Performance in the Americas Working Group

Performance Latin AmericaPerformance in the Americas
Townsend Center Working Group: Fall 2014

Thursdays from 3:00pm to 4:30pm, select dates below
Hosted by The Arts Research Center
Dwinelle Annex, Room 205

An interdisciplinary working group on performance and live arts practices in the American hemisphere. Participants are encouraged to attend all sessions.

For more information see this link.


This working group aims to strengthen and expand a network of scholars, practitioners and activists of the UC Berkeley campus community who are working in the area of performance research in Latin/o America. Given our current placement within several departments across campus from Spanish and Portuguese, Ethnic Studies, Art Practice, Anthropology and Theater, Dance and Performance Studies, we convene this group in order to generate discussion across our fields on performance and live art practices in the Americas. We propose a loosely “hemispheric” approach to performance, recognizing the trans-atlantic and trans-pacific influences in our region. Our goals as a group are to 1) foster research on theater, arts and performance originating from and concerning indigenous and Latina/o communities, individual and collective artists, cultural agents, histories, and social systems as performance across disciplines; 2) strengthen the scholarship of group members, both faculty and graduate students, through invited guests and scholarly criticism and review; 3) encourage reflection on the methodological challenges posed by interdisciplinary approaches to performance; 4) increase visibility of Latin/o American theater, arts and performance on the UCB campus; and, 5) contribute towards a wider circle of interaction between UCB and Bay Area scholars and arts initiatives around performance in the American hemisphere.

September 2014: Latin/o Americas, Hemispheric Approaches

Sept 25: Discussion of hemispheric perspectives and initiatives. Introduction and opening reception for the working group.


October 2014: Performance and Memory

Oct 9: Performance and Memory in Peru. Invited guest: Prof. Victor Vich, Visiting Scholar, Dept of Spanish and Portuguese.

Please join us for a talk on Ecology and Performance in Peru presented by Prof. Victor Vich, Visiting Professor, Dept of Spanish and Portuguese, UC Berkeley. The talk will be in Spanish. Discussion and Q&A in Spanish and English.

Cerro de Pasco es un viejo asentamiento minero situado a más de 4,000 mt. de altura en los andes del Perú. Desde 1903, se inició en ella un proyecto de explotación a “tajo abierto” que poco a poco ha ido “comiéndose la ciudad”. Hoy el tajo tiene más de 400 mt. de profundidad y dos kilómetros de diámetro. Por su parte, Elizabeth Lino es una artista peruana que en las últimas décadas ha ido contemplando la destrucción de buena parte de esa ciudad, su ciudad, la cual ha incluido la destrucción de su propia casa.

La conferencia mostrará las estrategias performativas que ella ha venido realizando a fin de visibilizar un problema que es político, es ecológico pero también profundamente subjetivo. Investida como La última Reyna, mimetizada con la ley del Estado, fusionada con los intereses del mercado, esta artista ha conseguido renovar formas de “desobediencia simbólica” y abrir nuevos espacios de debate e intervención en la política local.

VÍCTOR VICH holds a doctorate in Latin American literature from Georgetown University. He is the author of six books: El discurso de la calle: Los cómicos ambulantes y las tensiones de la modernidad en el Perú (2001), El caníbal es el otro: Violencia y cultura en el Perú contemporáneo (2002), Oralidad y poder (2004, with Virginia Zavala), Contra el sueño de los justos: La literatura peruana ante la violencia política (2009), and Voces más allá de lo simbólico: Ensayos sobre poesía peruana (2013) and recently “Desculturizar la cultura: la gestión cultual como forma de acción política” (2014).

In 2007, he was a visiting professor at Harvard University, and in 2010 he won the Guggenheim Fellowship. He has also served as a member of the Steering Committee of the Latin American Council of Social Sciences (CLACSO, 2007–2009). Currently, he is coordinator of the Master’s in Cultural Studies Program at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, principal researcher at the Institute of Peruvian Studies, and member of the Board of Directors of the Parks Service of Lima (SERPAR). Vich is a visiting professor at UC Berkeley.

Oct 23: Work-in-progress.


November 2014: Performance and Indigeneity

Nov 6: Performance and Indigeneity. Prof. Estelle Tarica and Manuel Cuellar, Dept of Spanish and Portuguese.

Tues, Nov 18 (5pm): Luis Valdez UC Regent’s Lecture: “The Power of Zero”
(Note: Location at Zellerbach Playhouse. Reception to Follow)


December 2014: Social Movements and Urban Space (D.F.)

Dec 4: Work-in-progress. Juan Manuel Aldape, Dept of Theater, Dance and Performance Studies.

Through a close-reading of Frida Kahlo’s Self Portrait with Cropped Hair (1940), I argue that Kahlo’s hair symbolizes resistant micro-movements to impossible, hegemonic post-revolutionary social constructs that never fully succeed at freezing or fragmenting her identity. Consequently, I posit Kahlo, a woman with limited bodily movement working in the relatively static medium of painting, as a radical choreographer.