School of Humanities and Sciences
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Current Research and Scholarly InterestsOngoing interest in proximity in performance (see Hill L. and Paris H. (2014) Performing Proximity. London: Palgrave Macmillan.)
The work with Proximity considers anthropological concepts of proxemics within the context of performance studies. Specifically, it investigates distance in physical space between performers and audiences and how that distance or proximity impacts our encounters with one another. The book exemplifies my ongoing commitment to praxis, drawing on knowledge derived through the practice of performance and highlighting artistic works informed by critical inquiry. Two of the case studies examine collaborations with biological sciences exploring proximity in relation to the sense of smell and its connection with memory and in relation to the autonomic nervous system or the ‘second brain’. This work explores the importance of direct human contact and engagement in a digital age through its deep consideration of proximity and the senses, in relation to theatre and theatre pedagogy, underlining our commitment to live work. The book is written from the point of view of performers which, along with its reframing of proxemics, makes it a unique contribution to performance studies scholarship.
Ann O'Day Maples Professor in the Arts and Professor of English
BioPeggy Phelan is the Ann O’Day Maples Chair in the Arts Professor of Theater & Performance Studies and English. Publishing widely in both book and essay form, Phelan is the author of Unmarked: the politics of performance (Routledge, 1993); Mourning Sex: performing public memories (Routledge, 1997; honorable mention Callaway Prize for dramatic criticism 1997-1999); the survey essay for Art and Feminism, ed. by Helena Reckitt (Phaidon, 2001, winner of “The top 25 best books in art and architecture” award, amazon.com, 2001); the survey essay for Pipilotti Rist (Phaidon, 2001); and the catalog essay for Intus: Helena Almeida (Lisbon, 2004). She edited and contributed to Live Art in Los Angeles, (Routledge, 2012), and contributed catalog essays for Everything Loose Will Land: 1970s Art and Architecture in Los Angeles (Mak Center, 2013), Haunted: Contemporary Photography, Video, and Performance (Guggenheim Museum, 2010); WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution (Museum of Contemporary Art, 2007); and Andy Warhol: Giant Size (Phaidon, 2008), among others. Phelan is co-editor, with the late Lynda Hart, of Acting Out: Feminist Performances (University of Michigan Press, 1993; cited as “best critical anthology” of 1993 by American Book Review); and co-editor with Jill Lane of The Ends of Performance (New York University Press, 1997). She contributed an essay to Philip Ursprung’s Herzog and De Meurron: Natural History (CAA, 2005).
She has written more than sixty articles and essays in scholarly, artistic, and commercial magazines ranging from Artforum to Signs. She has written about Samuel Beckett for the PMLA and for The National Gallery of Ireland. She has also written about Robert Frost, Michael and Paris Jackson, Olran, Marina Abramovic, Dziga Vertov and a wide range of artists working in photography, dance, architecture, film, video, music, and poetry. She has edited special issues of the journals Narrative and Women and Performance. She has been a fellow of the Humanities Institute, University of California, Irvine; and a fellow of the Humanities Institute, The Australian National University, Canberra, Australia. She served on the Editorial Board of Art Journal, one of three quarterly publications of the College Art Association, and as Chair of the board. She has been President and Treasurer of Performance Studies International, the primary professional organization in her field. She has been a fellow of the Getty Research Institute and the Stanford Humanities Center. She won a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2004. She chaired the Department of Performance Studies at New York University and the Drama Department at Stanford University.