Race and Performance in the US-Canada borderlands / Race et performances aux frontières canado-américaines

Presented by / Présenté par : Preeti Dhaliwal, Matt Jones, Kristin Moriah, Colleen Quigley, Melissa Templeton, Danielle Wong. Guest editors/moderators: Colleen Kim Daniher and Katherine Zien. TRIC/RTAC hosts: Kim Solga (Editor), Lisa Aikman (Managing Editor). Production support and editing: Lisa Aikman and Jeff Gagnon.



This virtual roundtable on “Race and Performance in the US-Canada Borderlands” was recorded on Sunday, May 10th, 2020, as part of a real-time ZOOM launch event hosted by TRIC/RTAC. It features conversation with six contributors from the June 2020 special issue of TRIC/RTAC on the same topic, moderated by the guest editors. The purpose of this roundtable is to further the important discussion launched in the special issue, which treats performances of race across the United States and Canada within frameworks of national sovereignty, imperialism, immigration, and knowledge production. The two neighbouring countries share racial histories and present conditions, yet they are not often discussed together, and even less so in theatre and performance studies. Contributors offer brief synopses of their contributions and thoughts towards future development of this area of research inquiry, followed by an open Q&A.


La table ronde virtuelle « Race et performances aux frontières canado-américaines » fut enregistrée le 10 mai dernier lors du lancement sur Zoom du numéro spécial de TRIC/RTAC portant sur le même thème. L’événement, animé par les rédactrices du numéro (paru en juin 2020), donnait la parole aux six personnes ayant publié un article de fond dans la revue. Celles-ci ont d’abord présenté un résumé de leur contribution avant de proposer de nouvelles pistes de réflexion sur leur sujet. S’en est suivie une période de questions. Cette table ronde visait à approfondir l’importante discussion lancée dans le numéro spécial, qui traite des performances de la race aux États-Unis et au Canada dans le contexte de la souveraineté nationale, de l’impérialisme, de l’immigration et de la production de connaissances. L’histoire et la situation actuelle en matière de race au Canada se rapprochent de celles des États-Unis. Malgré leurs points communs, les deux pays sont rarement abordés ensemble lors de conversations sur la question raciale, et encore moins dans les travaux de recherche en théâtre et en performance. Participants et participantes à la table ronde : Preeti Dhaliwal, Matt Jones, Kristin Moriah, Colleen Quigley, Melissa Templeton et Danielle Wong. Rédactrices du numéro spécial et animatrices de la discussion : Colleen Kim Daniher et Katherine Zien. Équipe de TRIC/RTAC : Kim Solga (rédactrice), Lisa Aikman (directrice administrative). Production et montage : Lisa Aikman et Jeff Gagnon.


Dr. Colleen Kim Daniher (roundtable co-facilitator; San Francisco State University): Colleen Kim Daniher is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at San Francisco State University. She is a cultural historian of race and performance in the Americas, and her research utilizes transnational empire and colonialism as analytics to investigate racialized perception, embodiment, and aesthetics. Daniher is currently working on two manuscript projects: the first, an analysis of mixed-race actresses as a fruitful interpretive problem of twentieth-century US performance historiography, and the second, a study of decolonial aesthetics in post-1945 maritime Southeast Asian performance. Her articles have appeared in or are forthcoming from Theatre Journal; Women & Performance, e-misférica, Theatre Research in Canada, and Canadian Theatre Review. She may be contacted at ckdaniher[at]sfsu.edu.

Dr. Katherine Zien (roundtable co-facilitator; McGill University): Katherine Zien is Associate Professor in the Department of English at McGill University. Zien’s pedagogy and research treat theatre and performance in the Americas, with emphasis on transnational mobility, cultural management, and frameworks of racialization. Her 2017 book, Sovereign Acts: Performing Race, Space, and Belonging in Panama and the Canal Zone, Zien’s research can be found in Latin American and Caribbean Ethnic Studies, Theatre Survey, e-misférica, alt.theatre, Global South, legal constructions of imperialism, race, and national sovereignty in the Panama Canal Zone investigates performances and during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Her current project examines militarization and performance during Latin America’s Cold War. Identities, and Latin American Theatre Review. She may be contacted at katherine.zien [at] mcgill.ca.

Dr. Danielle Wong (University of British Columbia): Danielle Wong is Assistant Professor in the Department of English Language and Literatures at the University of British Columbia. Her research and teaching interests focus on historical and contemporary relationships between race,Empire, and “new” technologies. Her current book project examines Asian North American new media productions and performances, and traces a genealogy of “virtual Asianness” by analyzing how Asian North American racialization has, and continues to be, interwoven with shifting concepts of mediation and virtuality. She is also a faculty affiliate of the Asian Canadian and Migration Studies Program at UBC. Her published work can be found in Studies in Canadian Literature and Transformations.

Dr. Matt Jones is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Toronto’s Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies, where he researches war, terrorism, and race in performance. His current project, “Re-Thinking the Peaceful Nation: Building an Alternative Archive of Performance about War in Canada,” is part of Gatherings Archival and Oral Histories of Performance. His dissertation, The Shock and Awe of the Real: Political Performance in an Age of War and Terror, is a transnational study of theatre, live art, protests, and digital media installations about the recent conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and beyond. His writing has appeared in SubStance, alt.theatre, the Globe and Mail, the Montreal Gazette, This Magazine, and Canadian Dimension, and he is the co-editor, with Barry Freeman, of a special issue of Canadian Theatre Review about “Post-Truth” in performance. His article, “Sarin Gas Heartbreak: Theatre and Post-Truth Warfare in Syria” is forthcoming in Theatre Journal. As a playwright and devisor, his work includes Dracula in a Time of Climate Change, The Mysterious Case of the Flying Anarchist, and the collective creation Death Clowns in Guantánamo Bay. mattjones.space.

Dr. Melissa Templeton (Lecturer in Dance, University of Nebraska, Lincoln): Melissa Templeton’s research historicizes African Diaspora dance in Montreal while considering its connections to Canadian multicultural policy, competing anglophone and francophone nationalisms, and racial construction in Québec. Dr. Templeton’s work has appeared in Dance Research Journal, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Dance Collection Danse Magazine, and the Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism. She received her PhD in 2012 from UCR and her research was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Dr. Kristin Moriah (Queen’s University): Kristin Moriah is an Assistant Professor of English at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. She serves on the executive councils of the Canadian Association of American Studies, and C19: The Society for Nineteenth-Century Americanists. She is also a teaching partner for the Colored Conventions Project, an award-winning digital humanities research project that sheds light on black political organizing in the nineteenth century. Kristin completed her Ph.D. in African American Culture and English literature at the CUNY Graduate Center. Her essays and performance reviews can be found in American Quarterly, Callaloo, Theater Journal, TDR, The Journal of American Drama and Theatre, and Understanding Blackness through Performance (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013). Her research interests include Sound Studies and Black feminist performance, particularly the circulation of African American performance within the black diaspora and its influence on the formation of national identity.

Colleen Quigley is Head and Manuscripts Librarian (Performing Arts Collection) at Archives and Special Collections at Memorial University of Newfoundland’s Queen Elizabeth II Library. Colleen holds a Masters of Information from the University of Toronto; a BFA in Dance from York University and an English major from Memorial. She has worked as a performer, dance instructor and choreographer in St. John’s, Toronto, and Maine (USA), as well as in Amsterdam and Nijmegen, the Netherlands.  Prior to her return to Newfoundland in 2010 Colleen was the first institutional archivist at Canada’s National Ballet School. Her research interests include performing arts and the relationship with memory, meaning and myth-making and concepts of individual and cultural identity and representation.  She is an active member of the SIBMAS; Canadian Society for Dance Studies; Association of Newfoundland & Labrador Archives; DanceNL; Kittiwake Dance Theatre, Newfoundland and Labrador Library Association; Performance Studies International; International Council of Traditional Music; as well as the Association of Canadian Archivists and Society of American Archivists. 

Preeti Dhaliwal (Guelph) is a critical race feminist, multi-disciplinary artist, VONA alumni, lawyer, writer, and facilitator. Her writing has appeared in Prism International, Looseleaf Magazine, the Festival of Literary Diversity’s program, alt. theatrePRISM international, No Foundations and the Times Colonist. She left law to complete a Masters degree at the University of Victoria where she used arts-based methodologies to investigate how laws live in the body with a focus on race and the Komagata Maru (available at http://hdl.handle.net/1828/8025). She now teaches, writes and plays in Toronto, the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee, the Métis, and most recently, the territory of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation.

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