At the beginning of the twenty-first century it is necessary to combine into a productive programme the striving for individual emancipation and the social practice of humanism, in order to help the world survive both the ancient pitfalls of particularist terrorism and the levelling tendencies of cultural indifference engendered by the renewed imperialist arrogance of hegemonial global capital.
In this book, thirty-five scholars address and negotiate, in a spirit of learning and understanding, an exemplary variety of intercultural splits and fissures that have opened up in the English-speaking world. Their methodology can be seen to constitute a seminal field of intellectual signposts. They point out ways and means of responsibly assessing colonial predicaments and postcolonial developments in six regions shaped in the past by the British Empire and still associated today through their allegiance to the idea of a Commonwealth of Nations. They show how a new ethic of literary self-assertion, interpretative mediation and critical responsiveness can remove the deeply ingrained prejudices, silences and taboos established by discrimination against race, class and gender.
In the twenty-first century, the terms “representation” and “identity” seem to have gone out of fashion. The essays collected here, however, seek to demonstrate the extent to which they continue to
matter in the social, political and cultural struggles waged by marginalized communities across our postcolonial and globalizing world. The volume starts by offering contingent readings of prominent identity-related concepts – hybridity, insularity, the west, ubuntu, and orientalism – which ask how these concepts translate into practical, situated ways of grappling with the legacies of colonialism. It continues by exploring the relational articulation of collective identities and their histories (as
shared rather than competing), and the way origin narratives and notions of indigeneity, in contexts as diverse as Namibia, Uruguay and Bolivia, function not as fixed roots, but as constructed representations that are manipulated according to the demands of the present. Finally, tradition, too, emerges as open to continuous strategic re-invention in contributions dealing with female agency in a Hindu ritual, peasant understandings of modernity in Zimbabwe, the resurgence of Chinese culture in Indonesia, and André Brink’s rewriting of South African history.
One of the most striking features of cultural life in South Africa has been the extent to which one area of cultural practice - theatre - has more than any other testified to the present condition of the country, now in transition between its colonial past and a decolonized future. But in what sense and how far does the critical force of theatre in South Africa as a mode of intervention continue?
In the immediate post-election moment, theatre seemed to be pursuing an escapist, nostalgic route, relieved of its historical burden of protest and opposition. But, as the contributors to this volume show, new voices have been emerging, and a more complex politics of the theatre, involving feminist and gay initiatives, physical theatre, festival theatre and theatre-for-education, has become apparent.
Both new and familiar players in South African theatre studies from around the world here respond to or anticipate the altered conditions of the country, while exploring the notion that theatre continues to 'intervene.' This broad focus enables a wide and stimulating range of approaches: contributors examine strategies of intervention among audiences, theatres, established and fledgling writers, canonical and new texts, traditional and innovative critical perspectives. The book concludes with four recent interviews with influential practitioners about the meaning and future of theatre in South Africa: Athol Fugard, Fatima Dike, Reza de Wet, and Janet Suzman.
AUSTRALIAN THEATRE in the 1990s is a vigorous enterprise displaying the energies and contradictions of a multicultural society. This collection of essays by leading scholars of Australian theatre and drama surveys the emergence and directions of the new theatrical energies which have challenged or redefined the Australian 'mainstream': Aboriginal, multicultural, Asian-Australian, women's, gay and lesbian, community and young people's theatre; and charts the exciting growth of physical theatre. The contributors assess the impact of evolving funding and industrial priorities, and examine the theoretical and cultural debates surrounding Australian playwriting and theatre-making from the 1970s Vietnam dramas to the postmodern present.