Performatic Borders: Identity Trafficking and Sweatshops of Memory

Convener: Javier Serna

The geographical region of the Mexican Northeast built it s cultural profile based on the influences of the diverse ethnic groups that inhabited the zone during two significant historical periods that are by now clearly defined: the Colonial period (16th to the 19th centuries), which documents the presence of Spaniards, Portuguese, Africans, Nahuas, Tlaxcaltecs, and Chichimecs in the region; and the Independent Period (19th to the 21th centuries), which documents the ostensible presence of Spaniards, North Americans, French, Italians, Germans, Jews, and Palestinians; nevertheless, it left out a fundamental influenceL that of the pre-Hispanic cultural world, considered “barbaric.”

The cultural landscape of the region shelters, reveals and evidences, by means of the performance of its inhabitants and its symbolic production (visible and invisible), these layers of presence and correspondences in both the tangible and intangible cultural practices. The traditions, customs, tastes, preferences, rejections, acceptances and behaviors that can be read in the cultural objects produced in the region are the evidences which reveal the transference and traffic of its aforementioned cultural background.

“Performatic Borders” proposes the development of a vigorous argument against the “regulatory” rules on identities, recovering the cultural memory of the Pre-Hispanic period revealed in present cultural practices, and claiming its right to civic political practice.


The format of this workgroup is based on oral presentations, which can be supplemented with video or slides.


Javier Serna is Professor-Researcher of Theatrical Studies and Cutural Practices in the Theater department at the School of Humanities at the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León. He is the author of "El teatro al fin de la modernidad" published in La Enciclopedia de Monterrey and he coordinated the column "República del teatro" in the Mexican theatre magazine Paso de Gato. Serna holds a diploma from the Drama Center London, a masters in Philosophical Anthropology from the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León, and a PhD in Performance Studies from New York University.



Diego Fabian Arévalo Viveros 
Javier Serna
João Gabriel Teixeira 
María Firmino-Castillo 
Tania Correa