The Feminist Spectator will offer occasional ruminations on theatre, performance, film, television, and other forms of cultural expression. My primary interests in these forms focus on what they tell us about gender, sexuality, race, class, and other forms of identity (in all their complex intersections and overlaps), as well as what they tell us about how to be human beings together in an increasingly complex and alienating world.
This blog won’t “review” the arts and culture in a conventional sense, but use them instead as springboards for think pieces. My aim is not to participate in the slash-and-burn, 200-word consumer reporting that too often characterizes arts coverage. I intend to stage a more deliberate, extended, generous kind of conversation about things I see at the theatre, at the movies, or on television.
Many arts writers insist on a kind of objectivity meant to mask their own investments in what they see. The Feminist Spectator, on the contrary, will offer my own deeply committed ideas about the importance of the arts in helping us engage with our personal and private lives in the most productive, egalitarian ways.
I’m interested in how culture shapes, as well as reflects our lives. I’m interested in how the arts can participate in a civic conversation about what democracy means and what it might mean. I’m interested in the arts as a vehicle for social change. I’m interested in the arts as a platform for entertainment and pleasure, as well as deep critical thinking. I don’t think pleasure and thought are mutually exclusive.
I am a teacher, a scholar, and a writer with a long history of publishing about theatre and performance (see my bio, below). While The Feminist Spectator is informed by my own scholarship and that of colleagues I read and respect, this blog is meant to be widely accessible to any reader/spectator/practitioner—or what we, in the graduate program I run at the University of Texas at Austin call “citizen/scholar/artists”—with a commitment to the arts and a sensitivity to their political meanings.
We need more forums for the public exchange of ideas about the arts and what they do in American culture. I hope in a small way, The Feminist Spectator will provide such a place.
August 25, 2005