifest as complex dramaturgies; (iv) relationships between cultural practices, fieldwork, and the articulation of scholarly findings; and (v) how the complexity of ethnographic insights about performance prompts revisiting institutional frameworks for collecting, storing, and displaying these understandings.