Theses Doctoral

Cultivating Collectives: Performance and Ecology for the Anthropocene

Schroering, Abby Noelle

This project sets out a theory of how performance can contribute to the spread of ecological values as we, as a species, confront the challenges of the Anthropocene. In response to the theory that the roots of the contemporary ecological crisis lie in the agricultural revolution, the project examines an archive of performances that engage questions of agriculture, land use, and anthropogenic climate change.

Chapter 1 looks at mainstream, Western dramas that depict ecodystopian futures; chapter 2 looks at teatros in the Chicano movements and their anti-agribusiness actos; chapter 3 looks at rural, community responsive theater on public lands threatened by fossil fuel development; and chapter 4 looks at anti-pipeline ritual performance in the Niobrara River Valley.

These objects of analysis are united in their activist drive to dislodge the values that undergird industrial agriculture and replace them with ecological values. The project argues that an understanding of performance as “performance-assemblage” can help to explain its power to bring about this transvaluation by drawing on the posthuman characteristics of assemblages to “deterritorialize” and “reterritorialize”—that is, to shift elements from one assemblage to another, and to alter the meaning of those elements and assemblages in the process.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Worthen, Hana
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
April 19, 2023