Agitated States: Performance in the American Theater of by Anthony James Kubiak

By Anthony James Kubiak

From the earliest Puritan monitors of piety and rectitude to the present-day epidemic of staged tuition massacres, the historical past of the United States has been characterised through a twin impulse: to forged public occasion and personality as excessive drama, and to push aside theater and theatricalization as un-American, even evil. This publication rethinks American background as theater, and theater because the ethos and substance of yank lifestyles, paradoxically repudiated at each flip via the tradition it produces. starting with the writings of John Winthrop and others, during the Federalist and ''romantic'' phases of yank cultural existence, and into the trendy and modern sessions, Anthony Kubiak unearths an the United States no longer frequently came across via conventional or materialist methods to heritage. He deploys the psychoanalytic conception of Jacques Lacan, the cultural thought of SlavojZizek, and the functionality conception of Herbert Blau in an extraordinary reappraisal of dominant American id, tradition, and background. Anthony Kubiak is affiliate Professor of English, collage of South Florida. he's additionally writer of phases of Terror: Terrorism, Ideology, and Coercion as Theatre heritage .

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Performativity). Deleuze suggests, somewhat tautologically that "[t]he virtual is fully real in so far as it is virtual," like the youth culture's immersion in the virtual that I noted above. 25 It is reality, according to 2izek, that informs this formless- ness and provides the shapes that both indicate and conceal the real. The real, in any case, is not anything like "objectivity" or "concrete real- ity," but is, rather, more like the terror that precedes articulation and image, articulation and image forming, in 2izek's schema, reality.

Thus the self as empty signifier in the modern period of American drama: here the strain between the sheer insubstance of a self that is fragmented into its constituent parts, and its agonizing recalcitrance, mirrors the very cultural/political history of American identity pluribus or unum? It seems somehow curious that today, as the United States stands unchallenged as the single, heavyweight world power, the discourses of history and cultural materialism would be so vocifer- ously negating the real of subject/nation.

Does that dominance produce its own endocolonizations? Is there thus a dominant culture, then, or is all culture and subculture from the American middle class to cadres of Queer theorists-domi- nant and dominating to those who live within it? Is dominant culture AGITATED STATES 32 itself as dominant as theorists think it is? Doesn't the Gramscian under- standing of hegemonic forces allow, for example, new counterforces to emerge from within hegemony? Although questions like these very often remain not only unanswered but unposed, they are crucial because the "through-line" of endocolonization theory suggests that the endocolonized mind, because its thought strategies have been changed, remains blind to its own colonization, whether by middle- class ideology or theories from the margins.

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