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The Feminist Spectator as Critic


Publication Year: 2012

The Feminist Spectator as Critic broke new ground as one of the pioneering books on feminist spectatorship, encouraging resistant readings to generate feminist meanings in performance. Approaching live spectatorship through a range of interdisciplinary methods, the book has been foundational in theater studies, performance studies, and gender/sexuality/women's studies. This updated and enlarged second edition celebrates the book's twenty-fifth anniversary with a substantial new introduction and up-to-the-moment bibliography, detailing the progress to date in gender equity in theater and the arts, and suggesting how far we have yet to go.

Published by: University of Michigan Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. vii

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pp. ix-x

This book is not meant to be a definitive study of feminist performance criticism. Rather, in some ways, it is a historical accounting of the different methodological and ideological pathways this criticism has taken over the last twenty-odd years, illustrated here by critical case studies. I do not mean to...

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pp. xi-xii

This book in some respects charts my own development as a feminist performance critic, and there are many people who in one way or another helped to shape my growth and its direction. The editorial board of Women & Performance Journal--which began meeting as an informal feminist support group in...

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Introduction to the Second Edition

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pp. xiii-xliv

The Feminist Spectator as Critic (FSAC) was written in the mid-1980s, when I was finishing my doctoral degree in performance studies at New York University. Thinking back over these last twenty-five or so years, I’m amazed at how much has changed in American theatre and performance, the...

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1. The Discourse of Feminisms: The Spectator and the Representation

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pp. 1-18

In the illusionist tradition that dominates American theatre practice, performers and spectators are separated by a curtain of light that helps maintain the fictitious fourth wall. Performers facing the audience are blinded by the workings of the apparatus that frames them. The blinding lights set them apart from the...

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2. Feminism and the Canon: The Question of Universality

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pp. 19-40

The insistent work of liberal feminists to make visible the once-hidden talent of women in theatre has been primarily responsible for the growing number of women playwrights working in the professional arena. But the mainstream critical response to plays written by women continues to reveal...

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3. Ideology in Performance: Looking through the Male Gaze

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pp. 41-58

One of the basic assumptions of feminist criticism is that all representation is inherently ideological. Since dominant cultural meanings both constitute and are reconstituted by representation, deconstructing performance from a feminist perspective entails uncovering the ideological determinants within which...

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4. The Dynamics of Desire: Sexuality and Gender in Pornography and Performance

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pp. 59-81

The role sexuality plays in performance and in the visual representation of women as sexual subjects or objects is an issue intensely debated within the feminist critical community. With its overt imaging of sexuality in an economic context constructcd for and controlled by men, pornography has become...

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5. Cultural Feminism and the Feminine Aesthetic

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pp. 83-97

Cultural feminist performance art, as we have seen in chapter 4, posits the female body as a radical site of opposition to male models. Many of these artists use nudity as an attempt to fulfill l'ecriture feminine' s proposal that women can articulate their subjectivity by writing with their bodies. Carolee Schneeman....

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6. Materialist Feminism: Apparatus-Based Theory and Practice

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pp. 99-117

I have argued throughout these pages that the address of the traditional representational theatre apparatus constitutes the subjectivity of male spectators and leaves women unarticulated within its discourse. Feminist performance criticism marks out the boundaries of discourse in which women as historical subjects...

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pp. 119-121

Envisioning a space-off of representation--that is, Teresa de Lauretis' "view from elsewhere"--leads inevitably to a kind of utopianism. Where do you actually stand when you step outside of representation, and who stands with you? My text ends with the lesbian subject because I believe that personally,...


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pp. 123-143

Revised and Updated Bibliography

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pp. 145-164

Index to the First Edition

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pp. 165-168

E-ISBN-13: 9780472028993
Print-ISBN-13: 9780472035199

Page Count: 208
Publication Year: 2012