Organized Panel Session
The representation of spatiality in East Asian performance plays a central role in contesting meaning across local, national, and temporal contexts. Spaces of performance are precariously situated within a larger stage of places and perspectives; yet performance spaces are also rarified spaces in which ideas, relationships, and geographies can be re-mapped, sometimes blatantly disregarding officially sanctioned ideologies. The papers in this panel analyze the constellation of spaces constructed in and through premodern and modern performance in East Asia. These spaces range from the mirco, such as specific locations and character relationships, to the macro, such as the representation of entire cities and new imaginings of identity and history. Allison Bernard and Aragorn Quinn, working with case studies of 17th century China and 20th century Japan, respectively, ask what it means to performatively create a space for alternative narratives. Both Quinn and Sophia Tingting Zhao, in her study of urban Chinese theaters across the turn of the 20th century, interrogate what it means to perform within a specific geospatial location. Case studies of Shanghai by Zhao and 18th century Osaka by Jyana S. Browne explore how performance can reimagine the spaces of the everyday city. Bernard and Browne examine how performance can spatialize connections between readers and texts. Collectively, our panel shows how a spatial approach to studying the texts and practices of performance can connect the art form’s uniquely interwoven tangible and conceptual dimensions.