Performing Utopia



6 x 9 inches, 336 pp, 20 halftones January 2017

ISBN : 9780857423863

Rs  750.00 (PB)
$35.00 (PB)
£24.50 (PB)

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In her landmark study Utopia in Performance: Finding Hope at the Theatre, Jill Dolan departed from historical writings on utopia, which suggest that social reorganization and the redistribution of wealth are utopian efforts, to argue instead that utopia occurs in fragmentary ‘utopian moments’, often found embedded within performance. While Dolan focused on the utopian performative within a theatrical context, this volume, edited by Rachel Bowditch and Pegge Vissicaro, expands her theories to encompass performance in public life—from diasporic hip hop battles, Chilean military parades, commemorative processions, Blackfoot pow-wows and post-Katrina Mardi Gras to the Philadelphia Mummers Parade, Festas Juninas in Brazil, the Renaissance Fairs in Arizona and neo-burlesque competitions.

How do these performances rehearse and enact visions of a utopic world? What can the lens of utopia and dystopia illuminate about the potential of performing bodies to transform communities, identities, values and beliefs across time? Performing Utopia not only answers these questions, but offers a diverse collection of case studies focusing on utopias, dystopias and heterotopias enacted through the performing body.


Rachel Bowditch is a theatre director and an associate professor at the School of Film, Dance and Theatre in the Herberger Institute of Design and the Arts at Arizona State University. Her book On the Edge of Utopia: Performance and Ritual at Burning Man was published by Seagull Books in 2010.


Pegge Vissicaro is director of the Office for Global Dance Research and Creative Partnerships, Arizona State University. She received MFA in Dance from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro; and PhD in Curriculum and Instruction from Arizona State University. Pegge specializes in ethnochoreology, community dance practices, cross-cultural dance resources. Her book Studying Dance Cultures around the World was published in 2004.