Hope this finds you very well. We’re looking forward to a day in conversation with Elizabeth Maddock Dillon — please join us! Friday, 8 March, 12:30-2:00p seminar in room 8201.01 and a lecture at 4p, details about all below. Hope to see many of you next week!
For the seminar, please read the following, which are uploaded as files to the Academic Commons RevAmStudies group; please drop an email to either Duncan or Kandice if you have trouble accessing those files:
”John Marrant Blows the French Horn,” from the collection Early African American Print Culture in Theory and Practice, ed. Lara Cohen and Jordan Stein (UPenn, 2012);
”Coloniality, Performance, Translation,” soon to appear in the forthcoming collection Transatlantic Traffic and (Mis)Translations, ed. Robin Peel and Daniel Maudlin (UPNE, 2013); and,
”Obi, Assemblage, Enchantment,” soon to appear in the inaugural issue of the journal J-19 in a roundtable on ”enchanted criticism” that Nancy Bentley organized.
The title of the 4pm lecture is: ”Pre-Occupation and the Performative Commons.”
This talk considers the long history of commoning as a mode of both occupying land—living in common—and achieving political representation as a people or political ”commons.” Tracing a link between the enclosure of the commons in 16th-18th century England and the seizure of land from Native peoples in the Americas, the paper explores the history of the expropriation of common land from the people, and subsequent efforts to rematerialize the political force of the common people in acts of performance. Turning to theatrical performance, the paper considers the aesthetics of commoning in plays such as John Gay’s ”The Beggar’s Opera” and concludes with discussion of the contemporary Occupy Movement as a performative commons.
Elizabeth Maddock Dillon is Professor of English at Northeastern University where she teaches courses in the fields of early American literature, transatlantic print culture, and Atlantic theatre and performance. At Northeastern, she is also the Co-Founder and Co-Director of the NULab for Texts, Maps, and Networks. She is the author of The Gender of Freedom: Fictions of Liberalism and the Literary Public Sphere (Stanford University Press, 2004) which won the Heyman Prize for Outstanding Publication in the Humanities at Yale University. She has published widely in journals on topics from aesthetics, to the novel in the early Atlantic world, to Barbary pirates. She is the Co-Director of the Futures of American Studies Institute at Dartmouth College and the former the chair of the American Literature Section of the Modern Language Association. She currently serves on the editorial boards of Early American Literature and PMLA. Her new book, New World Drama: Performative Commons and the Atlantic Public Sphere, 1649-1849, is forthcoming from Duke University Press and she is co-editing, with Michael Drexler, a volume of essays on early American culture and the Haitian Revolution.