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ASCA Workshop 2022 | Organizers: Shekoufeh Behbehani, Martina Flores Mendeville, and Alvaro Lopez | June 1-3, 2022

Event details of Staging Gender: Sexuality and Embodiment On Stage across Geopolitical Borders
Start date 1 June 2022
End date 3 June 2022

Full program, dates, and locations: Click here.

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.


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 assimilation 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.


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

Panels, roundtable discussions, screenings, and performances

The ASCA Workshop events include screenings of works by filmmakers Tina Gharavi, Bo Wang, and Domiziano Cristopharo, stage performances by Lekan Balogun, and physical theater workshops by Mori Plachinski. Art interventions and discussions will be joined by Prof. Patricia Pisters, Dr. Sara Janssen, Dr. Jaap Kooijman, Dr. Diego Semerene, Prof. Katti Röttger, and Dr. Sruti Bala (among others), as well as the keynote speakers and artists.

See the complete list here.

Keynote Speakers and Keynote Interventions

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-writer-showrunner-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.

Buhlebezwe Siwani – Buhlebezwe Siwani was raised in Johannesburg, due to the nomadic nature of her upbringing she has also lived in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu Natal. Siwani works predominantly in the medium of performance and installations; she includes photographic stills and videos of some performances. She uses the videos and the stills as a stand in for her body which is physically absent from the space. Siwani completed her BAFA(Hons) at the Wits School of Arts in Johannesburg in 2011 and her MFA at the Michealis School of Fine Arts in 2015. She has exhibited at the Michaelis Galleries in Cape Town, a site-specific exhibition in collaboration with APEX Art, New York City, in 13th Avenue, Alexandra township, Commune 1, and Stevenson in Cape Town. She is represented in the in multiple private collection and institutional collections around the world. She lives and works between Amsterdam and Cape Town.

Attendance and participation in workshops: Open to everybody.

Up to 2 ECT available for RMA students (attendance and submission of 3000-word paper. Registration is required for ECT request through

Additional Credits for participation in some of its workshops and events.


Wednesday 1st of June

Location (9:00-13:30): Doelenzaal, University Library (Singel 425)

9:00-9:30 Registration and coffee

9:30-9:45 Opening Remarks

9:45-10:00 Welcome by Esther Peeren

10.00-11.00 Keynote Dr. Eliza Steinbock (Maastricht University): “Seeking Affective Justice in Trans Media Objects: Archival Activations and Re-enactment as Political Redress”

11:00-12:15 Panel 1: Staging Gender in the Media / Chair: Domitilla Olivieri

“Airing Resistance: Aaangan Terha and Pakistani military masculinity” – Khurram Saleem

“Monetizing the Sectioned Body” – Karen Sztajnberg

“Of (gender) nonsense in the Body of a Film” – Elena Sarno


12:15-13:30 Panel 2: Acting on the Politicized Stage / Chair: Irene Villaescusa Illán

“Staging Incongruity Humour: Enacting and Contesting Cultural Scripts in Self-Representations of Jewish and Muslim Women in British Stand-up Comedy” – Lucy Spoliar

“Body Potencia During Las Tesis’ Performance of the Protest Dance: Un Violador en Tu Camino” – Emma Bakker

“Choreographing Race in the Netherlands: Staging Dutchness and Dis/Identification” – Ine Beljaars


13:30-14:30 Lunch


Location (15:00-18:15): P.C. Hoofthuis, Room 1.05 (Spuistraat 134)

15:00-16:00 Keynote Tina Gharavi “Who Speaks for Whom… Documentary Truth and the Storytelling Cannibals” + Screening of Mother/Country

16:00-17:00 Film screening and Q&A – Bo Wang

17:15-18:15 Roundtable Discussion: Cinematic Staging: Reflections on Film Across Geopolitical Borders (Prof. Patricia Pisters, Dr. Eliza Steinbock, Tina Gharavi, Bo Wang, Sara Janssen. Moderated by: Domitilla Olivieri)

18:15-19:15 Opening Drinks


Thursday 2nd of June

Location (9:00-11:00): University Theater, Room 3.01 (Nieuwe Doelenstraat 16)

9:00-9:15 Registration and coffee

9:15-10:00 Keynote Buhlebezwe Siwani: “Gender as a construct”

10:00-11:00 Panel 3: Performing Merging Identities / Chair: Sruti Bala

“Staging Gender in the Postcolony: Local Skirmishes, Global Concerns and the example of J.P. Clark’s The Wives Revolt” – Lekan Balogun

“Staging Psychiatric Diagnosis: the Concept of Performativity and its Relevance to the Diagnosis of Psychopathology” – Joe van der Eerden

“Cypriot Memory Embodiment: from Shoushoukos to Shakira” – George Rallis


Location (11:00-15:00): P.C. Hoofthuis, Room 1.04

11:00-12:15 Lunch and coffee

12:15-13:30 Panel 4: Disrupted Spaces, Unexpected Stages / Chair: Pedram Dibazar

“Your Passport Doesn’t Work Here: Asylum, Space, and Iranian Queer Heritage” – Paniz Moayeri

“Beyond the Pastoral Paradise: Muslim Bodies in British Rural Space” – Lelia Tavakoli Farsooni

“Affective Necropolitics: Queer refugees at the ‘gates’ of Europe” – Panos Tsitsanoudis


13:30-14:45 Panel 5: Material/Temporal Performances Through the Body / Chair: Martina Flores Mendeville

“Trans Representation: Axes of Research of an Invisible Body on Theatre Stage” – Dr. Stefania Lodi Rizzini

“Rearranging the Modern Temporal Stage: Music, Race, and Gender in the Seventeen Century Caribbean” – Juan Montoya Alzate

“‘Los Pájaros del Yokubo’: Research-creation in Body Narratives, Physical Theatre and Sexuality” – Mori Plaschinski


Location (15:00-19:00): P.C. Hoofthuis

15:00-18:00 P.C. Hoofthuis Room 115Workshop by Mori Plaschinski: Physical Theatre Laboratory: Re-Authoring the Body on Stage

15:00-19:00 P.C. Hoofthuis Room 1.04. Screening of La Perdición (Cristopharo 2021) followed by a roundtable discussion with filmmaker Domiziano CristopharoDr. Jaap Kooijman, and Dr. Diego Semerene. [Trigger Warning: The film to be screened contains explicit depictions of violence, sex, and sexual assault.]


Friday 3rd of June

Location (9:00-13:00): Bushuis, VOC Zaal (Kloveniersburgwal 48)

9:00-9:30 Registration and coffee

9:30-10:30 Keynote Dr. Mara Polgovsky Ezcurra (Birbeck University): “Performance Beyond the (Human) Body or the Search for Life Itself”

10:30-11:45 Panel 6: Embodied Violence / Chair: Murat Aydemir

“Embodying Ghosts” – Mina Hunt

“Hypervisibility and Trans Experience Beyond the Western Gaze” – Nisrine Chaer

“I’m the Main Character, You’re Just an NPC: Roleplaying the Human in Digital Alterreality” – Sarah Trottier


11:45-13:00 Panel 7: Literary Stages / Chair: Ben Moore

“Staging the Crime Scene: Femicide and Performativity in Ciudad Juárez” – Josh Weeks

“Reflections on Illegibility: Miaojin’s Crocodile, Bus 74, from Paphos to Lefkoşa and back”  – Simone Stergioula

 “Gendering Geopower: Representing the Earth in Colonial Potosí” – Simon Ferdinand


13:00-14:00 Lunch


Location (14:00-18:00): Oudemanhuispoort, Room D1.08 (Oudemanhuispoort 4-6)

14:00-15:00 Theatre Performance by Lekan Balogun (Legendaire Theatre): J.P. Clark’s The Wives Revolt

15:00-16:30 Roundtable Discussion: The Body, Performance, and Violence on the Theatrical Stage (Prof. Kati Röttger, Dr. Mara Polgovsky Ezcurra, Lekan Balogun, Mori Plaschinski)

16:30-17:30 Finishing Talk/Intervention: “Mariku Wayward Aesthetics: Popular Theatre Peformances from Curaçao and Queer Violence” – Julian Isenia

17:30-19:30: ASCA Borrel and Closing