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Unmarked: The Politics of Performance
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Unmarked: The Politics of Performance

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  87 ratings  ·  6 reviews
Unmarked is a controversial analysis of the fraught relation between political and representational visibility in contemporary culture. Written from and for the Left, Unmarked rethinks the claims of visibility politics through a feminist psychoanalytic examination of specific performance texts - including photography, painting, film, theatre and anti-abortion demonstration ...more
Paperback, 220 pages
Published February 21st 1993 by Routledge (first published January 7th 1993)
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Jul 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
i started reading this book as the same time as a friend who is interdisciplinary without a focus one could perhaps coax into the category of performance studies. perhaps part of that disciplinary porosity is due to the thought initiated in this text. peggy phelan spends very little time actually dealing with what could strictly be described as performance art. what she does is a lot more interesting, trying to pull the performative aesthetic from other art forms: drama, painting, photography. t ...more
Jessica Zu
I only read one chapter as assigned by my professor. But I will re-read this work in the future. Phelan problemtizes quite a few taken-to-be-true premises in our 'viewing' of theatre, the mutual-gaze, tension between presence and absence, body and movement. The ontology of performance itself is a problematic concept/question. Maybe even more than any other literary genres, theatre's very existence is dependent on the process of re-reading (repetition with a difference)
Re-read for another class o
Sean Lally
Mar 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
To begin with, I intend to re-read this book. In my first pass-through, I get the sense that Phelan is attempting to identify and theorize certain queer and feminist works that deal with the problem of representation and reproduction in the field of aesthetics. When the field of representation is always-already marked by the white-male gaze, what can art do? How can marginalized artists, who are unmarked within the economy of representation, use, or highlight, this quality of being unmarked? Rel ...more
Jan 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
An insightful and original approach to the liveness of performance. The chapters in this book raise questions around visibility and the unmarked and unseen potential that lies in disappearance and invisibility. This is a crucial work in the discussion of politics through performance theory.
R Justin
Jun 06, 2008 rated it really liked it
re-reading now!
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  • The Archive and the Repertoire: Performing Cultural Memory in the Americas
  • Performance Theory
  • Participation
  • Unclaimed Experience: Trauma, Narrative and History
  • Disidentifications: Queers of Color and the Performance of Politics
  • Excitable Speech: A Politics of the Performative
  • Demonic Grounds: Black Women And The Cartographies Of Struggle
  • Conversation Pieces: Community and Communication in Modern Art
  • Ghostly Matters: Haunting and the Sociological Imagination
  • Greek Tragedy
  • Touching Feeling: Affect, Pedagogy, Performativity
  • Archive Fever: A Freudian Impression
  • Feeling Backward: Loss and the Politics of Queer History
  • An Archive of Feelings: Trauma, Sexuality, and Lesbian Public Cultures
  • Ordinary Affects
  • Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times
  • The Cultural Politics of Emotion
  • Politics of Modernism: Against the New Conformists
“Visibility politics are compatible with capitalism's relentless appetite for new markets and with the most self-satisfying ideologies of the United States: you are welcome here as long as you are productive. The production and reproduction of visibility are part of the labor of the reproduction of capitalism.” 0 likes
“If representational visibility equals power, then almost-naked young white women should be running Western culture.” 0 likes
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