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Opening Acts

Opening Acts
Performance in/as Communication and Cultural Studies

Edited by:
  • Judith Hamera - Princeton University, USA, Texas A&M University, USA

July 2005 | 288 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Opening Acts provides new, rigorous ways to analyze communication and culture through performance. It offers cutting-edge readings of everyday life, space, history, and intersections of all three, using a critical performance-based approach. 

Key Features:
  • Familiarizes readers with the core elements and commitments of performance-based analysis
  • Links performance-based analysis to theoretical and analytical perspectives in communication and cultural studies
  • Provides engaging examples of how to use performance as a critical tool to open up communication and culture
  • combines the best features of two classroom formats. Like a reader, it offers a menu of diverse approaches to performance-based analysis. Like a monograph, these approaches are organized into a coherent conceptual and pedagogical frame. 
  • Explicitly links developments in performance theory and methodology to current theories and methodologies in communication and cultural studies.
  • Its topical organization mirrors those theoretical and methodological concerns most likely to engage students and scholars: how to analyze practices of everyday life, history, space, and intersections of all three. 

Opening Acts
works across the divisions of communication and cultural studies, including elements of interpersonal, organizational, and rhetorical communication, feminism, critical pedagogy, ethnography, and visual studies.  

Judith Hamera
Introduction: Opening Opening Acts
Section 1: Engaging the Everyday
Judith Hamera
Leonard Clyde Hawes
1. Becoming Other-Wise: Conversational Performance and the Politics of Experience
Bryant Keith Alexander
2. Telling Twisted Tales: Owning Place, Owning Culture in Ethnographic Research
Section 2: Animating Locations
Judtih Hamera
Sonja Arsham Kuftinec
3. Bridging Haunted Places: Performance and the Production of Mostar
Michael S. Bowman
4. Looking for Stonewall's Arm: Tourist Performance as Research Method
Section 3: Interrogating Histories
Judith Hamera
Dwight Conquergood
5. Rethinking Elocution: The Trope of the Talking Book and Other Figures of Speech
Ruth Laurion Bowman
6. Diverging Paths in Performance Genealogies
Section 4: Synthesizing Scholarship
Judith Hamera
Paul Edwards
7. The Mechanical Bride of Yonville-l'Abbaye (Batteries Not Included): Remapping the Canonical Landmark
Section 5: Embracing Performances
Judith Hamera
D. Soyini Madison
8. Performing Theory/Embodied Writing
About the Editor
About the Contributors
Key features
  • The "Introduction" (by Judith Hamera) offers an overview of performance and performativity as analytical tropes in critical inquiry, focusing particularly on the past twenty years of scholarship in the humanities and social sciences; it orients the scholar and student who may not be familiar with performance theory to its critical possibilities, its intellectual antecedents and commitments. The "Introduction" specifically links performance theory to current perspectives in communication and cultural studies, forging epistemological and methodological connections between these disciplines.
  • Each of the five sections—"Engaging the Everyday", "Animating Locations",  "Interrogating Histories", "Synthesizing Scholarship", and Embracing Performances—opens with a brief overview of the topic. The emphasis here is on texts and arguments in communication and cultural studies that call for and demonstrate the use of performance to critically engage the subject matter across the humanities and social sciences. The goal is to set the essays that follow into an intellectual context that demonstrates two things: (1) performance is clearly useful as a method of data collection and trope for analysis in the topic area and (2) the essays that follow are models of the kind of concerns extant in communication and cultural studies.
  • The contributors represent some of the top scholars working in the discipline: Dwight Conquergood, Judith Hamera, Leonard Clyde Hawes, Bryant K. Alexander, Sonja Arsham Kuftinec, Michael Bowman, Ruth Laurion Bowman, Paul Edwards, and D. Soyini Madison.
  • "The book will make a strong contribution, not only to the field of performance studies but more interestingly to the related larger fields of cultural studies and communica­tion studies. For communication studies the book brings together (in a manner that makes them cohere as a set of 'innovative approaches') (re)conceptions and applications of performance that are currently being developed in a rather dispersed manner. For the larger discourses of communication and cultural studies, the invitation offered to both scholars and students is to move beyond the acknowledgement of perform­ance as a limited tool for viewing the social and cultural to seeing performance as an approach in and of it­self (rigorous, interdisciplinary, situated) to sociocultural criticism." –Handel Wright, Educational Administration & Cultural Studies Dept., University of Tennessee at Knoxville

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