The three required books you will need for the semester will be available for purchase in the Pace University bookstore beginning early next week. To pull up the list of books for our course search for NYC campus, Fall 2012, WS department, course 266, section 72701. Both new and used copies are available.
Urban Bush Women: Twenty Years of African American Dance Theater, Community Engagement, and Working It Out
University of Wisconsin Press: 2010
Provocative, moving, powerful, explicit, strong, unapologetic. These are a few words that have been used to describe the groundbreaking Brooklyn-based dance troupe Urban Bush Women. Their unique aesthetic borrows from classical and contemporary dance techniques and theater characterization exercises, incorporates breath and vocalization, and employs space and movement to instill their performances with emotion and purpose. Urban Bush Women concerts are also deeply rooted in community activism, using socially conscious performances in places around the country—from the Kennedy Center, the Lincoln Center, and the Joyce, to community centers and school auditoriums—to inspire audience members to engage in neighborhood change and challenge stereotypes of gender, race, and class.
Nadine George-Graves presents a comprehensive history of Urban Bush Women since their founding in 1984. She analyzes their complex work, drawing on interviews with current and former dancers and her own observation of and participation in Urban Bush Women rehearsals. This illustrated book captures the grace and power of the dancers in motion and provides an absorbing look at an innovative company that continues to raise the bar for socially conscious dance.
Lady Dicks and Lesbian Brothers
Staging the Unimaginable at the WOW Café Theatre
University of Michigan Press, 2010
Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) Book Award 2011, Honorable Mention
Out of a small, hand-to-mouth women’s theater collective called the WOW Café located on the lower east side of Manhattan there emerged some of the most important theater troupes and performance artists of the 1980s and 1990s. Appearing on the cultural scene at a critical turning point in both the women’s movement and feminist theory, WOW put a witty, hilarious, gender-bending, and erotically charged aesthetic on stage for women in general and lesbians in particular. Featured performers included the Split Britches Company, the Five Lesbian Brothers, Carmelita Tropicana, Holly Hughes, Lisa Kron, Deb Margolin, Reno, Peggy Shaw, and Lois Weaver. For three decades the WOW Café Theatre has nurtured fledgling women writers, designers, and performers who continue to create important performance work. Lady Dicks and Lesbian Brothers offers the first critical history of the WOW Café, based on dozens of interviews with WOW performers and other participants, newspaper reviews of the earliest productions, and unpublished photographs, and suggests why the collective has had such amazing longevity and an enduring legacy.
Adrian Piper: Race, Gender, and Embodiment
John P. Bowles
Duke University Press: 2011
In 1972 the artist Adrian Piper began periodically dressing as a persona called the Mythic Being, striding the streets of New York in a mustache, Afro wig, and mirrored sunglasses with a cigar in the corner of her mouth. Her Mythic Being performances critically engaged with popular representations of race, gender, sexuality, and class; they challenged viewers to accept personal responsibility for xenophobia and discrimination and the conditions that allowed them to persist. Piper’s work confronts viewers and forces them to reconsider assumptions about the social construction of identity. Adrian Piper: Race, Gender, and Embodiment is an in-depth analysis of this pioneering artist’s work, illustrated with more than ninety images, including twenty-one in color.
Over the course of a decade, John P. Bowles and Piper conversed about her art and its meaning, reception, and relation to her scholarship on Kant’s philosophy. Drawing on those conversations, Bowles locates Piper’s work at the nexus of Conceptual and feminist art of the late 1960s and 1970s. Piper was the only African American woman associated with the Conceptual artists of the 1960s and one of only a few African Americans to participate in exhibitions of the nascent feminist art movement in the early 1970s. Bowles contends that Piper’s work is ultimately about our responsibility for the world in which we live.