Feminist Theory Theater

Yelena Gluzman, University of Alberta; Christina Ashurina Aushana, University of California, Santa Barbara; Sarah Klein, Department of Communication Arts, University of Waterloo

Toronto 2021: Storytelling as Relations

Reading (verb) is central to scholarly practice, but its situated, material, embodied conditions tend to recede into the background of a given reading (noun). We excavate a text (exegesis), we glean useful remnants (skimming), we put the text in its place (disciplinary lit review). But what methods are invoked to read personally, to evaluate texts ethically, or to imagine how those texts speak to the complexities of the lived, sensible worlds in which we find ourselves? How do we read to ourselves when “selves” are constituted multiply, flexibly, or transiently?

Feminist Theory Theater (FTT) is a way to read. A group of readers assemble as FTT, performing and re-performing a chosen text. Putting the text “on its feet” is not done to create a finished show, but rather as a mode of working, thinking, putting an argument into our bodies and experiencing what it might feel like to stand with it. There is no audience for FTT; readers are performers, and spectatorship is a mode of attuning to emerging interpretation. Deeply indebted to the feminist theory that fought for the importance of collective, situated meaning-making, FTT is an attempt to incorporate these ideas methodologically into one of the core practices of the academy: reading.

For folks coming to the page after the live discussion, we offer you the prototype of a DIY printable Work Book to scaffold students’ first attempts at reading with FTT. You can download it here: https://www.academia.edu/56184227/Femini … [Note that the pages are seemingly out of order; this is because it is meant to print as a double-sided booklet, with pages already in correct order. Print it, fold it in the middle and go!). We welcome your feedback, marked up Work Books, questions or thoughts! Contact us at FeministTheoryTheater@gmail.com

Published: 01/30/2023