The Canadian Consortium on Performance and Politics in the Americas (CCPPA)

A SSHRC Partnership Grant, 2013-2020

  • Supported by a Canada Foundation for Innovation Grant
  • Principal Investigator: Peter Kulchyski (U of Manitoba)

“In the spring of 2011 The Globe and Mail reported, under the title "Solid Americas Strategy Would Reap Big Rewards for Canada,” that Canada's engagement with Latin America was of critical strategic value, yet since it had announced in 2007 a plan for extended involvement in the region, the federal government's commitment lacked "funds, focus and co-ordination." The Canadian Consortium on Performance and Politics in the Americas (CCPPA) involves a 'ground up' engagement, linking scholars, artists and human rights activists interested in questions of culture, human rights and politics through the lens of performance studies. Its goal is to develop a network of Canadian scholars, linking them to an existing, prestigious network connected through the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics. One concern is to investigate the distinctive ethical-political dimensions of the American hemisphere as a site of social, cultural and political agency. From the historical fact of the conquest, to the contemporary emergence of distinct issues (such as disappearances, indigenous rights, and social dislocation and migration), the American hemisphere offers a rich field of comparisons that researchers based in Canada could fruitfully engage. We ask the questions “how is Canada an American, rather than a European or Asian-Pacific, nation?” and “what does that mean in relation to Canadian engagements with the rest of the Americas?” We also explore as a second, related question, the insights that emerging performance studies approaches offer to scholars in Canada. Performance studies is conceived of here broadly and includes the study of performance artists, socially embedded everyday-life gestures, the meaning of citizenship, the articulation of gender difference, or enactment of ritual in a religious contexts, to specify a few sites of investigation. Politics is a central concern but, rather than the politics of formal institutions, our lens is aimed at wider issues of cultural politics. We look at how Canada's “American” identity is performed through formal and informal mechanisms, structures, gestures, dialogues, and embodied practices.

The Hemispheric Institute for Performance and Politics is a ten-year old initiative based at New York University, founded and directed by Diana Taylor, and largely funded by the Ford Foundation. The Institute sponsors Encuentros (major conference-festivals that take place every two years), a vast digital archive of Hemispheric performance practices, an online journal, field courses, and sites of cultural production in Latin America. Members in the Institute include a variety of U.S. universities and academic institutions throughout the Americas. Since 2005, the University of Manitoba has been the only Canadian university formally affiliated with the Institute. Nine universities in Canada have now joined as partners in this project and as members of the Institute. This Partnership will ensure that senior, mid-career, and new scholars in many disciplines, from almost all regions of Canada, gain access and contribute to the intellectually fertile dialogues of the Hemispheric Institute.

CCPPA will sponsor case study research, theme group collaborations, and cross-boundary discussion around the politics of performance and the performance of politics in the dynamic context of contemporary cultural ferment and creativity in Latin America and in Canada itself as an “American” entity. The project will also lead to the creation and preservation of an extensive Canadian Content Hemispheric Institute Digital Video Library of materials associated with political performance in Canada, funded by the Canada Foundation for Innovation and based at the University of Manitoba.”

Co-investigators

Shannon Bell (York U)
Kathleen A. Buddle-Crowe (University of Manitoba)
Warren Cariou (U of Manitoba)
Jean-François Côté (U du Québec à Montréal)
Roewan Crowe (U of Winnipeg)
Stephen Johnson (U of Toronto)
Smaro Kamboureli (U of Toronto)
Laura Levin (York U)
Keavy K. Martin (U. of Alberta)
Kimberley A. Sawchuk (Concordia U)
Mark J. Sussman (Concordia U)
Pilar Riano-Alcala (U of British Columbia)
Diana Taylor (New York University)
Dot Tuer (OCAD U)
Andrew L. Wernick (Trent U)
Jennifer S. Willet (University of Windsor)

And 20 Collaborators (academics and practicing artists) from Canada, the U.S.A., the UK, Chile, and Mexico.

Major Parnter: The Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics: http://hemisphericinstitute.org/hemi