Strange Encounters:Performance in the Anthropocene

Marques Florencio, Joao Pedro. 2014. Strange Encounters:Performance in the Anthropocene. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

The current ecological crisis is drawing Humankind’s attention to the increasingly blurred divide between the once-stable realms of ‘Nature’ and ‘Culture.’ The coinage of the “Anthropocene,” the name chosen to designate the new geological epoch marked by the material sedimentation of byproducts of the human impact on the Earth’s ecosystems, calls into question modern ideals of human progress, freedom, and emancipation from ‘Nature.’ Within such a context whereby ‘Nature’ and ‘Culture’ are no longer so easily dissociated, traditional academic divisions between the Sciences and the Humanities are
disturbed, and phenomena usually studied by the latter are increasingly being approached by the former (and vice-versa)."

In the particular field of Performance Studies, the new ecological paradigm problematises the discipline’s tendency to privilege human, i.e. ‘cultural,’ instances of performance. In doing so, it raises a few important questions: 1) “can there be performance without humans?” 2) “if so what will it look like?” and 3) “how will that affect the work of Performance Studies?”"

This dissertation attempts to answer all three of those questions. By ‘thinking big’ and making use of a wide variety of bodies of knowledge, from philosophy to performance theory, from history of art to ecocriticism, and by reflecting on several different encounters between humans and humans, humans and nonhumans, and nonhumans and nonhumans, the thesis put forward here claims that performance is what allows all kinds of bodies to encounter one another despite remaining strangers to each other. In pushing performance beyond the human, in giving it a broader than broad spectrum, this dissertation claims performance theory to be an important interlocutor in contemporary debates beyond the Humanities/Sciences divide, and at a time of deep ecological urgencies. "

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):


Performance, ecology, anthropocene, nonhuman, speculative realism

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Visual Cultures


23 July 2014

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

01 Aug 2014 15:41

Last Modified:

08 Sep 2022 09:02


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