Feminist Theory Theater

Yelena Gluzman, UCSD;
Sarah Klein, University of California, San Diego

Boston 2017: Open

Reading (verb) is central to scholarly practice, but its situated, material, embodied conditions tend to recede into the background of a given reading (noun). We excavate a text (exegesis), we glean useful remnants (skimming), we put the text in its place (disciplinary lit review). But what methods are invoked to read personally, to evaluate texts ethically, or to imagine how those texts speak to the complexities of the lived, sensible worlds in which we find ourselves? How do we read to ourselves when 'selves' are constituted multiply, flexibly, or transiently? Feminist Theory Theater (FTT) is a way to read. A group of readers assemble as FTT, performing and re-performing a chosen text. Putting the text “on its feet” is not done to create a finished show, but rather as a mode of working, thinking, putting an argument into our bodies and experiencing what it might feel like to stand with it. There is no audience for FTT; readers are performers, and spectatorship is a mode of attuning to emerging interpretation. Deeply indebted to the feminist theory that fought for the importance of collective, situated meaning-making, FTT is an attempt to incorporate these ideas methodologically into one of the core practices of the academy: reading. For M&D, we propose a playful, ongoing “drop in” marathon FTT reading. In a spacious open area (preferably at least 4’x4’), 4S members will be invited to read with us, choosing available texts or offering their own, and onlookers will be welcome. With this presentation, we hope to contribute to a discussion about experimental interventions in the production of knowledge.

Published: 01/30/2023