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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

"Playing at Border-Crossing in a Mexican Indigenous Community. Seriously."

“Playing at Border-Crossing in a Mexican Indigenous Community. Seriously.��? Prof. Tamara Underiner (Arizona State University) will lecture on El Parque Alberto’s simulated border-crossing experience and how this community performance engages the complexities of indigeniety, sovereignty, and citizenship. The lecture will take place March 12, 2009 in Nolte 125 at 4:00 P.M.

"Playing at Border-Crossing in a Mexican Indigenous Community. Seriously." Lecture by Professor Tamara Underiner
THURS. March 12th Nolte Center 125 4pm
“Playing at Border-Crossing in a Mexican Indigenous Community. Seriously.��? Prof. Tamara Underiner (Arizona State University)
This presentation describes El Parque Eco-Alberto's Caminata Nocturna -- a live simulation in which tourists simulate an illegal crossing of the Mexico/U.S border. Taking place in Hidalgo, Mexico, some thousand miles from the "real" border, the Caminata Nocturna has been criticized as a "training camp" for illegal migration to the United States. Underiner argues instead that it functions as a highly politicized, indigenous community performance aimed at cultural preservation and assertion, which are both threatened and enabled by the scenario of migration. Part role-reversing representation, part embodied participation, part ritual of solidarity, the Caminata produces communitas in the liminal space of a simulated border in the dead of night. It offers community members and tourists alike a temporary escape from our identity positions, and from the power differentials that help to define them. For this community of Hñahñu speakers, the majority of whom have crossed the border to the U.S. and back, the Caminata's dramaturgy both symbolically and materially refigures the relationship between Mexican indigeneity and Mexican citizenship offering new perspectives on social affiliation and belonging in a bi-national, tri-cultural key.
Tamara Underiner is Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies at Arizona State University’s School of Theatre and Film, where she also directs the Ph.D. concentration in Theatre and Performance of the Americas, and teaches in the general areas of theatre history and culture studies. Her most recent work is Contemporary Theatre in Mayan Mexico: Death-Defying Acts (University of Texas Press, 2004), and she has also published on indigenous and Latina/o theatre and critical pedagogy in Theatre Journal, Signs, and critical anthologies from the University of Arizona and Routledge Presses. She is active in the Association for Theatre in Higher Education, the Latin American Studies Association, and the American Society for Theatre Research, where she co-convenes the Research Focus Group in Theatre and Performance of the Americas. She serves on the Board of the Hemispheric Institute for Performance and Politics (based at NYU). She earned her M.A. in Theatre from Arizona State University in 1993, and a Ph.D. in Drama from the University of Washington in 1997. She joined the ASU faculty in 2001. In 2003 she was named a Faculty Exemplar by ASU President Michael Crow. She is currently at work on a project exploring performances of nativism on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border.
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