Cultures of the Left: Manifestations and Performances
- British Academy International Partnership and Mobility Scheme-
'I have no nostalgic longing. I have never been communist in the electoral sense of the word. I call "communism" the possibility of proposing to the global youth anything but the wrong choice between a resigned inclusion in the existing consumer device and wild nihilistic breakaways', says philosopher Alain Badiou reflecting on the place of the Left in the contemporary global political moment. His distinction between the ideas of the Left and the history of attempts to realise it illustrates both the urgency and the conceptual parameters within which this project is set to explore the notion, legacy and possibilities of the Cultural Left as embodied political, social and art practice.
The project answers to the increasing need to bring together scholarship in political and social sciences that reconsiders the idea of the Left (e.g., Zizek, Douzinas, Dean, Bosteels, Badious, Eagalton, Chatterjee, Horvat) with relevant work in theatre and performance studies both historical (Brecht, Meyerhold, Boal) and contemporary (e.g., Kershaw, Barucha, Lichtenfels and Rouse, Walsh, Kear and Eakins), and draws on the most recent scholarship that fully integrates political sciences with performance studies ( eg.,Reinlent and Rai, Saward, Gluhovic, Jestrovic). The project brings together scholars in Theatre and Performance studies with researchers in Social and Political Sciences, Law, History, Women Studies, Cultural Policy from both Warwick and JNU working in different cultural contexts (eg., UK, India, US, Eastern and Southern Europe, Latin America, China) and focusing on a variety of aspects of the Cultural Left. Through research meetings and workshops, joint publications and guest lectures, the collaboration has set an interdisciplinary research framework and a unique cross-cultural and comparativist approach to identify what constitutes the global Left as an arena of cultural practice, asking:
• What is the legacy and current potential of the Cultural Left to perform the possibility ‘that the world can be otherwise’ (Buck-Morss)?
• How do manifestations and performances of the Cultural Left negotiate and adapt to various ideological frameworks?
• How has the cultural repertoire of the Left enabled cross-cultural influences and mutations in the performances of activism?
Led by Dr Silvija Jestrovic as Principal Investigator, with Professor Bishnuprya Dutt from JNU (India) as the co-investigator, the partnership brings together scholars in theatre and performance studies with researchers in social and political sciences from both Warwick and JNU working in different cultural contexts (i.e. UK, India, USA, Eastern and Southern Europe, Latin America, China) and focusing on the variety of aspects of the Cultural Left. Through research meetings and workshops, joint publications and guest lectures, the collaboration will not only set an interdisciplinary research framework, but also enable a unique cross-cultural and comparativist approach to identify what constitutes the global Left as an arena of cultural practice.