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School of English and Drama

QMUL Annual Drama Lecture 2014, Tavia Nyong'o (NYU), 'Crushed Black: The Performance of Self in Everynight Cinema in the Sixties'

3 June 2014

Time: 6:00pm
Venue: ArtsTwo Lecture Theatre

Tavia Nyong’o (NYU), “Crushed Black: The Performance of Self in Everynight Cinema in the Sixties”

Tuesday 3 June at 6pm in QMUL’s Arts Two building, Arts Lecture Theatre. Reception to follow. All welcome, free and no need to book. (Location:

Shirley Clarke’s Portrait of Jason; photo by Tavia Nyong’o.

Abstract: What secrets get left on the cutting room floor, when the drama of everynight life explodes onto celluloid? How are tensions between "black acting" and "acting black" staged when the camera takes up a position inside the living room theaters of the Sixties avant-garde? Based on new archival research, and assessing a restored print of the film, this talk reconsiders Shirley Clarke's classic Portrait of Jason (1967). Employing performance theory, queer theory, and black feminist theory, the lecture works towards a critical account of fabulation that is linked to an aesthetics of obscurity, dissemblance, and digression across the arts of cinema, theater, and poetry.   

Biography: Tavia Nyong'o is an Associate Professor in the Department of Performance Studies at New York University. His first book, The Amalgamation Waltz: Race, Performance, and the Ruses of Memory (Minnesota, 2009), won the Errol Hill Award for best book in African American theatre and performance studies. Nyong’o has published articles on punk, disco, viral media, the African diaspora, film, and performance art in venues such as Radical History Review, Criticism, TDR: The Journal of Performance Studies, Women & Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory, Women Studies Quarterly, The Nation, and n+1. He is the co-editor of Social Text. In 2014 he is a Distinguished Visiting Fellow in the Humanities and Social Sciences at Queen Mary University of London.

“Peopling the Palace(s)”:The Annual Drama Lecture 2014 is part of a larger programme of QMUL Drama events taking place as “Peopling the Palace(s)” which you are also welcome to (details:

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