Acts of Activism: Human Rights as Radical Performance (Theatre and Performance Theory)

Acts of Activism: Human Rights as Radical Performance (Theatre and Performance Theory)

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D. Soyini Madison
Cambridge University Press
Edition: Illustrated, 2010-01-14
EAN 9780521519229, ISBN10: 0521519225

Hardcover, 336 pages, 22.9 x 15.2 x 2.2 cm
Language: English

Madison presents the neglected yet compelling and necessary story of local activists in South Saharan Africa who employ modes of performance as tactics of resistance and intervention in their day-to-day struggles for human rights. The dynamic relationship between performance and activism are illustrated in three case studies: Act One presents a battle between tradition and modernity as the bodies of African women are caught in the cross-fire. Act Two focuses on ‘water democracy’ as activists fight for safe, accessible public water as a human right. Act Three examines the efficacy of street performance and theatre for development in the oral histories of Ghanaian gender activists. Unique to this book is the continuing juxtaposition between the everyday performances of local activism and their staged enactments before theatre audiences in Ghana and the USA. Madison beautifully demonstrates how these disparate sites of performance cohere in the service of rights, justice, and activism.

'If this world is badly broken, Acts of Activism provides some powerfully subtle ways in which everyday humans might hope to mend it. This book transports you to small spectacles of dumbfounding damage then sifts their routine horrors to release whisperings that heal. Unassumingly rigorous, accessibly written, profoundly practical, these Acts of Activism are seductively set to inspire a radical intelligence of feeling that could well bring about change, perhaps to what matters most: that murmuring in our hearts.' Baz Kershaw, Professor of Performance, University of Warwick