Representing the Past: Essays in Performance Historiography

Representing the Past: Essays in Performance Historiography

by Charlotte M. Canning
     
 

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How do historians represent the past? How do theatre historians represent performance events? The fifteen challenging essays in Representing the Past: Essays in Performance Historiography focus on the fundamental epistemological conditions and procedures that serve as the foundational ideas that guide all historians in their endeavors. Unified by their

Overview

How do historians represent the past? How do theatre historians represent performance events? The fifteen challenging essays in Representing the Past: Essays in Performance Historiography focus on the fundamental epistemological conditions and procedures that serve as the foundational ideas that guide all historians in their endeavors. Unified by their investigations into how best to understand and then represent the past, this diverse group of scholars in the field of theatre history and performance studies offers insights into the abiding issues that all historians face in the task of representing human events and actions.

      Five primary ideas provide the topics as well as the intellectual parameters for this book: archive, time, space, identity, and narrative. Taking these as the conceptual framework for historical research and analysis, the essayists cover an expansive range of case studies and problems in the historical study of performance from the Americas to Africa and from Europe to India and China. Considering not only how historians think about these concepts in their research and writing but more pointedly—and historiographically—how they think with them, the essayists demonstrate the power and centrality of each of these five ideas in historical scholarship from initial research to the writing of essays and books.

      Performance history has a diversity of identities, locations, sources, and narratives. This compelling engagement with the concepts essential to historical understanding is a valuable contribution to the historiography of performance—for students, teachers, and the future of the discipline itself. Expanding upon its classic predecessor, Interpreting the Theatrical Past: Essays in the Historiography of Performance, this exciting new collection illustrates the contemporary richness of historical thinking and writing in the field of performance history.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Representing the Past is required reading for any serious scholar of theatre and performance historiography: original in its conception, global in its reach, thought-provoking and transformative in its effects.”—Gay Gibson Cima, author, Early American Women Critics: Performance, Religion, Race

“Unusually well conceived, this collection of essays by leading scholars in theatre studies exemplifies a back-to-the-basics approach that is as welcome as it is timely. We are reminded just how difficult it is to capture the most elusive of historical objects—a theatrical performance—but also that we must keep trying.”—Martin Puchner, author, The Drama of Ideas: Platonic Provocations in Theater and Philosophy

“This collection of essays will change the basic rules of theatre and performance historiography and establish some completely new ones. At the same time as it strengthens the bridges to the disciplines of general history and cultural history, it opens up many new venues and perspectives to the histories of the stage arts. It sets up the basic categories for performance historiography research and shows in depth how these categories can be applied. This book will become a central point of reference for students and teachers in the field for many years to come.”—Freddie Rokem, author, Performing History: Theatrical Representations of the Past in Contemporary Theatre and Philosophers and Thespians: Thinking Performance

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781587299384
Publisher:
University of Iowa Press
Publication date:
04/15/2010
Series:
Studies Theatre Hist & Culture
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
428
File size:
3 MB

Meet the Author

Charlotte Canning is a professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance at the University of Texas at Austin where she is head of the Performance as Public Practice program. She is the author of Feminist Theaters in the U.S.A.: Staging Women’s Experience and The Most American Thing in America: Circuit Chautauqua as Performance (Iowa, 2005), which won the Barnard Hewitt Award for Excellence in Theatre History. She is the current associate editor of Theatre Research International. Thomas Postlewait has taught in the theatre departments at Cornell University, MIT, the University of Georgia, Indiana University, and Ohio State University; he is currently an affiliate professor of theatre history at the University of Washington. Coeditor of Interpreting the Theatrical Past: Essays in the Historiography of Performance (Iowa, 1989) and Theatricality, most recently he is the author of The Cambridge Introduction to Theatre Historiography. Since 1992 he has been the editor of the award-winning series Studies in Theatre History and Culture. In 2007 he won the Association for Theatre in Higher Education Editing Award for his work with this series; in 2009 he was presented with the Distinguished Scholar Award by the American Society for Theatre Research.

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