The Soyuz Symposium theme “ Stages?” seeks to trace the myriad intersections of performance studies, cultural studies, and ethnography as they relate to political imaginaries. We encourage presenters to consider the varied ways that performance circulates as an interpretive lens for political and social life, as an expressive genre for cultural forms, and as a mode for conducting and sharing ethnographic research. How might postsocialisms beget particular kinds of embodied practice, social action, and/or expressive culture? How might performance, as an embodied event, carry forth ways of knowing about postsocialisms that are otherwise overlooked or unexamined? How are the boundaries around what counts as “performance” drawn in different contexts? How might performance, the performative, or performance ethnography challenge, invigorate, or enliven explorations of postsocialisms and politics, including on a scale?

We welcome papers that explore these topics across postsocialist regions – from hip hop in Cuba, to in Russia, to fashion in Croatia, to contemporary art performance in Poland, to puppetry in Vietnam – using ethnographic and cultural studies approaches. Concepts of performance have long informed ethnography and cultural studies far beyond scholarship explicitly engaged with theater and other performance arts. We are thus especially eager to receive submissions that take up performance in all manner of theoretical paradigms and ethnographic settings, including and communication, international political posturing, and gender, race, and class.

Possible themes include:

  • Ritual and spectacle
  • Aesthetic forms
  • Performance in the “ Cold War”
  • The “end of realist politics”
  • Art vs. life
  • Masks or puppetry
  • Postsocialisms and postliberalisms
  • Front and backstage
  • Audience, publics, fandom
  • modes of mediated celebrity

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