A seminar presented by Dr Bryce Lease for the Anthropology Department Spring seminar series: The Politics of Embodiment.
Analysing the Miss Gay Western Cape (MGWC) pageant held annually in Cape Town, I am seeking to unpack the methodological questions that have arisen from my attempts to forge bridges between Western queer theory and local articulations of gender identity and alternative sexualities, the relationship between post-apartheid South African national identity and global gay rights, new postcolonial directions in queer theory and the sexual geographies of Cape Town that are bounded by race and economic privilege. I will attempt to demonstrate the modes in which the MGWC pageant is attended by restrictive rules and discourses around gender and sexuality, while, simultaneously, it produces a space to reimagine and rearticulate the transformative potentials around these categories. Similar to any counterpublic, MGWC produces a self-awareness of a subordinate social status, which enables rather than disempowers new forms of exchange. What would have been seen as a matter purely for private life is made of public relevance and a valid subject of common concern. Questions around the embodiment of alternative sexualities and trans identities will be foregrounded. The conditions of the performances are themselves in flux, as has been seen in the crucial and significant changes in style over the past decade. I will consider how ‘realness’ continues to be pursued in an effort to both expose distinctions between lived and imagined realities, while also functioning as a generative category by operatively collapsing such distinctions.
Bryce Lease is Senior Lecturer in Drama & Theatre at Royal Holloway, University of London. Recent articles have appeared in TDR, TRI and CTR, and his monograph After ’89: Polish Theatre and the Political was published by Manchester University Press in 2016. In 2013-15, he led the AHRC- funded project ‘Sequins, Self & Struggle: Performing and Archiving Sex, Place and Class in Pageant Competitions in Cape Town’ (http://sequins-self-struggle.co.uk/). With Nadia Davids, he edited a special issue of Safundi: The Journal of South African and American Studies on queer South African archives and performance, which will be published in April 2017.
SEMINAR FOLLOWED BY DRINKS RECEPTION IN RHB 342A. ALL WELCOME!
Dates & times
|22 Mar 2017||3:00pm - 5:00pm|
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