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Staging Lusophony: politics of production and representation in theater festivals in Portuguese-speaking countries


My dissertation investigates the politics of festival curation and production in artist-led theater festivals across the Portuguese-speaking (or Lusophone) world, which includes Latin America, Africa, Europe, and Asia. I focus on uses of Lusophony as a tactics to generate alternatives to globalization, and as a response to experiences of racialization and marginalization stemming from a colonial past. I also expose the contradictory relation between Lusophony, colonialism, and globalization, which constitute obstacles for transnational tactics. I select three festivals where, I propose, the legacies of the colonial past, which include the contradictions of Lusophony, become apparent throughout the curatorial and production processes: Esta��o da Cena Lus�fona (Portugal), Mindelact – Festival Internacional de Teatro do Mindelo (Cabo Verde), and Circuito de Teatro em Portugu�s (Brazil). Located in Portuguese-speaking countries with different experiences of a shared colonial history, these festivals engage with the notion of a transnational community based on shared Portuguese language and cultural history. Nevertheless, the organizers and artists of all three festivals struggle with the limitations of nationhood, arts policy, globalization, and the fraternal relation among countries that share Portuguese language and historic heritage.

My research approach includes participative, ethnographic methods, which have led to close collaboration with festival organizers and artists as they navigate unequal power dynamics in relationships with other artists and with institutions. Using frameworks from theater, performance, dance, and curatorial studies, I examine how the organizers of these festivals use the notion of Lusophony to mediate between the local context of the festival and its transnational scope. My work contributes to theater and performance studies scholarship that exposes inequitable access to resources and mobility as experienced by artists from a wide range of cultural and social backgrounds.

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