Thursday 15 June 2006




Opening Plenary
The Great Hall, The People's Palace

Call to Conference by the Red Ladies

Welcome by Lois Weaver, Conference Director
and Adrian Heathfield, President of PSi

Welcome and introduction by Professor Adrian Smith, Principal,
Queen Mary, University of London

Opening keynote speech by the Secretary-General of Amnesty International, Irene Kahn
Taking up the leadership of Amnesty International in its 40th anniversary year, Irene Kahn began a process of change and renewal to address the complex nature of contemporary human rights violations, and to confront the particular challenges that have followed in the wake of the attacks of 11 September 2001. She reformed Amnesty International's response to crisis situations and has been keen to draw attention to hidden human rights violations. PSi #12 coincides with the Small Arms Review Conference at the UN, for which Amnesty International has co-ordinated a year-long campaign to influence the ways in which arms control can be more effective.

Followed by discussion.


Coffee break


Morning panels


Lunch break


Afternoon panels


Coffee break


Late afternoon panels





Morning panels


Public Appearance
BMS 326

  • Helen Freshwater (Birkbeck College, University of London)
    Competing Fundamentalisms: Censorship and the Sacred
  • Victor Manuel de Guevara (Royal Holloway, University of London)
    Performing Ciudad Juárez
  • Sophie Nield (Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London)
    Space and the Border Citizen: Theatrical Appearance/Disappearing Rights

In this panel the speakers will consider struggles over who may appear, and where, and what powers the state may have to enforce disappearance, constrain representation or define the terms upon which the conception of the public is based.

Performance, Nation, Tourism
BMS 318
Chair: Michael Peterson

  • Daniel O'Quinn (University of Guelph)
    Sex, War and Dinner: Mirza Abu Talib, Lord Nelson and the Erotics of Imperial Fantasy
  • Ioana Szeman (Roehampton University)
    From Exotic Gypsies to 'Mere' Peasants: The Limits of Performance in Roma Rights Activism in Romania
  • Margaret Werry (University of Minnesota)
    Ethnic Sentiments and Neo-liberal Subjects: Performing the (Post)national Museum

Three papers which tackle the political implications of objectification, exoticisation and fantasy in relation to the operations of nation and/or empire.

Voice in the Teeth of Power: Freedom of Expression, Technology and Performance
PHY 602
Chair: Alexander C Y Huang

  • David Afriye Donkor (Northwestern University)
    Claiming Speech at Ekumfi Atwia: Supplanted Acts and Displaced Narratives in the 'House of Stories'
  • Chia-Hsin Chou (Trinity College, Dublin)
    The Acting Profession, Freedom of Speech and Cultural Memory in Post Mao China
  • Mohammed Hamid Mohammed (Northwestern University)
    Affective Empowerment: Freedom of Expression, Technology and Performance

In recognition of the power-laden but conflict-ridden role of performance in both the celebration of and suppression of humanity, the panel explores the indeterminacy of performance with particular reference to freedom of expression.

Site Specificity and Activism 1
Chair: Baz Kershaw

  • Malene Vest-Hansen (Copenhagen University)
    Interventions in Public Spaces: Site-specific Art Contesting Gender and Social Identities
  • Melanie Kloetzel (Idaho State University)
    Practising Rights: Site-specific Performance as a Resistance Strategy
  • Bertie Ferdman (City University of New York)
    Urban-specific Performance and Political Intervention: A Case Study in Marseille, France.

This is the first of two panels to explore questions of political activism, performance and site specificity. The second panel is on Friday morning at 11am.

Rights and Performativity
BMS 320
Chair: Peter Glazer

  • Farai Bere (New York University)
    'The Only Blair That I Know is a Toilet': Music and the Political Crisis in Zimbabwe
  • Emine Fisek (University of California, Berkeley)
    The Gender of Grief: Mourning the Istanbul Bombings
  • Ananda Breed (University of Manchester)
    Participation for Liberation or Incrimination?

Each paper considers aspects of the performativity of political intervention and public action, creating an opportunity to reflect on the instability or ambivalence of performative acts in the public arena.

Before Rights: Victims and Witnesses
Arts Lecture Theatre
Chair: Nicholas Ridout

  • Joe Kelleher (Roehampton University)
    Francesca and the Machines
  • Johannes Schroeder (Artist)
    Images of Torture as Installation and Performance and Their Use in Media
  • Daniel Sack (Stanford University)
    The Rabbit and Its Double: Negotiating the Testimonial Spectator with the Socìetas Raffaello Sanzio

This panel considers the category of witnessing, explored through encounters with contemporary performance and installation practice.

State of Right: Performance Rights and the Law
PHY 609
Chair: Karen Shimakawa

  • Christine Bacareza Balance (New York University)
    Whispers of Maki-Baka: The Role of Gossip in the Anti-Marcos Movement
  • Joshua Chambers-Letson (New York University)
    Dead State: Ronald Reagan's Corpse, Japanese-American Internment and Performing State Sovereignty
  • Jeanne Vaccaro (New York University)
    Making Public Subjects: Performing Transgender Subjectivity

This panel proposes a rethinking of the relationship of rights and performance to State structures, especially juridical/legal ones, beyond the prevailing notion of rights and performance as liberating forms. The panel suggests a complication of the valorisation of 'rights' and 'performance' to provide new ways of understanding state power and its relationship to performance.

Performing Feminisms, Performing Whiteness: Gender and Race in US Theatrical, Social and Political Performances
Chair: Catherine Silverstone

  • Jeanne Scheper (University of Houston)
    Burqa: What a Drag for Feminism
  • Elizabeth Currans (Mount Holyoke College)
    Silent Witnessing: Performing Anti-Imperialist Womanhood
  • Jessica Elise O'Keefe (University of California, Santa Barbara)
    Constructions of Self Through Constructed Bodies

The panel raises questions about the gendered and racialised discourses of human rights as they are produced in different performance venues. Foregrounding the construction of whiteness and gender in contemporary feminist discourses on human rights, the panel challenges essentialised understandings of 'womanhood' and 'manhood'.

Citizenship Test
PHY 609
A panel presentation by the AthIst Group

  • Kostas Christopoulos (Artist)
  • Christos Iliadis (Political scientist)
  • Vana Kostayola (Artist)
  • Giorgos Giannakopoulos (Political scientist)
  • Kostis Stafylakis (Artist and art theorist)

The AthIst group will present a video documentation (25 min approximately) of the Citizenship Test: the documentation of a re-enactment of the exam process that immigrants pass through in order to receive Greek citizenship. The exam process includes real immigrants from Albania questioned by the group. After the projection, the group members will make short statements in order to initiate discussion.

Rights, Rituals and Reason

  • Piia Mustamaki (Rutgers University) ‘Human Rights and the Responsibility of the Victim': Susan-Lori Parks’ Venus
  • Myron M Beasley (University of Chicago) ‘On Feeding the Orisa': Repast, Ritual and Resistance

BMS 322

  • Michelle Lindenblatt(New York University)
    Performing the Accidental Rights of Non-Human Animals: The Case of Hurricane Katrina
  • Siméon Karera (University of Kigali)
    Does Meat Have Human Rights?

A panel examining the position of humans and animals vis à vis the vexed notion of 'rights' as universal and/or emancipatory.


Afternoon panels


Means to Activism: Unbearable Acts, Relational Aesthetics and Hyperbolic Liveness 1
Arts Lecture Theatre

  • Shannon Jackson (University of California, Berkeley)
    Systemic Pain and Relational Aesthetics
  • Rebecca Schneider (Brown University)
    Still Living, Photography, and Terror: Processional Tableaux Vivant
  • Lara Shalson (University of California, Berkeley)
    Provocative Acts: Body Art, the Free Speech Movement, and the 1960s
  • Jane Blocker (University of Minnesota)
    Unbearable Artifacts: James Luna and the Museum as a Site for Activism

This is the first of two panels to consider the various ways that theoretical and practical collaborations across arts fields in performance studies produce models for rethinking the role of art activism generally. The second of these panels is on Thursday at 4.30 pm (see below).

Modes of Communication in Japan: Play
PHY 609
Chair: John Bell

  • Darren Aoki
  • Yoshiko Fukushima (University of Oklahoma)
    Comedian Enoken and Being Playful in Wartime Japan
  • Michal Daliot-Bul (Porter School of Cultural Studies, Tel Aviv University)
    Cell Phones in Twenty-First Century Japan as Cultural Playscape
  • John D Swain (Independent Scholar)
    Playing Korean: Japanese Explorations of Identity in Popular Entertainment
  • Ayelet Zohar (Slade School of Art, University College London)
    Foreplay, Doubleness, Sexuality and Playfulness in Post-Japanese Culture

The panel considers the ambiguities of play as a cultural behaviour that constantly restructures and interrogates 'serious reality' by examining forms, messages, and the impact of ludic media of communication in Japan.

BMS 319

  • Helen Paris (Artist)
  • Leslie Hill (Artist)
  • Antonia Byatt (The Women's Library)
  • Emmy Minton (Live Art UK)

A roundtable discussion of Curious' performative investigation Be(longing), concerning the history and issue of prostitution in London's East End.

Verbatim Theatre
BMS 320

  • Andy Lavender
    Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London
  • David Annen
    (Actor and Facilitator
  • Dan Milne
    Actor and Director

A conversation about recent work in verbatim theatre in the UK, between expert practitioners in the field. 

Travel, Performance and Site 1
Chair: Dan Rebellato

  • Nadine Holdsworth (University of Warwick)
    Spaces to Play/Playing with Spaces: Littlewood's Fun-Palace and Playground Projects
  • Alina Hoyne (University of Melbourne)
    The Battle Re-run: Jeremy Deller's Battle of Orgeave
  • Fiona Wilkie (Roehampton University)
    A Place of One's Own

This is the first of two panels to consider the politics of performance and its relations to place and to travel. The second of these panels follows on Thursday at 4.30 pm (see below).


Late afternoon panels


Rights, Verbatim and Theatricality
BMS 318
Chair: Andy Lavender

  • Valerie Lucas (Ohio State University)
    Guantanamo: Honour Bound to Defend Freedom
  • Harry Derbyshire (University of Greenwich) and Loveday Hodson (University of Leicester)
    Human Rights and Contemporary British Theatre
  • Helen Nicholson (Royal Holloway, University of London)
    'Being Human': Intervention and Performance in Communities of Diaspora

This panel considers theatre and performance that engages directly with contemporary events, highlighting human rights issues, often through the use of participant testimony presented verbatim in the theatre.

Travel, Performance and Site 2
Chair: Laurie Beth Clark

  • Melissa Geppert (University of Minnesota)
    A Gesture of Thanks: Performing Community and Singularity in Mierle Laderman Ukeles's Touch Sanitation
  • Camilla Jalving (University of Copenhagen)
    Performing Borders: The Work of Emily Jacir
  • Silvija Jestrovic (University of Warwick)
    Angels in the Cities: Rituals of Political Decontamination

This is the second of two panels to consider the politics of performance and its relations to place and to travel. The first of these panels is on Thursday at 2pm (see above).

Theatre Performance
BMS 319
Chair: Ioana Szeman

  • Ivy Chang (National Chiao Tung University)
    The Lesbianisation of Shakespearean Theatre in Taiwan
  • Beth Hoffman (University of California, Berkeley)
    Blastedness: The Politics of the Textual and the Experiential in Howard Barker and Sarah Kane
  • Evan Darwin Winet (Macalester College)
    The Father's Face and the Mother's Wound: Ratna Sarumpaet and Indonesian Theatre after Suharto

This panel considers theatre performances and their capacity for challenging political orthodoxies and contributing to an extended understanding of the scope of rights.

Figures of the American State
BMS 320
Chair: Catherine Silverstone

  • Debra Levine (New York University)
    Becoming Traffic: Critical Mass, Visual Resistance and the Ghost Bike
  • Linell Hanover Ajello (City University of New York)
    From American Taliban to American Son: Jon Walker Lindh and the Bestowal of American Humanity
  • Gary Maciag (Siena College)
    Memory, Mourning and Witness: The Vietnam Veterans and WWII Memorials in Washington DC

What kind of performances of American identity might be found in the figures of John Walker Lindh, radical cyclists and war veterans? These papers address ways in which the American imaginary is performed, and the relationship between these performances and the nature of American humanity and American rights.

Race and Rights
BMS 321
Chair: Paul Rae

  • Maryrose Casey (University of Queensland)
    Performing the Human for Social and Political Rights: Indigenous Australians Contesting Racialised Discourses
  • Tyrone Williams (Xavier University)
    Glenn Ligon and the Million Man March
  • Kimberley Jannarone (University of California, Santa Cruz)
    Externalising the Internalised: Performance of Identity in African-American Drama

These papers bring together diverse considerations of rights as relating to racialised discourses and political identities in Australia and in the United States.

Means to Activism: Unbearable Acts, Relational Aesthetics and Hyperbolic Liveness 2
Arts Lecture Theatre

  • Nao Bustamente (Performance Artist and Interventionist, Rensselaer Polytechnic, New York)
    Shifting Perspectives and Power Play
  • Jennifer Doyle (University of California, Riverside)
    The Impulse to Realism
  • Amelia Jones (University of Manchester)
    Rupture / Erotic Ethics and the Broken Body
  • Franko B (Performance Artist and Activist, London)
    In dialogue with Jennifer Doyle

This is the second of two panels to consider the various ways that theoretical and practical collaborations across arts fields in performance studies produce models for rethinking the role of art activism generally. The first of these panels is on Thursday at 2pm (see above).

Global Suffrage: Performing the Struggle for Human Rights
BMS 322
Chair: Erin Hurley

  • Mary Karen Dahl (Florida State University)
    Performing Rights, Transforming Public Policy
  • Natalie Meisner (University of Regina)
    Suffragette Humour as a Site of Resistance: Canada's 1914 'Parliament of Women'
  • Donia Mounsef (Yale University)
    Libidinal Fin de Siècle: Performative Polemics Between Social Critique and Decadence

The performative aspect of women's suffrage, as well as the theatrical and cultural history of women's rights activism, is only beginning to receive comprehensive critical attention. The contributors to this panel use case studies of women separated by geography, culture, and time to demonstrate the diversity not only of the players, but of the performance modes through which they have generated enfranchised identities and actualised the freedoms they continue to seek.

Community Performance Working Group
BMS 326

Practising Community Performance/Community Performance Practices

  • Sonja Kuftinec (University of Minnesota)
    Community Witnessing: Cornerstone Theatre
  • Gwen Robertson (Humboldt State University)
    Encountering Community: The Challenges of the Encounters Project
  • Paul Dwyer (University of Sydney)
    A Buyer's Market: Evaluating Recent Community-Based Performance in Australia

Black Performance and Biopolitics Working Group
PHY 609

A Conversation with Paul Gilroy
In Postcolonial Melancholia (2005), Paul Gilroy returns to the themes of his early works, There Ain't No Black in the Union Jack (1987) and The Empire Strikes Back (1982), and revisits the question of imperial blowback in a post-9/11 world. Repeating his call for a renewed and critically cosmopolitan humanism, Gilroy locates surprising moments of conviviality in the lived cultures of everyday contact and exchange, possibilities that are overlooked by the dominant mood of imperialist nostalgia and 'the clash of civilisations'. Join Prof. Gilroy in conversation with Tavia Nyong'o and the audience, for a discussion of how his recent work bears upon questions of human rights, the human, and performance as lived resistance.

Performance and Nature Working Group
Meeting Point: Registration Desk

The workshop 'Performance and Nature' will meet twice during the conference in Mile End Park, which was created for the Millennium festivities in 2000. We will discuss and experience the ideas of sustainability and also the 'native and invasive' quality of plants, nature, culture and people connected to the park and its influence on the visitors of Mile End Park. We plan interactive performative work and would welcome participants to join the group. You are welcome to join the internet workgroup, which will continue after the conference.

Preparatory group and artists:
Marilyn Arsem (USA), Helga Franke (Germany), Britt Hatzius (GB), Ute Ritschel (Germany), Regina Frank (Portugal/Germany), Michael Peterson (USA)

Philosophy in Practice
PHY 602
Facilitator: Simon Bayly (Roehampton University)

When should I intervene? A Philosophical Investigation

If 'rights' are something that can be performed, then such a 'performance' may well have to take the form an intervention. But to intervene typically means to interfere with and contest another set of perceived 'rights', including perhaps the right not to be subject to intervention. So when - and how - should I intervene? With facilitatory assistance, this group will determine its own procedure for investigating the issue, based on currently developing research into practical philosophy, temporarily defined as collective research into the unthought known using the given. Doing philosophy in this way involves not the application of theory, but the attempt to think from first principles and out of the messiness of the personal and the concrete, to address questions to which it appears we already have the answers. Participants should come prepared to describe and discuss a direct personal experience that they feel resonates with the opening question and to be open to the unplanned or unexpected. The session will function as a form of research in its own right, rather than reporting on work done at another time and in other place, employing methods of dialogic enquiry.

Numbers are limited to 12: please sign up to participate by putting your name on the sign-up sheet at the conference office, or by sending an email in advance to


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