Presented by: Surafel Wondimu Abebe
Performance Historiography; Department of Theatre Arts and Dance
Abstract: Considering itself an offshot of the 1974 Marxist revolution, the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF, which is the core party of the ruling coalition, EPRDF) creates a narrative that depicts the “national question” in Ethiopia as a delayed but essential category in contradistinction to “the class question.” This binary and assumption of homogeneity of such categories suppress fragmentary histories. The historicist take on the past (homogenization of time and space) bears on the ethno/national discourses and neoliberal techniques that invent and govern the heteropatriarchal-ethnic-developmental subject. I re-singularize the 1974 revolution and engage with the past in order to unveil the bewildering objects that are made intelligible at the expense of other postcolonial desires. I take performance as an object of my study and as a mode of thinking. Following this procedure, I attend to participation of theatre in the un/making of “socialist progress” in Ethiopia and its dialectical relation with the quotidian subversive movements of Ethiopian female performers. Put differently, mapping a socialist spatial re-organization that invented the female performers as abject bodies (‘sexed, commoditized, and scandalous’ that would ‘disrupt/contaminate’ the ‘socialist progress’), I look into the ways in which female artists moved on and off stage to engender insurgencies.