Black Performance Theory 2006 Schedule

 Participant List and Bios

Friday, April 28

10:00 - 10:30 Welcome
10:30 - 11:15 Dialogue 1 Richard Green and Pamela Booker on Adrian Piper’s CORNERED

11:15 - 12:00 Dialogue 2 Wendy S. Walters and Jennifer D. Brody on Miwon Kwon, space and movement

12:00 - 1:00 LUNCH

1:15 - 2:00 Dialogue 3 Nadine George-Graves and Jayna Brown on Theatre Journal “Black Performance” issue
2:00 - 2:45 Dialogue 4 E. Patrick Johnson and Annemarie Bean on Tyler Perry and the persistence of Performative Black Humor

3:00 - 4:00 WORKS IN PROGRESS (2 Minute Sessions)

In this session, open to anyone in the room, participants outline projects in motion. 2 Minute Time limit!

4:15 - 6:00 Special Session Ted Gordon and African American Studies Department at Williams: 28: “Academics, Intellectualism & Activism: Forging an Identity for Black/Africana Studies” with Ted Gordon, anthropologist and Director of the Center for African and African American Studies, UT-Austin. This dialogue will focus on the implications for Africana Studies at Williams College. 4:15 p.m. in the Faculty House Living Room. Open to students, faculty and staff.

6:00 Dinner


Williams College SANKOFA step dancing team will present Sankofa’s Fresh Out of Boot Camp; an Exclusive Spring Show April 28th and 29th at 8:00pm in the MainStage of the ’62 Center for Theatre and Dance.

10:30 CABARET Sharing of performance work. Improvisations welcome.


Saturday, April 29

9:30 - 10:15 Dialogue 5 Anita Gonzalez discusses and responds to images and perceptions of blackness in Mexico.

10:15 - 11:00 Dialogue 6 Hershini Bhana Young and Harvey Young discuss Taylor’s Archive and the Repertoire

11:00 - 12:00 WISH LIST PROJECTS (2 minute sessions)

In this session, open to anyone in the room, participants outline projects they wish to undertake - or wish someone else would undertake. 2 Minute Time limit!


2:00 - 2:45 Dialogue 7 Anna Scott and Nicole Castor discuss Taylor’s Archive and the Repertoire

3:00 - 3:45 Dialogue 8 Tavia Nyong’o and Thomas DeFrantz discuss Alexander Weheliye’s Phongraphies: Grooves in Sonic Afro-Modernity

4:00 - 5:00 RESPONSES from WITNESSES

In this session, witnesses offer observations and responses to the events. Five minutes

5:15 - 6:30 Future Plans Session

Discussion of book project, future plans, sharing resources, other events and performances.


About Dialogue Sessions: For 25 minutes, Two discussants who have been in conversation over the past month or so share their observations or riff on ideas that the material they have chosen inspires. The working group listens. For 10 minutes, the working group members offer responses to the discussion. During that time, the two discussants listen. For 5 minutes, the discussants respond to the group. Although it may sound strict, this method, developed by Anna Scott, allows for a juicy call and response among participants.

Information about WILLIAMS LOCAL ARRANGEMENTS may be found here.

Hello friends. We sincerely hope that you are taking care out there - it seems to get harder every day - and that you are finding ways to stay interested and committed to your work, your life, your loves, your journey.

For BPT 2006, we’ve gone back to the planning board to think through our goals and aspirations for convening the event. Three important strands come forward:

to stimulate discussion and reflection
to inspire action across disciplines/institutions
to create environment for art/scholarship that nurtures growth.

To prepare for our 2006 meeting, we propose a different format than at the last four meetings fo the group.

To move toward the first strand, we ask you to pair yourself up with someone else attending the event whom you don’t know very well, or whose work you don’t know well. Working together by email, choose a text to explore. Something that inspires you in the realm of black performance theory. Break it down together. Hash it out - what does the text do or not do, how is it great or useless, that sort of thing. At the BPT, you’ll have a 25-minute block of time to point/counterpoint the text in front of the group. We’ll have a ten-minute block for response/questions/further provocations from the group.

To move toward the second goal, we’ll have a shared resources session - possibly over a meal - to talk about the shape of institutional support these days, and consider what our institutions can do/have done to promote possibilities for the field. Several of us have been able to produce BPT among other kinds of performance events; how can we brainstorm other events/ways to work together/move forward for the field? In today’s increasingly hostile climate, we probably need to be more aggressively strategizing to support junior faculty and encourage promising students to pursue performance theory.

To move toward the third aspiration, we’ll continue to have the "work in progress" sessions, where you get to talk about your current research/performance projects. Your time to talk will be embarrassingly short, but will hopefully allow you to air your project among kindred spirits, and get some feedback and inspiration over meals or in breakout conversations during the two-day event. We’ll also attempt a 2-minute “dream projects" session, in which folks can riff on research projects they wish *someone* would pursue, maybe someone else. This will be an opportunity to circulate ideas that deserve/warrant attention. It seems we all come up with these projects that we'll never get to, so here’s a chance to let those ideas out into the world. After all, they might be useful to someone's grad student at some point.

We’ll be meeting with students and scholars at our host institution, of course, so the two days are sure to be busy and full.

LOGISTICS of all this - please take a look at the list of participants here find someone to work with and let us know immediately at, so we can update the site. When you and your partner have settled on a text - it might be a book, a journal article, a script, a performance - please let us know that too, so we can plan the schedule of events.