Calendar of Events

Fall 2011

Friday, October 21, 2011
Jane Taylor (Centre for Humanities Research, University of Western Cape, South Africa)
PERFORM/REFORM
3:30 pm Curtin 118

As part of her ongoing enquiry into the history and theory of the performance of the self, Jane Taylor looks to understand the ways in which a sustainable “Self” is staged to manage the contradictions arising out of historical crisis and epistemic rupture. She is particularly interested in the figure of “Conversion” as a rhetorical trope that allows for continuity across a radical break.

Taylor uses the testimonies from the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission to explore the staging of personhood that emerged as individuals sought to dissociate themselves from the Apartheid regime within which they had functioned. She also looks back across Western art historical and literary traditions to locate figures of conversion who manage the crises of selfhood that arise during the violent and traumatic decades of the Reformation.

The problem of “conversion” under the contingent circumstances of religious conflict (in which conscience is all) necessarily gives rise to a preoccupation with the complexities of a relation between inner conviction and external representation. For Taylor, “sincerity” is the mode for the staging of the self-mobilized in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in Europe and Britain.

Recommended background reading for the talk: William Shakespeare, Titus Andronicus

Brown bag lunch with Jane Taylor
Friday, October 21
12 noon Curtin 939
Background reading and images for lunch

Jane Taylor is a writer, scholar and curator from South Africa. In 1996 she designed and curated “Fault Lines,” a series of cultural responses to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that followed the end of apartheid in South Africa. As part of this program she wrote the playtext Ubu and the Truth Commission for South African artist/director William Kentridge. In 2000 Taylor wrote the libretto of a new opera for Kentridge, The Confessions of Zeno. She has published two novels, Of Wild Dogs (2005) and The Transplant Men (2009), and has recently premiered her play, After Cardenio, a version of the so-called “missing” Shakespeare play Cardenio and commissioned by Renaissance scholar Stephen Greenblatt.

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