Decolonising Theatre and Performance Studies: Tales from the Classroom
What does the demand to ‘decolonise the university’ imply for the discipline of Theatre and Performance Studies? An article by Sruti Bala in the Tijdschrift voor Genderstudies, Volume 20, Number 3, September 2017, pp. 333-345(13)
Based on questions and insights derived from the author’s own pedagogical practices and experiences at the University of Amsterdam, the article enquires into the intellectual traditions in the discipline of Theatre Studies that place questions of decolonisation together with a multi-axis, intersectional analysis of race, class, gender, sexuality, and global asymmetries. To what extent is the discipline of Theatre and Performance Studies still imperialist? What are the ways of acknowledging absences and invisibilities? How does embodied knowledge become knowable? The article reflects on how the question of the decolonisation of the university is inseparable from the question of defending the task of the university in social and political struggles, as a sphere of civic engagement. It equally emphasises the significance of theatrical and performative modes of engagement in these struggles. The classroom becomes a crucial site for the exploration of these issues.