Dr. Jennifer Goodlander Receives Mellon Innovating International Research & Teaching Grant

Dr. Jennifer Goodlander performs Indonesian shadow pupper theatre, wayang kulit, at her Alma mater, Ohio University, in September 2011.

Congratulations to Dr. Jennifer Goodlander, Assistant Professor of Theatre History, Theory, and Literature and recent fellowship recipient in the first round of funding to IU Bloomington faculty from the Mellon Innovating International Research and Teaching Grant Program, funded by $750,000 from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Jennifer plans to use her faculty felllowship to conduct field research in Indonesia and Cambodia in Summer 2013, studying how the arts, especially shadow puppetry, functions in the formation of Southeast Asian national identity.

(corpo)realities Keynote Speaker Announced | Dr. Petra Kuppers, University of Michigan

Petra Kuppers and Neil Marcus, 2008.

Kuppers performs with her lover and fellow disabled dancer, Neil Marcus, during a public reading of Cripple Poetics: A Love Story, a poetry book that the two co-authored in 2008.  | Photograph by Timothy Wells Householder.

ART@IU is thrilled to announce that the keynote speaker for our upcoming Graduate Symposium on Theatre and Performance Studies will be Dr. Petra Kuppers, Professor of English, Women’s Studies Art and Design, & Theatre at the University of Michigan.

Kuppers is a community performance artist, and a self-proclaimed witnessing critic, theorist, and a disability culture activist who cites her journey as an artist as emerging from a “passionate exploration of performance ethics and community building.” For over twenty years, Kuppers has engaged community participants gently and with thought-in-process work:

 “What we call ‘art’ is up for grabs, needs to be re-thought, re-created, every time we step into the river of practice. I know this because as a disabled dancer living with pain and fatigue, I have to subvert the ordinary, have fun in unusual spaces, and find time out of time.”

Some of these workshops happened in women’s centers, hospices, mental health self-help groups, youth groups, traditional Weavers and Knitters Guilds, with politicians, with people labeled as ‘developmentally disabled’, with cancer survivors, in National Parks, in abandoned buildings, and on the beach.

In addition to teaching, Kuppers is also Artistic Director of The Olimpias, a performance research project that investigates intersections between community art, identity politics, and (new) media. Some of her past works include Disability and Contemporary Performance: Bodies on Edge (Routledge, 2003), The Scar of Visibility: Medical Performances and Contemporary Art (University of Minnesota Press, 2007), and Community Performance: An Introduction (Routledge, 2007). Her most recent book, Disability Culture and Community Performance: Find a Strange and Twisted Shape (Palgrave 2011), which explores arts-based research methods, won the American Society for Theatre Research’s 2011 Sally Banes Prize. She leads The Olimpias, a performance research collective. She is currently at work on two projects: a study of disability in Australian and New Zealand/Aotearoan contexts, and a study on social somatics, performance and embodiment.

Her keynote address will be titled “Cultural Work and the Somatic: New Publics of Community Performance

Community-based performance practices enter the archive of performance and theatre studies usually through discussions of organizational forms, through analyses of representations, or through ethnographic interview methodologies assessing levels of agency and participation. This talk offers a different lens on community performance in the public sphere. It focuses on contemporary somatic-based training methods and their effects on how energy circulates among project participants and audience members. As a witnessing critic, how can I discern somatic effects and articulate my own embodied responses? How can transformatory processes emerge in co-witnessing and co-participation? If we think through the queries relational art discourse offers us, how can we find methods of creating and witnessing performance work that make relationality viscerally available, and challenge sociopolitical formations at the level of embodiment? These questions form the desirous horizon of this paper, which will focus on a number of contemporary public performance works, including GAWK by Rollercoaster Theatre, performed in Federation Square, Melbourne, Australia. Rollercoaster Theatre is a group formed out of graduates of a vocational theatre-training course for people with a broad range of disabilities and learning needs.

(corpo)realities: Keynote Address

Saturday, March 24, 2013 | 5:30 pm | Studio Theatre
Lee Norvelle Theatre & Drama Center
275 N. Jordan Ave. | Bloomington, Indiana | 47405

Jan 31: Inaugural Timothy Wiles Memorial Lecturer is Beth Holmgren

The Polish Studies Center in cooperation with the Departments of Theatre & Drama, English, Comparative Literature, and Slavic Languages & Literature presents The Inaugural Timothy Wiles Memorial Lecture:

“Shows of Solidarity: Cabaret in Interwar Warsaw”

January 31 2013, 7:00 pm
Indiana Memorial Union, Georgian Room

For more information, check out the Polish Studies Center’s homepage.

Dr. Beth Holmgren, Duke University


BETH HOLMGREN is Professor of Slavic and Eurasian Studies and Theater Studies at Duke University. She received her Ph.D. in Slavic Literatures from Harvard University and is author of, among other books, Women’s Works in Stalin’s Time, editor (with Helena Goscilo) of Poles Apart: Women in Modern Polish Culture, and translator and editor (with Helena Goscilo) of The Keys to Happiness by Anastasya Verbitskaya. Her most recent book, Starring Madame Modjeska: On Tour in Poland and America (2011, Indiana University Press) details the life of Poland’s leading nineteenth-century actress, Helena Modrzejewska, who emigrated to southern California in 1876 to establish a utopian commune, but ended up as a leading Shakespearean actress on the American stage, playing opposite such celebrated actors as Edwin Booth and Maurice Barrymore. The book traces Modjeska’s fabulous life and career from her illegitimate birth in Krakow, to her successive reinventions of herself as a star in both Poland and America, and finally to her enduring legacy.

“An IUB Professor Creates—and Performs with—Balinese Shadow Puppets” | Inside IU features Dr. Jennifer Goodlander

Dr. Jennifer Goodlander performs wayang kulit, a form of traditional Balinese shadow puppetry. Goodlander trained in the ancient art while studying for her doctoral degree on a Fulbright Fellowship in Indonesia.

Dr. Jennifer Goodlander, the newest Assistant Professor of History, Theory, and Literature in the Department of Theatre & Drama is this month’s Featured Spotlight in Inside IU, the online news magazine for faculty and staff at Indiana University Bloomington. According to Bethany Nolan’s intimate profile:

“If you’re lucky, [Jennifer Goodlander] will show you one of the brightly colored and intricately carved puppets she’s mastered use of through her studies of an ancient Balinese art form — wayang kulit, or shadow puppetry. … But watch her give an actual performance, and you’ll only see the puppets through a thin cloth screen. That’s because the show — and all the magnificence of those works of art — is meant for the gods. As part of the human audience, your eyes are allowed to see a mere shadow of the story.”

Goodlander became interested in traditional Balinese shadow puppetry while studying for her doctoral degree on a Fulbright Fellowship in Indonesia. Her research there focused on broadly women and performance, but after trying her hand at the ancient art form, her dissertation project shifted to include her own experience learning wayang kulit. Drawing upon her own experience of the practical training and ritual initiation to become a dalang, or puppeteer, coupled with interviews of early women dalangs and leading artists, she argues in her book manuscript (tentatively titled Women in the Shadows: Gender, Puppets, and the Power of Tradition in Bali) that “tradition” in Bali must be understood as a system of power that is inextricably linked to gender hierarchy.

Read more about Jennifer in the Inside IU Spotlight Profile, or on her faculty profile at theatre.indiana.edu.