Ann Enström, Umeå University, Department of Culture and Media Studies and Umeå Center for gender Studies (UCGS) Sweden. Report for SWEA North. SWEA. 2014-‐03-‐27.
DUKE UNIVERSITY, Guest Scholar Visit 2013/2014, Durham, North Carolina Ann Enström PhD-‐Candidate in Drama, Theatre and Film Studies, specializing in literary studies. Report on travel and stay at Duke University, Department of Literature and Department of Cultural Anthropology. Introduction On February the second 2013, I left on a first initial visit to North Carolina (in which I actually stayed already as an Au pair back in 1995, in Greensborough for a total of 6 months!), Durham at Duke University to meet with literature professor Katherine Hayles. She is an extraordinary researcher and has her profession in the humanities (and social sciences), serving as a distinguish professor at Duke University since more than a decade. To have this opportunity to share knowledge and experience from a first-‐ class professor such as Hayles is an academic blessing. Her deep understanding of philosophical ideas, liminal theory and epistemological breaking ground shows that the target of literature-‐studies as a subject is moving forward, constantly on the move. The purpose with my “in advance” visit was to have a seminar with Professor Katherine Hayles to discuss digital humanity and in which ways these sorts of analysis in my own research can be a synergetic and fruitful part. After having lunch at the docks building at the Department of Performance Studies on the 6th of February, we sat down and went on to go through my upcoming thesis and to study especially my pictures, the illustrations that is suppose to be a major part in the book. We agreed that the pictures made a difference and a semi-‐meta contribution to the thesis scientific part and that as such they will make a semiotic and a hermaneutic difference over time. However, we both came to a conclusion regarding the illustrations (that explicitly shows a fictive character of a fairy – tail princess in HC Andersons dramas, AKA the “Theatre-‐ Princess”) playing a strong mark and important part in the upcoming thesis.
A noteworthy thing of these kind of new posthuman ideas in the social sciences and the humanities is thus that regardless of how either academia or outside research in NGO:s, companies, etc. can learn from how we choos to interpret ideas, ideologies, discourses, moral and ethical opinions and further. Talks and discussions The next day I had a brownbag lunch and seminar with Anthropology, distinguished Professor Orin Starn at the Department of Cultural Anthropology, in downtown Durham. This time we discussed my project seen from a phenomenological perspective, where theatre and literature analysis can be empowered by such a theoretical impact. Also, at this joint meeting with staff faculty, were two other persons attending the meeting, namely Staff director and grad-‐students responsible Rebecca Stein and Dr. Katia Weselowski. The long term purpose with this meeting was to discuss how performative action on stage, or a performance in everyday life or and a performativity of speech can be mixed in a melting pot through a theoretical lens and if possible what is the outcome for my thesis results? We came to a point in our debriefing and discussions that regardless of old academic posture towards theatre studies and performance studies, my thesis work can help in getting a brief history mapping over the project and We all agreed that performativity as a theoretical instrument clashed with a (post) phenomenological stance can be a turning point in how researchers can make use of a perspective that see those sorts of collisions as an important issue in society. Furthermore, it is in these ways that both philosophical and intellectual talks on the posthuman new research debate is growing and giving new insights to humanity. LECTURE AND TALK On the return in the fall of 2013 I held a speech at the department of literature. Here I stressed the opportunity that theatre, performance and literature studies can pay a central role in how we view future textual and political ideas in different areas, outside of societal demands. This means in academic perspective that we as researchers need to engage in the community debate and not only stand besides holding our thoughts to ourselves without interfering in social and cultural activities.
Analysis and further insights As professions of a certain area and subject there has to be a belief in that we as scientist can make a performative change on the whole, not only in the books and in text thereby causing a moment 22, where nothing really happen. I want to emphasize that literature in books and in our contemporary society play a dynamic role today in mundane life. Intertextual knowledge and to interpret literary works throughout history thus make sense as it provide us with deep understanding and knowledge of what we regard as “the other”. Things that is considered being different from our own relativistic point of view is often projected onto other beings as being “etnocentrism”. The same goes for theatre and drama plays that take these kind of societal dilemmas up to broad light and thus tries to confront the social issues that they carry within. Ontological speaking, a phenomenological posture against the academic epistemological milieu is needed to better get a grip of how we translate the reality into literary text. Grasping the autobiological ideas from many writers, screens, plays from the film, theatre, opera, in books, literature and more from a cosmological perspective, shows that the academic “reality” has in some ways failed to recognize how to solve the split in between the two. Conclusion What we need to do, is to start make way for new perspectives were we count for different and new post-‐materialistic approaches to (for example) performative agency and actor network theory involving human agency taking place authentically. This means that earlier research focusing at solely discourse or poststructuralism theory is not enough to scrutinize i.e. a dramatic play on stage (like a classic Shakespeare play), a performance taking place on the street or an object (a statue) being subjected with agency performativity. As part of being a scholar in between drama, practice, theatre and literature studies, I claim that these sorts of scientific knowledge that tries to grasp how we regard social and cultural affection in our society is in need of more open access research from within the academy and as such from a joint collaboration with the outside community. Further research aims to understand how we can start deal with these more new so to speak open places, inter-‐subjected between, text, practice, academy and so fourth.
Best regards and many thanks Ann with family in Durham North Carolina.
Exploring Duke campus together with my youngest daughter
Trying out the local food at Elmos in Downtown Durham. Ann Enstrom Duke University North Carolina, USA and Sweden. US: Social security number 516297100. Durham/ Umea 2014-‐04-‐02