Acts of Activism: Human Rights as Radical Performance by D. Soyini Madison

By D. Soyini Madison

Madison offers the missed but compelling and valuable tale of neighborhood activists in South Saharan Africa who hire modes of functionality as strategies of resistance and intervention of their daily struggles for human rights. The dynamic courting among functionality and activism are illustrated in 3 case experiences: Act One offers a conflict among culture and modernity because the our bodies of African ladies are stuck within the cross-fire. Act makes a speciality of 'water democracy' as activists struggle for secure, obtainable public water as a human correct. Act 3 examines the efficacy of highway functionality and theatre for improvement within the oral histories of Ghanaian gender activists. special to this ebook is the continued juxtaposition among the standard performances of neighborhood activism and their staged enactments sooner than theatre audiences in Ghana and america. Madison fantastically demonstrates how those disparate websites of functionality cohere within the carrier of rights, justice, and activism.

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I am in the middle of my fieldwork and there are so many questions still unanswered The dilemma of listening for good purposes What do I do with what I have heard With what I have seen A distant country A distant people But this country / these people / are not so distant anymore They are part of me now like an inseparable friend like an unforgettable lover This land / These people Can these notes capture the poignancy of their lives? The everyday moments of their laughter and their suffering “I cannot indulge in sentiment without politics”46 “I cannot indulge in sentiment without politics” Development 18 Acts of Activism Democracy Wealth / poverty “I cannot indulge in aesthetic spectatorship without political engagement”47 America American African African American Advanced Advanced Country Black American Living In An Advanced Country BlackAmericanLivingInAnAdvancedCountry I live in the richest country in the world What do I do with what I’ve learned here I live in the richest country in the world What have I learned here?

Intimate habitation also means representing how I inhabited my fieldwork during those quiet moments of self-reflection, of abiding connections and disconnections for and with Others, of encounters with small stories and symbolic acts and how love, hope, and desire took form and ignited political activism. Intimate habitation involves living up close and personally with how these small, affective, and performative dynamics seep through the cracks of law, institution, and state, but still constitute them all and yet have the potential to break open the solidity of their rules and power through Introduction 25 alternative ideas, practices, and discourses that grow and spread through both victory and defeat.

46. 22. Hamera, Dancing Communities, p. 176. 23. This quote is taken from Bruce McConachie’s essay “Approaching the ‘Structure of Feeling’ in Grassroots Theater,” p. 40. 24. Kershaw in The Radical in Performance and Cohen-Cruz in Local Acts discuss the “Changing Script” as the means by which performance opens the possibility to change reality and the given scripts of life, politics, and culture. “Changing Script” is the possibility to change the script of hegemonic power and practices. 25. This concept draws on Kelly Oliver in Witnessing.

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