Katherine Aid

Penn Humanities Forum Graduate Fellow

20132014 Forum on Violence

Katherine Aid

Comparative Literature
2013-14 Graduate Humanities Forum Chair

Making Scenes: Transnational Politics in Performance, 1890-1939

Making Scenes examines claims that late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century liberation movements made about popular performance. For black Americans, French colonial subjects, queer people, and women who worked on both sides of the Northern Atlantic for 'uplift,' suffrage, and citizenship, being associated with theatricality, dance, and music often threatened their political projects. On one hand, performance conveyed messages to broad audiences; on the other, it meant facing the dismissive diagnosis of marginalized people as too physical, too visible, and too loud—in short, too spectacular— to do serious political work. In four chapters, including "Amazon Performance and Political Analogy," "Staging a More Serious Race," "Slavery Songs and Rag-time Tunes," and "An Intimate International," I ask how performance simultaneously critiqued and reenacted multiple forms of structural violence.