TOP STORY: Dr Wallace McDowell's Retirement
After 17 years, we're saying goodbye to Wallace McDowell this summer. Students and staff are very sad to see him go. Wallace has given a huge amount to Theatre and Performance Studies over the years and has inspired and supported generations of students. All of us wish him all the very best for the next adventure in retirement!
Wallace has written the following:
"It was 17 years ago that I, as a 25-year veteran practitioner in the professional theatre industry, arrived to start my Ph.D at Warwick under the supervision of Nadine Holdsworth. I had assumed that I would pursue a lonely research furrow for 3-4 years to complete my project. Instead, the academic equivalent of a CS Lewis wardrobe gave me access to a world that I did not know existed: an unbelievably collegiate department under the then leadership of Jim Davis; a vibrant research community of fellow Ph.D students; opportunities to go to conferences – Helsinki, Stellenbosch, Barcelona; and, above all the opportunity to teach which was not something I had even thought about when I started.
I discovered it was what I loved doing and got the opportunity to develop my own teaching areas – 20th Century Irish Theatre, and Performing masculinities. This served as the basis for my teaching and convening of work when I became a full member of the department. In doing so I met cohort after cohort of talented and bright students who had a huge impact on my life. You know who you are. That is what has made the last 17 years so worthwhile.
I am sorry to be leaving but sometimes the time is just right. In so many ways, academic life is another planet from 2004. In some ways, however, many fundamental values remain – and they continue to remain in the TPS of 2021 led by Anna Harpin.
Over the years, the work and subsequent lives of students have been life affirming and I know that this will continue. This is something that gives me immense pleasure
For me, let us see what happens. I take great comfort in the words of Homer – Simpson that is – ‘I have enough money now to last me for the rest of my life – as long as I die by next Tuesday'.
Farewell and keep the faith. Fly strong and fly high
Julia Peetz is editing an issue of Performance Research 'On Protest' with former Head of Department, Prof. Andy Lavender. Their call for papers is out and can be found below:
Storming the Capitol. Dismantling Confederate and slave trader statues. Refusing to wear a mask. Booing Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. Sabotaging 5G towers. Buying stamps in an attempt to prop up the United States Postal Service. Defying lèse-majesté laws to criticize Thai royalty. Writing ‘Black Lives Matter’ on roads, so large that the message can be read from Earth orbit. All these actions have been performed as protests in 2020 and 2021, marking this as a year of significant dissent. In the United States alone, the Black Lives Matter actions may be the largest protest movement in the country’s history, eclipsing even the protests of the civil rights era. The US presidential election, meanwhile, was a site for trenchant protests that dramatize the situation of commitment-amid-division that protest typically represents—and that beg wider questions of protest as a contemporary mode of political insistence.
While many of the recent protests around the world mark a resurgence of the popular voice, the language of resistance and opposition has become ubiquitous on the political right as well as for progressives. Right-wing populists paint themselves as perennial outsiders, embattled by and protesting against deep state powers and global cabals. Protestors have weaponized ideals of personal freedom to rage
against COVID-19-specific health guidance regarding the wearing of face coverings in public. Social media are increasingly sites of and means of coordinating protest actions; even so, social media posts framed as protest actions are frequently denounced as merely ‘performative’ forms of protest and allyship. Debates on the correct and most effective manner of performing protest abound, and once-controversial civil rights heroes are invoked as exemplars of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ ways to protest. Protest has mainstreamed, and it has become more volatile. It belongs not to any single faction or persuasion but has become pervasive—even while it is fostered as part of the repertoire of political sway, a system-theatre of power.
This issue calls for critical examinations of contemporary performances of protest across the globe. It is interested in ways that protest can be understood as theatre, but more particularly—in a multimodal, interconnected environment—as a form of public manifestation that draws upon a wide repertoire of representational devices. It seeks to address the relationship between embodied action, affective presence, communication and ideological affiliation. How does protest feel, and who is doing the feeling? It considers the performativity of protest. It pays particular regard to the extent to which protest achieves change (however this is defined) and the ways in which historical protests help to inform judgements of the conduct, legitimacy and efficacy of current protest actions. What historical instances are invoked to draw comparisons to current forms of activism and resistance? How do contemporary protests draw on historical repertoires of protest that reflect or extend beyond their specific political contexts? Do protest strategies and tactics need to evolve as languages of protest become a default mode of mainstream political discourse? Our concern with the modal nature of protest, we suggest, might also be historicized. What is it about our times, our modes of communication, our political systems, that help to produce protest as a defining feature of contemporary political process?
We invite contributions in the form of longer essays (up to 7,000 words), shorter provocations (2,000 words) and artist pages. We also welcome suggestions for unique or hybrid formats.
Contributors may wish to draw on the following list of topics as a source of inspiration, although the list is not intended to be exhaustive or restrictive.
- Staging/Representation of protest in mainstream media
- Contemporary theatres of protest
- Violent and non-violent protest
- Criteria for the efficacy of protest
- The triviality and ubiquity of protest
- Populism and protest
- Protest and the political right
- Protest and the political left
- The protestor as actor
- The affective nature of protest
- Protests and conspiracy theories
- Hyperbole and protest
- Social media and the performance of protest
- Performative protest/Performativity of protest
- Collective/Cultural memory of protest
- Protest and national identity
- Heroes of past/present protests (and their representation)
- Protest in the social sciences versus protest in the humanities
- Protest and change
- The purpose of protest (thinking of performance
Proposals 8th March 2021
First Drafts July 2021
Final Drafts September 2021
Publication Jan/Feb 2022
ALL proposals, submissions and general enquiries should be sent direct to the PR office: firstname.lastname@example.org
Issue-related enquiries should be directed to the issue editors:
Andy Lavender (email@example.com )
Julia Peetz (firstname.lastname@example.org )
General Guidelines for Submissions:
- Before submitting a proposal we encourage you to visit our website (www.performance-research.org ) and familiarize yourself with the journal.
- Proposals will be accepted by e-mail (MS-Word or RTF). Proposals should not exceed one A4 side.
- Please include your surname in the file name of the document you send.
- Submission of images and visual material is welcome provided that all attachments do not exceed 5MB, and there is a maximum of five images.
- Submission of a proposal will be taken to imply that it presents original, unpublished work not under consideration for publication elsewhere.
- If your proposal is accepted, you will be invited to submit an article in first draft by the deadline indicated above. On the final acceptance of a completed article you will be asked to sign an author agreement in order for your work to be published in Performance Research.
We are delighted to Welcome Dr Julia Peetz to the department who has been awarded a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship.
Contributions from Patricia Smyth, Julia Peetz and Goran Petrović-Lotina in the latest PR Journal Issue - On Theatricality
Performance Research: A Journal of the Performing Arts sees three contributions from our staff in the June 2019 issue On Theatricality.
Theatricality, Michael Fried and Nineteenth-Century Art and Theatre
by Patricia Smyth
Theatricality as an Interdisciplinary Problem
A dramatic form of contesting spectatorial codes