English 9141A/B

Performance and the Global City: How acts of Performance Support, and Supplant, the "Creative City" Script

Professor Kim Solga.
Half Course.

Over the last six years I’ve been part of a large research project that has created two books about urban performance, helping to launch the sub-field of urban performance studies (within the linked disciplines of theatre studies and performance studies). Performance and the City (2009) considers the ways in which performance events of all kinds – from festivals, to specific theatre companies and productions, to quotidian performativity in and around urban spaces – work in tandem with the rise of “creativity” culture (think Richard Flordia’s Rise of the Creative Class) to support neoliberal infrastructures in cities across the Anglophone “west”. In Performance and the Global City (2013), my collaborators and I explored the question of how performative acts help to establish the very idea of the “global city” beyond the Anglophone “west” – and we looked carefully at the subtle yet powerful ways that theatre and performance events work to challenge and critique that term in an effort to support the needs of populations left behind by neoliberal globalization. Both books have been well received and are currently nominated for the ATHE Excellence in Editing Award.

This graduate seminar would deploy my expertise as a scholar working at the forefront of urban performance studies, and would feature a mix of theoretical readings (drawn from human geography as well as performance studies), published descriptions and videos of key urban performance events, and, potentially, site visits to performance spaces in Toronto, Detroit, here in London, and possibly in New York or Chicago.