By Anthony James Kubiak
From the earliest Puritan monitors of piety and rectitude to the present-day epidemic of staged university massacres, the historical past of the United States has been characterised by means of a twin impulse: to solid public occasion and personality as excessive drama, and to push aside theater and theatricalization as un-American, even evil. This booklet rethinks American historical past as theater, and theater because the ethos and substance of yank lifestyles, sarcastically repudiated at each flip through the tradition it produces. starting with the writings of John Winthrop and others, throughout the Federalist and ''romantic'' phases of yank cultural existence, and into the fashionable and modern sessions, Anthony Kubiak reveals an the US now not frequently stumbled on by way of conventional or materialist techniques to heritage. He deploys the psychoanalytic thought of Jacques Lacan, the cultural conception of SlavojZizek, and the functionality thought of Herbert Blau in an unprecedented reappraisal of dominant American id, tradition, and heritage. Anthony Kubiak is affiliate Professor of English, collage of South Florida. he's additionally writer of phases of Terror: Terrorism, Ideology, and Coercion as Theatre heritage .
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Extra resources for Agitated States: Performance in the American Theater of Cruelty
As Gramsci points out, the structuring of hegemonic forces is quite a bit messier than I have presented it here; what constitutes "dominant culture," for example, is, in this scheme, often left unspecified. " Does membership in this or that ideological camp constitute dominance over the individual by a culture? Does that dominance produce its own endocolonizations? Is there thus a dominant culture, then, or is all culture and subculture from the American middle class to cadres of Queer theorists-domi- nant and dominating to those who live within it?
In fact, even one's intentions are objectified as exhibition or show through the interior watching and are moved out of the realm of the merely intentional into the realm of the performative (how I present myself to myself), and into performance itself. I act, and I act well, but finally I realize that acting well reveals nothing about the condition or even the existence of my true self. Acting well might in fact be the best cover-up for a self that has denied God and his ways. My performance, in other words, finally refers to nothing but itself.
Moreover, these ideologies of appearance, which have been largely unseen throughout American history, have deep roots in that history and cul- ture and manifest themselves as demand for the oxymoronic mere appearance of the authentic-true salvation, an authentic American character and culture, the "true" historical archive, the eradication of "false consciousness," the theoretical certainty of uncertainty, and today, the preservation of "traditional" marginal cultural values. "29 The "essentially performative character of naming," the theater of thought, is the condition of the theatrical that I have been discussing: "real" theater, differentiated from Artaud's theatrical double, exists in the space between the real and the Imaginary.