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The politics of teaching theatre
chapterposted on 2019-01-01, 00:00 authored by Glenn D'Cruz
The vexed question of the relationship between art, politics, and pedagogy has a long history, especially in the performing arts. In recent years, scholars in theatre and performance studies have engaged with contemporary philosophy and political theory to better understand the political efficacy of experimental performance practices. This chapter concerns the politics of teaching theatre in universities. It reiterates the age-old connection between theatre, politics and pedagogy before examining the institutional forces and imperatives that provide the conditions of possibility for teaching theatre in the academy with particular reference to the work of Hans Sluga, Michel Foucault, and Jacques Rancière. Following Sluga, the chapter argues that politics is best approached through Wittgenstein’s notion of family resemblances. In other words, we should acknowledge that while there is no single characteristic that defines politics, or political theatre, it is possible to identify a set of resemblances between various performance events that enable us to recognise manifestations of the political. Consequently, it becomes more important to attend to specific situations and contexts than to proffer abstract theories about what might constitute a political performance pedagogy.