2013 CALL FOR PAPERS
EMBODIED POLITICS: RACE, SEXUALITY, AND PERFORMANCE
The racialized erotics of subjectivity, state formation, and bodies politic have been fascinating topics of inquiry to the Tepoztlán Institute for its first nine meetings. This year for the tenth anniversary of this gathering we turn our attention fully to these questions. Racialized and sexualized bodies participate in discursive practices across social, political, economic, and cultural fields in varied and distinct ways. Scholars at Tepo and elsewhere have explored these intersections of the body and politics via such concepts as biopolitics, “theories in the flesh,” racial formations and racialization as well as the intersectionality of race, sexuality and gender. This year’s topic calls participants to attend to the productive intersections of embodied practices, welcoming critical race studies, gender and queer theory, and performance studies approaches, among others.
This topic pushes us to reflect upon the location of our annual meetings, a timely task as the Institute completes its first decade. Tepoztlán itself is a performative site, a privileged location from which to contemplate the embodied process of knowledge production, political contestation, and subject formation. Since Robert Redfield immortalized Tepoztlán as an isolated folk village in his classic 1932 ethnography, the town has captured the attention of academics, bohemians, tourists, corporate developers, and even scholars attending our own Instituto…. The national and international spotlights may objectify the community as a laboratory of modernity for academic researchers, an indigenista and new-age fetish site for tourists, and a speculative territory for venture capitalists. Yet local folklore, festivals, and protests—embodied performances—index a cultural cycle of resistance, accommodation and adaptation rooted in a process of contingent hybridity that has negotiated external influences, realigned internal relations, and preserved and revitalized collective memory. With Tepoztlán as location, it is vital to be curious about the relationship between textual academic archives and local embodied rituals.
We invite participants to consider these processes across the Americas, wondering at such questions as: How has race been a central category in the articulation of colonial, national, postcolonial and postnational body politics? How have Indigenismo, mestizaje, Afro-Latinidad, as well as the legacies of slavery, colonialism and indentured labor conceived corporeal politics through race? How have gender and sexuality been a part of the rearticulation of the nation and other forms of imagined communities beyond the notion of the “horizontal brotherhood?” We welcome feminist and queer scholarship that questions hetero and homonormative definitions of masculinity and femininity, as well as official modes of sexual regulation, and we particularly embrace performance studies innovations in theorizing identity through the notion of a repertoire of embodied practices. Performance studies’ attention to embodied practices opens up the possibility for us to think through the sort of discourses constituted with and through the body in different political and cultural terrains as well as in different historical periods. The pedagogical perspective on this “scene” would address the administration of such carnal knowledge inside and outside the classroom. The flourishing political cabaret scene in Mexico City, so near and key to Tepoztlán, mixes embodied practices (theater, song, and dance) with satire and parody to launch powerful challenges to social, economic, and political systems.
Click to download the 2013 Program