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["Oh, Darling. The Dust Never Settles," OSU Department of Dance, Dance Uptown: DIRT, May 2012. Image courtesy of and coreography by Esther Baker-Tarpaga.]

In the 2013-2014 academic year, the Performance/Politics Working group of the Humanities Institute sponsored or co-sponsored six visiting lecturers, 2 graduate events, and 2 faculty symposia. We heard from Angela Ahlgren on the cultural politics of Taiko drumming in Japanese American communities, Victoria Fortuna on the choreographic negotiation of neoliberal policies in contemporary Argentine dance, Matt Sakakeeny on the continuum of sounds in Black religious music, Jesse Shipley on satire in popular West African music, Shilarna Stokes on amateurism and mass spectacles, and Ann Folino White on North American theaters of food and agriculture. We assisted with the Theatre graduate conference “Position: The Power and Politics of Witnessing,” and the inaugural event of the new Multicultural Center for Embodied Aesthetics, “Stories, Journeys, Dance.” We also assisted with the “Afro-Swedish Public Culture Symposium,” organized by Performance/Politics co-convenor Ryan Skinner, and with “The First Actresses: 1660-1930s,” a symposium organized by Theatre professor Lesley Ferris. Performance/Politics continues to support Performance Studies on campus, and to advertise related courses and events. Please see our website at

The Performance/Politics Working Group is an open group based in a shared orientation to performance as an analytical framework, an object of analysis, and an expressive process. In this group, we approach performance, conceptually and dramatically, through “the political” and vice versa. The working group will foster discussion around, for example, the impact of neoliberal policies on the making and funding of art; performance in and through new media and technology; the role of performance in contemporary social movements; art in the public sphere; performing arts as political commentary; performance in an era of global capitalism; the practice of art-making and the production of knowledge; collaborative research and creative communities; performance as a political tactic/strategy; among many other topics.

In particular, we wish to highlight work in Performance Studies, a field dedicated to the interdisciplinary study of expressive culture, for the OSU campus community and in our individual research. We hope to act as a hub bringing scholars together to share their work, providing a central location for professors advertising courses and students seeking mentors in the area of Performance Studies, and increasing the visibility of this interdisciplinary field at OSU. We hope you join us!

Coordinated by

Harmony Bench

Ryan Skinner

Jennifer Schlueter

[from left to right]: Harmony Bench (Dance), Ryan Skinner (Music; African American and African Studies), and Jennifer Schlueter (Theatre; English)