Feb. 21: Mathers Museum presents Jennifer Goodlander on Indonesian Puppetry as “Intangible Cultural Heritage”

Wayang-Kulit-PuppetUnderstanding Puppets as Heritage: Performing Objects/Performing Culture

Friday, February 21 | 12:30 – 1:30 pm
Mathers Museum of World Culture
416 N. Indiana Ave, Bloomington, IN 47408

Join MMWC Faculty Research Curator and Theatre, Drama, and Contemporary Dance professor Dr. Jennifer Goodlander as she discussses puppetry as heritage. UNESCO has designated puppetry as “Intangible Cultural Heritage” in several Asian nations, adding to its economic and political relevance. This designation, however, also problematizes the relationship between the tangible objects with the intangible performance. In the museum the objects of performance function as a transatlantic archive of living and changing traditions; likewise the tradition of Asian performance lies within the body and that in order to understand the tradition and how it changes one must engage with the art as performer. In this presentation, Goodlander will explore how the puppet as an object in a museum articulates (past) performances and performs cultural heritage.

The lecture will be free and open to the public.

Jennifer Goodlancer, Theatre, Drama, & Contemporary Dance

Dr. Jennifer Goodlander, Dept.  of  Theatre, Drama, & Contemporary Dance


JENNIFER GOODLANDER is Assistant Professor of Theatre History, Theory, and Literature in IU’s Department of Theatre, Drama, and Contemporary Dance. Her research focuses on Asian performance as it intersects with gender studies, ethnography, performance studies, postcolonial theory, visual culture studies, and transnational circuits of performance.  Her dissertation, with research funded by a Fulbright Fellowship to Indonesia, focused on women and performance in Bali, especially wayang kulit or shadow puppetry.  She is currently revising the dissertation into a book manuscript tentatively called Women in the Shadows: Gender, Puppets, and the Power of Tradition in Bali.  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 that “tradition” in Bali must be understood as a system of power that is inextricably linked to gender hierarchy.

Jennifer is interested in unraveling and exploring connections between scholarship and theatrical practice.  In New York City and regionally she worked extensively as a director and teacher with a special emphasis on new plays and physically based performance.   She combined Asian theatre into innovative productions of The Ghost Sonata, The Bacchae, and others.  She was a member of the 2005 Lincoln Center Director’s Lab that focused on new play development and working in collaboration.  She often shares her research through performances and lectures at theatres, civic groups, and universities and has performed wayang kulit in NYC, Michigan, Kentucky, Illinois, and Ohio.  Jennifer is the Membership and Outreach Coordinator for the Association for Asian Performance (AAP) and Symposium Co-Chair for Practice and Production Symposium of the Mid-America Theatre Conference (MATC).

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