Wednesday 07th of June 2023


Drama and Utopian Forms of Relationality


Siân Adiseshiah, English Department, Loughborough University pdf_icon_30x30




Abstract: This paper begins by challenging the use of “domestication” in the phrase the “domestication of utopia” because of the term’s gendered, raced, and classed histories. It emphasizes how “domestication” is both a (patriarchal) metaphor for femininity, and a potential site of resistance, particularly within Black feminism. Instead, a range of alternative terms, such as co-option or appropriation are offered in its place. The paper then moves on to argue for the importance of centring fundamental, systemic change in engagements with utopian art (drama in this instance). It discusses the difficulty of discovering utopian theatre texts, and suggests that one of the reasons for this might be the tightly circumscribed field of utopian studies itself, which has been historically preoccupied with measurement, categorisation, narrow definitions, and exclusions. The paper then proposes that drama and performance are potentially rich sites for the exploration of new, utopian forms of subjectivity, social relationality, and utopian affective attachments. The paper ends by noting the importance of encouraging an ongoing process of self-critique within the field of Utopian Studies, as well as pointing to the limitations of academic critique and practice for a utopian politics.



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