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Approaching Transnational America in Performance

Edited By Birgit M. Bauridl and Pia Wiegmink

The volume is uniquely located at the interdisciplinary crossroads of Performance Studies and transnational American Studies. As both a method and an object of study, performance deepens our understanding of transnational phenomena and America’s position in the world. The thirteen original contributions make use of the field’s vast potential and critically explore a wide array of cultural, political, social, and aesthetic performances on and off the stage. They scrutinize transnational trajectories and address issues central to the American Studies agenda such as representation, power, (ethnic and gender) identities, social mobility, and national imaginaries. As an American Studies endeavor, the volume highlights the cultural, political, and (inter)disciplinary implications of performance.

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Decolonial Performer: Craig Santos Perez as Poet, Activist, Scholar, Teacher, and Blogger (John Carlos Rowe)


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John Carlos Rowe

Decolonial Performer: Craig Santos Perez as Poet, Activist, Scholar, Teacher, and Blogger

Abstract: Craig Santos Perez’s work is devoted to the political sovereignty of the Chamorro people, indigenous to the island of Guam (Guåhan). Perez’s combination of poetry, history, and teaching is best described as “decolonial performance.” Focusing on his poetry series, from unincorporated territory, the essay explains how this poetic performance helps decolonize Guam.

say we can cross any body of water if we believe in our own breath— (Craig Santos Perez, from unincorporated territory [saina] 48)

The development of Transpacific Studies in contestation with approaches identified with the Pacific Rim has called special attention to sovereignty movements in the Pacific and the variety of peoples, cultures, and languages previously overlooked in our rush to connect East Asia and the United States. Looking directly at specific Pacific communities is certainly one distinctive feature of Transpacific Studies, but the very metaphor of sight seems contradicted by the critical term itself. Movement is registered optically in interrupted bursts, such as in the cinematic illusion created by twenty-four frames per second. But the issue of how to represent the ‘trans’ in the ‘Pacific’ is rendered even more problematic when we consider the multiple crossings involved for anyone who has lived in this vast region defined by ceaseless, complex, and contradictory passages (Rowe, “Transpacific” 134–50). Just how Transpacific Studies fits into a more broadly conceived Archipelagic...

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