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Staging Gender: Sexuality and Embodiment on Stage across Geopolitical Borders  

ASCA Workshop 2022 organized by Shekoufeh Behbehani, Martina Flores Mendeville, and Alvaro Lopez

Confirmed Speakers

Eliza Steinbock – Associate Professor of Gender and Diversity Studies at Maastricht University. They are author of the award-winning book Shimmering Images: Trans Cinema, Embodiment, and the Aesthetics of Change (Duke, 2019), and co-editor of Art and Activism in the Age of Systemic Crisis: Aesthetic Resilience (Routledge, 2020). Currently Eliza is project leader of “The Critical Visitor” consortium, developing intersectional approaches for
inclusive heritage (NWO 2020-2025). Together with Susan Stryker and Jian Neo Chen, Eliza co-edits the new Duke book series for critical trans studies, ASTERISK.

Tina Gharavi – Born in Tehran, Gharavi is the swiss-army-knife of director-writershowrunner- producers focused on delivering authentic stories lensed with an impeccably
wrought perspective. Having worked in war zones and in guerrilla filmmaking, Gharavi marries her indomitable spirit with a distinct talent to deliver performances and manage beautifully observed stories. Her debut feature, I Am Nasrine, was nominated for a BAFTA, she has recently completed principle photography on her second feature, A Beirut Love Story. Her next film, a feature documentary, Tribalism is Killing Us resulted from visiting Angola State Prison, a film about difference and othering is due out in 2021 and she’s a showrunner, engaged on developing her
first TV series, Refurinn/The Fox, an Icelandic/British detective noir with an intriguing twist. Gharavi is also an academic, teaching filmmaking around the world, and was awarded an MIT Fellowship. She was elected into the BAFTA Academy in 2017, is represented by Independent Talent in the UK and Gersh in Los Angeles, her two home bases.

Mara Polgovsky Ezcurra – Lecturer in Contemporary Art at Birkbeck, University of London. Her research focuses on contemporary Latin American Art and Intellectual History, looking at the politics of aesthetics and changing ideas of “life”, “agency” and “the body” in artistic practice. Her books include Touched Bodies: The Performative Turn in Latin American Art (Rutgers University Press, 2019), the forthcoming essay collection Marcos Kurtycz: Corporeality Unbound (Fauna-Jumex, 2019), and the edited volume Sabotage Art: Politics and Iconoclasm in Contemporary Latin America.

Dates

On this academic year, the ASCA Workshop will take place in person in Amsterdam on the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd of June.
Staging Gender will engage its participants in a critical blend of academic, artistic, and activist events aimed at blurring epistemological and cultural boundaries—from theoretical stances on performance to embodied stage violence, from lived experience and activism to
discursive tensions across (political/disciplinary/social) borders.

New Call for Contributions

Given the open character and ajm of this year’s event, we are happy to reopen our call for contributions: We are especially looking for perspectives on violence, representation, embodiment, and/or sexuality from artistic and activist perspectives (see the potential areas
for contribution below).
Please submit a 300-word abstract and short bio by March 10 2022 (extended) to staging.gender2022@gmail.com
For more information, you can also check the website of the workshop: https://staginggender2022.wordpress.com/

Description

The stage is never a neutral space, it is not an innocent ground of representation and entertainment. When sexuality, gender, or race enter the stage, the political and the personal meet with far-reaching implications. After all, who is being represented and how? By whom? And for what audience? Two decades ago, José Esteban Muñoz (1999) argued for a personal/political staging that moves beyond mere oppositions. With the notion of disidentification, Muñoz addressed forms of staging and performing that cannot be collapsed into simplistic understandings of oppression and resistance. Muñoz’s work hinted at the increasing multiplication of staged bodies, of staged understandings of sexuality and race that in the last decades have depoliticized and commodified once radical forms of entering the stage. But what does it mean to put these sociocultural markers on stage nowadays? How have the political and personal changed positions in the last twenty years? Moreover, how can the stage itself, from that of a play or a film to that of a smartphone or the street, affect that which is being staged? After all, to speak of bodies, of sexuality, and violence from a stage and to an audience from the Netherlands, Iran, or Argentina entails different ways of relating to and interacting with the world. How do the personal and the political change in the movement across these contexts? And how is that which is represented transformed, misunderstood, and/or reconceptualized?
All these questions aim to open a critical reflection and dialogue on the personal/political role of the stage; they intend to reflect on the ways that the stage (re)shapes gender, sexuality, and race across geopolitical borders in the contemporary moment. We want to rethink what the
stage is according to its location, as well as its implications for the way in which we understand the world. We call for a dialogue that problematizes simplistic understandings of similation and resistance; we want to move beyond taking a film, or a play, or a street performance as either revolutionary or oppressive. In short, just like Muñoz, we aim at addressing the multiplicity of bodily, political, and social implications of the stage when it gets caught in the asymmetries binding different sociopolitical contexts.

References
Muñoz, José Esteban. 1999. Disidentifications: Queers of Color and the Performance of Politics. Cultural Studies of America. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Intersecting Areas for Contributions:

- Beyond Representation and Opacity in times of Hypervisibility: Reflections on and engagements with compulsory staging/visibility for/from a Western perspective of differing racialized experiences, embodiments, and sexualities.
- Contextual Tensions on Stage: Approaches to the differences and commonalities that stages, and staging enact, assimilate, and/or subvert across different geopolitical settings.
- Trans Representations on Stage: Critical reflections on how gendered bodies and bodies in ‘transition’ are represented on stage and through different media.
- Performance and Violence: Critical engagements  addressing the crossings of performance, violence, race, gender, and sexuality.

Conference website