Radical possibilities : anti-racist performance / practice in 900 Gallons

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Date

2012-05

Authors

Gurgel, Nicole Leigh

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Abstract

This thesis centers around my autoethnographic performance 900 Gallons; it explores the importance of re-membering oppressive family histories and white supremacist legacies in particular. First, I explore the theoretical frame that whiteness studies offers this project, considering the ways in which performance can disrupt hegemonic whiteness, with specific attention to white invisibility, cultural appropriation and supremacy. Next, I discuss the project’s primary methodologies: performance autoethnography and queer genealogy. Performance autoethnography, I argue, illuminates the discursive potential of privileging both critical distance and critical intimacy. Queer genealogy foregrounds the importance of historiographical descent as well as dissent. Together, these methods reveal the resistant possibilities of embodied scholarship. Finally, I investigate the risks and possibilities of re-performing oppressive histories, arguing that when these narratives are performed with a critical difference, they can create radical possibilities. The Appendix includes the complete 900 Gallons script, as it was performed at the University of Texas on November 3 and 4, 2011.

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