Proposal for Funding: Canadian Consortium for Performance and Politics

PROPONENT:Laura Levin, York University (Co-Investigator)

PROJECT NAME:Research on Canadian hemispheric identity in Performance Studies / Attending Performance Studies international (PSi) conference, June 2014 

PROJECT TYPE:Event travel + Research Assistance


I am applying for funding to attend the annual Performance Studies international conference, which will be held in Shanghai in 2014. My purpose in attending the conference is twofold. First, I have been commissioned by McGill-Queen’s Press to write an article on the development of performance studies in a Canadian context, with a specific focus on how PS methodologies have been taken up by scholars in this field. I would like to extend my previous thinking about this topic by looking at how Canadian identity is enacted by performance scholars in a global context and specifically at major international performance events. I suspect that part of this performance of identity is bound up in the ways that Canadians negotiate their relationship to their “Americanness”—specifically when strategically aligning themselves with or disavowing connections with their hemispheric neighbours. As a site of inter-national knowledge production, the annual PSi conference is an ideal location for observing these identity configurations and negotiations. 

Second, I have spent the last year compiling a bibliography of performance studies research as part of a larger SSHRC project on the performance studies in Canada (which ended in March 2013). As I continue this work on this project via the Consortium for Performance and Politics, I would like to create a second online bibliography as a resource for performance studies scholars, which would focus on how performance researchers are defining and redefining a hemispheric understanding of Canadian performance. While some of this research can be done through literature searches, attending major performance studies conferences is invaluable as they expose me to emerging work in the field that has not yet been published or which appears in the form of performance practice (rather than as scholarly texts). Attending the Hemispheric Encuentros will be an important part of this project; however, given that PSi usually involves a large number of delegates from the Americas, this will be an important site of research as well. 

In order to help me with the article and bibliography, I am also applying for funding for a graduate research assistant. As noted below, the graduate researcher would assist me in conducting literature searches, summarizing articles, compiling and editing the bibliography. This would be an excellent opportunity for an emerging scholar to learn more about the field of performance studies and develop a meta-consciousness about the hemispheric methodologies that are defining the field. 

PROJECT OUTCOME: My goals are to: 1) produce a published article on the enactment of Canadian identity by performance studies scholars situated in a global context; 2) produce a bibliography on contributions of performance studies scholars to developing hemispheric understandings of Canadian performance and identity. 

LANGUAGES OF PROJECT: While I anticipate that I will primarily engage with works in English, French, and Spanish, the scholarship I encounter also may be in other languages. 

TIMELINE: I plan to attend the PSi Conference in June 2014, and will aim to complete the article and bibliography by December 2014.


RESEARCH ASSISTANT REQUIREMENTS: One graduate research assistant working for 67.5 hours (this is ¼ GA assignment at York U).

INVOLVEMENT OF GRADUATE STUDENTS: I would very much like to involve a graduate student researcher in this project. Ideally this graduate student would also attend the Montreal Encuentro in order to help conduct research for the article and bibliography. The graduate researcher would carry out literature searches, summarize articles, and assist with compiling and editing the bibliography.