- Editor's Note
I wish to highlight the teaching that occurs through Asian Theatre Journal (ATJ) and the Association for Asian Performance (AAP), our sponsoring organization. As I edited these articles, making sure that citations were clear and references in order, a hidden human dimension of connection—who is learning from whom—came clear.
In citations, in notes of acknowledgement, and in the text of these articles, I saw lineages of teachers and learners being defined. This line may be a direct transmission of ideas and techniques from teacher to student. In a number of articles the author is building on work of a close teacher/mentor (Matthew Shores's article is linked to the work of his thesis advisor Laurence Kominz of Portland State University [ATJ Japan area editor] and Sri Anril Pineda Tiatco coauthors with advisor Amihan Bonifacio-Ramolete of the University of the Philippines–Dilman). In other articles there is a more indirect "learning" that comes of one author reading the work of another, sometimes in this journal. Hae-kyung Um's analysis of Korean p'ansori, for example, cites ideas from Craig Latrell's work on Sumatran randai published in 1999 in ATJ 16, 2: 248–259. Esmee Meertens references a 1998 article by Janet O'Shea in ATJ 15, 1: 45–63 as she discusses the potential for "brahminization" in a South Indian village genre, kattaikkuttu. This shows that the journal is "working" in that ideas on performance and modernization in Southeast Asia are being picked up to discuss Korean performance in the age of globalization and research on one genre of dance (O'Shea's bharata natyam) is useful for analyzing kattaikkutu's modernizing form.
I was also impressed at how many of the sources that noted Australian scholar Colin Mackerras cited in his invited lecture for Asian Theatre Journal on the centenary of Chinese huaju (spoken drama) delivered at the 2007 ATHE Conference drew on research and writing of AAP program members, some of whom themselves probably were first introduced to Chinese performance by reading Mackerras's early books. Debut panelist Ellen Gerdes's references of Mackerras's writing [End Page iii] reminded me of how important Mackerras has been in analyzing theatre in China and the PRC. It made me feel the annual Association of Asian Performance conference (thanks to Jiggs Coldiron, AAP conference planner; Claire Conceison, ATHE conference planner; and John Weinstein, AAP chair) is "working" in that our 2007 invitation of Mackerras would have allowed Gerdes and many of our colleagues to meet him in person and not just on the page.
Knowledge is crossing oceans and leaping across generations. We are a joint community of teachers and learners. This journal, our organization, the annual conference, our performances, writing collaborations, and our face-to-face teaching of each other allows us to learn and become things we could not on our own.