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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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“In 2015, we are all indigenous”: Transnational Performance(s) at the World Indigenous Games, Palmas (Christine Plicht)


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Christine Plicht

“In 2015, we are all indigenous”: Transnational Performance(s) at the World Indigenous Games, Palmas

Abstract: The World Indigenous Games in Brazil stage their participants as performing athletes and performers of their indigenous cultures. This essay examines the Games’ website as a third stage upon which performances could, but do not, challenge normative modes of indigenous representation; they present only restricted images of indigenous identities.

In October 2015, the “moma” (a German morning show on television, alternately produced by Germany’s two main public-service television broadcasters, and not to be confused with the Museum of Modern Art) aired a short report on the first World Indigenous Games, which took place from October 23, to November 1, 2015, in Palmas, Brazil. Topics regarding indigeneity are rarely discussed in central European discourses, politically or otherwise, and, consequently, feature only scarcely on the news. Occasional reports on the proceedings of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues or on the ratification of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples constitute welcome but still rather uncommon exceptions to this rule. More frequently and caused by a revived interest in ecological and conscious living and eating, topics of indigenous agricultural knowledge surface in the European public awareness. This brings at least some attention to indigenous issues, but more often than not only scratches the surface, picks and chooses marketable facts, turns such glimpses into headlines, and fails to transcend common...

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