Reading Group: Material Culture

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In Week Eight, led by DPhil candidate in English Kitty Gurnos-Davies, we will focus on the material culture of theatre. In our session we will discuss how we might approach objects and the materiality of performance onstage and in the archive. The reading provides an accessible overview of key theorists working in material culture studies whose work has been applied to theatre and performance including Bill Brown’s ‘thing theory’, Jane Bennet’s Vibrant Matter, and Bruno Latour’s ‘Actor Network Theory (ANT)’. We will use these ideas to consider how agency might be distributed across human actors and objects in performance to challenge anthropocentric conventions in theatre studies.

Reading: Marlis Schweitzer and Joanne Zerdy, ‘Introduction: Object Lessons’ in their edited collection Performing Objects and Theatrical Things (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014).

The Theatre & Performance reading group meets fortnightly on Monday evenings in term, for informal discussion of critical work in theatre & performance studies. Each session is led by a postgraduate student or early career researcher on a topic connected with their research, with a short reading circulated in advance.

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Humanities & Performance

Theatre and Performance

Contact name: Hannah Greenstreet

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Audience: Open to all