30. April 2014 · Comments Off on Don’t Miss Arroz Con Mango! · Categories: Events

Hemispheric South/s is excited to announce the upcoming staged reading of Arroz Con Mango on Thursday, May 8 at 7 p.m. in the MCC Theater. Admission is free.

21. February 2014 · Comments Off on Graduate Student Conference (in honor of T. DeFrantz and Kyle Abraham) CFP · Categories: News

Please follow this link to a PDF of an exciting opportunity to present work on the intersections of race, queerness, and contemporary dance:

Graduate Conference on Race, Queerness, and Contemporary Dance CFP


Kyle Abraham’s Pavement ; Photography © Carrie Schneider




23. October 2013 · Comments Off on An Evening of Spoken Word with OVEOUS · Categories: Events

The Hemispheric South/s Research Initiative is excited to announce co-sponsorship of an incredible event hosted by UCSB’s MultiCultural Center:

An Evening of Spoken Word with OVEOUS

This Thursday, October 24, 7:30 pm

Muddy Waters Café – 508 E. Haley St., Santa Barbara

OVEOUS is a poet, rapper, vocalist, and producer that embodies brilliant lyricism with a powerful performance. He earned a standing ovation on HBO Def Jam, has won on “Showtime at the Apollo” multiple times, and starred in the film SP!T narrated by Rosario Dawson. He just released a new album titled “KILL YOUR MYTH” a rap music explosion of life, culture, and sound.

Oveous poster

01. April 2013 · Comments Off on Bodies in Space 2013 · Categories: Events




The Hemispheric South/s Research Initiative and the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center will host the third installment of “Bodies in Space,” a UC-wide Guerrilla-Style Performance Theory Graduate Conference. This year’s conference theme, Listening, invites participants to make meaning across fluid boundaries of theory, praxis, social justice movements, disciplinary knowledge, and affective response. Led by Los Angeles performance artist Karen Anzoategui, participants will engage in a daylong performance workshop, which will culminate in an impromptu collaborative performance open to the public.

APRIL 13, 2013

Please join us!



27. February 2013 · Comments Off on Duplicitous Inclusions: Race and Subject of Nation – Friday March 8th from 1-4pm in SH 1415 · Categories: Events

The Hemispheric South/s Research Initiative and the American Cultures & Global Contexts Center have collaboratively organized a mini-conference next Friday, March 8, 2013 from 1-4pm in SH 1415 Duplicitous Inclusions: Race and Subject of Nation.

In performance, lived blackness as a subaltern location of national identity reveals and resists state and social processes of contradictory exclusion and hyper-visibility. It becomes a particular site for confronting incursions of insidious and overt marginalizations. In the research presented at Duplicitous Inclusions: Race and Subject of Nation, creative artists forge feeling and consciousness around racial exclusions that inconvenience and confound the national self-image in South Africa and the United States. The keynote addresses explore the terms of confronting racism in the face of the fantasy that it no longer exists. These scholars examine race and representation in the development of a seemingly new landscape of racial meaning and national knowledge.

This exciting event will feature two visiting scholarsDr. Brandi Wilkins Catanese,
Associate Professor of African American Studies & Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, and Dr. Xavier Livermon, Assistant Professor of Africana Studies at Wayne State University. Through cross-disciplinary dialogue, we hope to engage questions central to the missions of both the ACGCC’s Antiracism Inc. program and the Hemispheric South/s Research Initiative’s focus on Race and Affect. A flyer with the schedule is included below:



17. January 2013 · Comments Off on Don’t miss the ::Transpacifics Roundtable:: this Friday 1/18 at noon! · Categories: Events

28. November 2012 · Comments Off on Hip Hop Theater Artist Rickerby Hinds Coming to UCSB on Dec. 6-7 · Categories: Events

On December 6-7 Hip Hop Theater Artist Rickerby Hinds will be visiting our campus. On Thursday night at 8pm in Girvertz 1004, don’t miss a performance of Dreamscape written and directed by Professor Hinds.  I’ve included more information about his critically acclaimed play here:


In 1998 a 19-year-old African American young woman was shot to death by four police officers in Riverside, California – while passed out in her car. Through poetry, dance and beatboxing, Dreamscape explores the life of Myeisha Mills (Tyisha Miller) and re-frames her death by following the trajectory and impact of the 12 bullets that struck her – each one triggering its own unique memory.

Read an article about the show here.

Watch a short rehearsal video here.

He will also be facilitating two workshop sessions to which you are all invited as audience members. A schedule is included below:

Thursday, December 6, 2012

8-9:30pm :: performance of Dreamscape (Girvetz 1004)

9:30-10pm :: Q&A with playwright and actors (Girvetz 1004)

Friday, December 7, 2012

11-1 :: Hip Hop Theater Workshop w/playwright and director, Professor Rickerby Hinds, UCR (Girvetz 1004)

2-3 :: Hip Hop Theater Workshop w/Professor Rickerby Hinds featuring Stacks of Obits by Stephanie Batiste (SRB Multipurpose Room)

Hope to see you all there, and please do not hesitate to contact the Graduate Student Research Assistant Alison Reed (hemsouths@gmail.com) for more information!

30. August 2012 · Comments Off on Welcome to the Hemispheric South/s Website! · Categories: News

The Hemispheric South/s Research Initiative is excited to announce that its website is currently undergoing revision (Summer 2013) so that it may better serve as:

1. A way to keep updated on our exciting upcoming Events

2. A digital archive of our Past Events

3. A research tool of Resources


We’ve also added a Featured Book page to bring you the latest in groundbreaking scholarship.


30. August 2012 · Comments Off on “Cross-Currents: Oceanic Connections and Movements” · Categories: Events · Tags:

In the 2011-12 academic year the Hemispheric South/s Research Initiative (HS/s) took up the question of Oceanic Connections and Movements. Highlighting the importance of fluidity, migration, and exchange to transnational and hemispheric research, this year’s programming will look at these connections through work by and about people of color at various oceanic points. Speakers and events represented nations and populations situated along bodies of water that define Global and Hemispheric South/s. Trans-oceanic resonances were particularly important in this year’s programming. Events outlined below, describing some of our programming, include collaborations and co-sponsorships with research units across campus that share Hemispheric South/s’ commitment to enhancing and complicating discourses of race and ethnicity in the Department of English and on-campus. Significant in this cycle of programs is the 2nd Annual Bodies in Space graduate conference organized by Kristie Soares, HS/s Research Assistant, Shannon Brennan, Literature and the Environment Research Assistant, Alison Reed, Incoming HS/s Research Assistant, and Jessica Lopez-Lyman, Chicano Studies Department. This graduate student driven conference recruited proposals and participation from graduate participants throughout California. It featured two keynote presentations: a master class by theatre artist Sharon Bridgforth and lecture, “Performing Precarity” by Dr. Jennifer Brody. For this demanding event conference participants brought their research interests to bear in a trade of ideas, argument, and theory from which they collaborated to produce and present their own original new art–performances that engaged and critiqued practices of knowledge production. This year’s ::Bodies in Space:: conference video (filmed by Ali Lassoued and edited by Emanuel Garcia) is now available online here.

Amanda Phillips, graduate student, Department of English, penned a popular in-depth HASTAC blog post on the conference, which you can read here.


Speakers and events represent nations and populations situated along bodies of water that define Global and Hemispheric South/s. Trans-oceanic resonances are particularly important in this year’s programming. Upcoming and proposed events include: a presentation by Ghanaian playwright Ama Ata Aidoo; a lecture by Professor Patrick Bellegarde Smith; Comparative Transnationalisms: a panel composed of new Women of Color faculty at UCSB; the Caribbean Crossroads Conference; and a week of graduate events, including a Graduate Panel and our 2nd annual Graduate Performance Conference.

The Hemispheric South/s Research Initiative remains committed to enhancing and complicating discourses of race and ethnicity in the Department of English and on-campus.


Selected Events

Caribbean Crossroads Conference

This conference explored the interactions and points of contact between the different cultural and linguistic zones that make up the Caribbean region, in support of a less insular, more archipelagic sense of Caribbean culture.

More info: http://www.ihc.ucsb.edu/caribbean-crossroads/


“Darkening Mirrors: Imperial Representation in Depression-Era African American Performance” A Talk by Dr. Stephanie L. Batiste

Dr. Batiste discussed her new book, which examines how African Americans participated in U.S. cultural imperialism in Depression-era stage and screen performances. A population treated as second-class citizens at home imagined themselves as empowered, modern U.S. citizens and transnational actors by performing cultural and racial otherness in plays, operas, ballets, and films. Many of these productions, such as the 1938 hits Haiti and The “Swing” Mikado recruited large casts of unknown performers, involving the black community not only as spectators but also as participants. Performances of exoticism, orientalism, and primitivism are inevitably linked to issues of embodiment, including how bodies signify blackness as a cultural, racial, and global category.


“Waves of Resistance”

Lecture by Dr. Isaiah H. Walker, Brigham Young University—Hawaii

Co-sponsored with Literature and the Environment


Surfing has been a significant sport and cultural practice in Hawai’i  for more than 1,500 years. In the last century, facing increased marginalization on land, many Native Hawaiians have found refuge, autonomy, and identity in the waves. In his book Waves of Resistance Isaiah Walker explains that throughout the twentieth century Hawaiian surfers have successfully resisted colonial encroachment in the po’ina nalu  (surf zone).


::Bodies in Space: Flow/s:: A Guerrilla-Style Performance & Theory Bake-Off

::Bodies in Space: Flow/s:: was a two-day graduate event that began with a series of roundtables and ends with a guerrilla-style performance. Highlights of the program include a master class by poet, theorist, activist, and performer, Sharon Bridgforth (Duquesne University), and a keynote address by cultural critic Dr. Jennifer Brody (Stanford University).


“Selfhood on the Edge: African Photography at the Indian Ocean Crossroads.” Lecture by Dr. Sandy Prita Meier, Wayne State University

Located at the crossroads of Africa and the Indian Ocean, the port cities of the Swahili coast have been nodes of global connectivity for over two millennia. Beginning in the nineteenth century, however, Western imperialism radically reconfigured East Africa’s social, political and cultural networks. This talk explored the fundamental role of photography in remaking Swahili logics of personhood. It considered how the photograph, through its very materiality, circulated in and out of various registers of meaning in order to question normative ideas about the politics of globalism.


“Gender, Creative Dissidence, and the Discourses of African Diaspora: A colloquium in honor of Ama Ata Aidoo’s 70th birthday”

This three-day conference explored the intricacies of Aidoo’s work and the broader questions of Diaspora and gender they raise.


“A War Between Soldiers and Prophets”: Embodied Resistance in Colonial Belgian Congo.” A Talk by Dr. Yolanda Covington-Ward.

Based on fourteen and a half months of ethnographic and archival research, this paper placed the body and embodied practices at the center of an analysis of Kongo colonial-era prophetic movements to examine spirit possession and trembling (kuzakama) as sites of moral and political contestation between the church, colonial state, and the indigenous population in the Lower Congo.

05. May 2011 · Comments Off on Black Performance Theory 2011 · Categories: Uncategorized

The Hemispheric South/s Research Initiative

Department of English, University of California at Santa Barbara

“BPT 2011 :: Hemispheres & Souths”

Black Performance Theory Conference, May 2011.

Participants (not in order pictured): Omi Osun Joni L. Jones, Matt Richardson, E. Patrick Johnson, Jeffrey McCune, Venus Opal Reese, N. Fadeke Castor, Antonio Cuyler, Monica Ndounou, Anita Gonzalez, Thomas DeFrantz, Anna Scott, Anna Bean, Harvey Young, Koritha Mitchell, Christina McMahon, Melissa Blanco Borelli, Rashida Braggs, Hershini Bhana Young, Uri MacMillan, Sarah Jane Cervenac, Grisha Coleman, Yolanda Covington Ward, Raquel Monroe, Stephanie Batiste, Kristie Soares, Jayna Brown


The Hemispheric South/s Research Initiative is very pleased to host the 2011 meeting of the Black Performance Theory working group, “BPT 2011 :: Hemispheres & Souths” happening May 6-7, 2011 at the University of California, Santa Barbara. At each meeting, a small cadre of scholars and practitioners share work in experimental sessions that have included dance performances, play readings, poetry and solo performance work, film screenings, flash animation presentations, and the creation of group improvisations. A space for active Witnessing allows audience members to engage productively with Participants’ contributions.

This year’s overarching theme draws inspiration from contemplations of black meetings and crossings in hemispheric and global souths. BPT:: “Hemispheres & Souths” invokes the vast and broad oceanic and land-based circulations of black performance. The 2011 working group seeks to link the translations, transmigrations, transnationalisms, and diasporisms implied by the notions of a Hemispheric South and a Global South to performance as practice and to nuances of race as performance. Participants’ work constitutes a provocation that suggests unexpected routes of diaspora across “Hemispheres” and “Souths.” Presentations can be partially literary, but contain an element of performance.

In preparing an offering for the group this year, Participants take up the overarching concept of a cardinal point like “South” or “West,” “East” or “North” and work it through a combination of texts and/or scholarly works. For example, presenters might pick an imaginary place like the “dirty dirty South” and theorize it through Appurandi, Wyclef Jean, and Zora Neale Hurston to offer a hybrid performance of black social dance circa 1920 and 1990. Other imaginative structures might include “Up South,” “Down South,” “Southsides,”  “Pacific Rims,” “Atlantic Rims,” “Black Cities,” “Black Wests,” “I(s)-lands, ”“Promised Lands”… etc . to theorize Black “Hemispheres & Souths” in performance.

Participants work in teams to construct creative presentation formats beyond the traditional conference-style reading of prepared papers. In this way BPT:: “Hemispheres & Souths” facilitates live, creative collaborative adventures in theory and performance.

The Black Performance Theory working group is a collective of scholars working on the theory, history, and practice of African American expressive cultures. The experience of writing and performing theory links scholars and scholar/performers in unique modalities of conversation, debate, and collaboration. Diverse disciplinary perspectives provide an unbounded look at performative commonalities of African diaspora including, but not limited to, gospel music, concert dance, hip hop music, black church oratory, architecture and public space theory, theater historiography, and queer cultures. We strive for vibrant critical discussion of methodologies, paradigms, and approaches to theorizing black performance.

This eighth invitation-based convening of BPT elaborates an exciting tradition of innovation inaugurated by Thomas DeFrantz and Richard Green in 1998. Working Group Meetings have included:

  • “Race and Representation,” organized and hosted by Richard Green, Duke University, 1998;
  • “African American Performativity,” Thomas DeFrantz, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2000;
  • “Black Performance Theory: Theorizing as if Race Matters,” DeFrantz and Green, Stanford University, 2002;
  • “De/Cipherin’ Practices,” Anna B. Scott, UC Irvine, 2003;
  • “Contingent Geographies of Blackness,” Ananya Chatterjea, University of Minnesota, 2004;
  • Crossroads in Global Performance,” Annemarie Bean, Williams College, 2006;
  • “Black Performance Theory,” E. Patrick Johnson, Northwestern University, 2007; •”Afrosonics: Grammars of Black Sound,” Daphne Brooks and DeFrantz, co-sponsored by the Afro-American Cultural Center, African American Studies and the World Performance Project, Yale University, 2009.


BPT Schedule

Hemispheres and Souths

May 6-7, 2011

Friday May 6, McCune Room
9:00-9:30 — Continental Breakfast

9:30-10:30 — Welcome and Introductions

10:30-11:20 — “The Black Queer South: A Performance in Three Movements,”  Omi Osun Joni L. Jones, Matt Richardson, and E. Patrick Johnson

11:25-12:15 — “Da Bashment, Da Breath, Da Basement: Spheric Positions of and/from the Bottom,” Jeffrey McCune, Venus Opal Reese, N. Fadeke Castor

12:15-1:30 — Lunch

1:30-2:20 — “Revising Representation: The Paradox of Language and Performance of Southern Black Characters,” Antonio Cuyler, Monica Ndounou, Anita Gonzalez

2:25-3:15 — “easy-n-greasy: dirty south keeps rollin’ along,” Thomas DeFrantz & Anna Scott

3:30-4:20 — “Going Home: Memory, Performance, and All of Africa,” Anna Bean, Harvey Young, Koritha Mitchell

4:20-5:30 — Profession and Research :: Dream Projects

Saturday May 7, Loma Pelona Room

9:30-10:00 — Continental Breakfast

10:00-10:50 — Profession and Research :: Workplace Climate

10:55-11:45 — “The Search for True North,” Christina McMahon, Melissa Blanco Borelli, Rashida Braggs

11:45-1:00 — Box Lunch

1:00-1:50 — “the embrace of dis/orientation: errant souths and crooked dreams,” Hershini Bhana Young, Uri MacMillan, Sarah Jane Cervenac

1:55-2:45 — “Transformative Gestures in Southern Rotation,” Grisha Coleman, Yolanda Covington Ward, Raquel Monroe

2:45-3:00 — Break

3:00-3:50 — “Westworlds,” Stephanie Batiste, Jayna Brown

3:50-5:00 — Profession and Research :: Promotion & Tenure

5:00-5:30 — BPT futures

6:00-8:30 — Dinner

BPT Working Group – Selected Responses 2011:
I love the organic, critical, rich, and dynamic energy of Black Performance Institute: Hemispheres and Souths! It is a blessing. Not only master minds, but folks putting bodies into motion and performing for the GODS! Wow.
Only at Black Performance Theory 2011, would the conference end with scholars dancing to Tupac n Dr. Dre’s “California Love!” The conference began with a critical performance of the constraints and conflicts created through spiritual/familiar conservatism, ending with the “freedoms” possible through and because of performance. Performance imagines and leads to “heavenly space impossible here.”

–Jeffrey McCune


I had a great time at BPT this year. The field is in such good hands with such wonderful folks coming up and through.

–E. Patrick Johnson


Dear Stephanie,  I want to thank you for an incredible weekend. Not only was I intellectually edified, I also very much so felt affirmed. I look forward to attending future BPTs.

–Antonio C. Cuyler


Thank you for organizing a great BPT! I had fun. Thank you for your time and energy. Both are greatly appreciated.

–Harvey Young


Thank you so much for welcoming me into the group and for facilitating and nurturing this wonderful space.  I am deeply grateful for your generosity and for all of the good learning.

Jane Cervenac


That was a really fun, inspiring and productive BPT. Thank you for all your planning and fundraising. We really appreciate it and you! And, I look forward to the opportunities that come out of this meeting as well as our future BPT endeavors.

–Rashida K. Braggs


Stephanie,  Thank you much for all of your hard work and making us feel welcome at BPT/UCSB!  I am very inspired and excited to meet so many scholar/artists working in this field.  I look forward to keeping in touch. 

–Monica Ndounou

Since 2000, each event has received funding and administrative support from SLIPPAGE: Performance|Culture|Technology, the research group founded by Thomas DeFrantz at MIT.  
The group functions as a site for intellectual creativity, for communal consideration of foundational concepts in performance theory, and as a much-needed opening into the space of performance discourse as it might be inflected black.