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The Archive and the Repertoire: Performing Cultural Memory in the Americasby Diana Taylor
Synopses & Reviews
In The Archive and the Repertoire preeminent performance studies scholar Diana Taylor provides a new understanding of the vital role of performance in the Americas. From plays to official events to grassroots protests, performance, she argues, must be taken seriously as a means of storing and transmitting knowledge. Taylor reveals how the repertoire of embodied memory—conveyed in gestures, the spoken word, movement, dance, song, and other performances—offers alternative perspectives to those derived from the written archive and is particularly useful to a reconsideration of historical processes of transnational contact. The Archive and the Repertoire invites a remapping of the Americas based on traditions of embodied practice.
Examining various genres of performance including demonstrations by the children of the disappeared in Argentina, the Peruvian theatre group Yuyachkani, and televised astrological readings by Univision personality Walter Mercado, Taylor explores how the archive and the repertoire work together to make political claims, transmit traumatic memory, and forge a new sense of cultural identity. Through her consideration of performances such as Coco Fusco and Guillermo Gómez-Peña’s show Two Undiscovered Amerindians Visit . . . , Taylor illuminates how scenarios of discovery and conquest haunt the Americas, trapping even those who attempt to dismantle them. Meditating on events like those of September 11, 2001 and media representations of them, she examines both the crucial role of performance in contemporary culture and her own role as witness to and participant in hemispheric dramas. The Archive and the Repertoire is a compelling demonstration of the many ways that the study of performance enables a deeper understanding of the past and present, of ourselves and others.
An interdisciplinary study about the centrality of performance in Latin American culture and politics.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -320) and index.
About the Author
“Diana Taylor is perhaps the most lucid and original Latin American performance theorist. In her new book, she tackles a very complex topic: the relationship between writing, performance, and historical memory on our continent. Her interdisciplinary approach provides us with new bridges and pathways between cultures, metiers, and disciplines. My colleagues and I have long been waiting for such a book.”—Guillermo Gómez-Peña, performance artist and writer
“Diana Taylor is that rare scholar—a master of theory who speaks from experience and writes with passion. She tells us that as a child she ‘learned that the Americas were one.’ In this extraordinary book Taylor explores—from the pre-Columbian to the postmodern—America’s oneness of contradictions, revelations, wounds, celebrations, rituals, and arts.”—Richard Schechner, University Professor of Performance Studies, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University, and author of Performance Studies: An Introduction
“Diana Taylor’s ideas, carefully etched out here to great effect, provide a new vocabulary to understand the work that performance does in culture and broadens our sense of how performance achieves its effect. Full of insight and information, The Archive and the Repertoire should finally unsettle the hegemony of narrative in Latin American literary and cultural studies.”—David Román, author of Acts of Intervention: Performance, Gay Culture, and AIDS
“The Archive and the Repertoire is an original and brilliant contribution. It will take the study of Latin American performance to a new level with its attention not only to politics and to history and its consequences, but also to memory, the media, and aesthetic/political practices that take into account the hemispheric and the global.”—Yvonne Yarbro-Bejarano, author of The Wounded Heart: Writing on Cherríe Moraga
Table of Contents
Who, when, what, why — Acts of transfer — Scenarios of discovery : reflections on performance and ethnography — Memory as cultural practice : mestizaje, hybridity, transculturation — La raza cosmetica : Walter Mercado performs Latino psychic space — False identifications : minority populations mourn Diana — "You are here" : H.I.J.O.S. and the DNA of performance — Staging traumatic memory : Yuyachkani — Denise Stoklos : the politics of decipherability — Lost in the field of vision : witnessing September 11 — Hemispheric performances.
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