Interview with Diana Taylor, conducted by Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett. This interview is a part of a series curated by the Hemispheric Institute, articulated around the question 'What is Performance Studies?' The series aims to provide a multifaceted approach to the often difficult task of defining the coordinates of both a field of academic study as well as a lens through which to assess and document cultural practice and embodied behavior. The contingent definitions documented in this series are based on the groundbreaking experiences and the scholarly endeavors of renowned figures in contemporary performance studies and practice.
Diana Taylor is University Professor in the Department of Performance Studies and in the Spanish Department at New York University, and also Founding Director of the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics. She is the author of Theatre of Crisis: Drama and Politics in Latin America (Kentucky University Press 1991), which won the Best Book Award given by New England Council on Latin American Studies and Honorable Mention in the Joe E. Callaway Prize for the Best Book on Drama. She is also author of Disappearing Acts: Spectacles of Gender and Nationalism in Argentina's 'Dirty War' (Duke University Press 1997), and The Archive and the Repertoire: Performing Cultural Memory in the Americas (Duke University Press 2003) which won the ATHE Research Award in Theatre Practice and Pedagogy and the Modern Language Association Katherine Singer Kovacs Prize for the best book in Latin American and Spanish Literatures and Culture (2004). She is also editor, with Sarah J. Townsend, of Stages of Conflict: A Critical Anthology of Latin American Theater and Performance (University of Michigan Press 2008) and co-editor of Holy Terrors: Latin American Women Perform (Duke University Press 2004), Defiant Acts/Actos Desafiantes: Four Plays by Diana Raznovich (Bucknell University Press 2002), Negotiating Performance in Latin/o America: Gender, Sexuality and Theatricality (Duke University Press 1994), and The Politics of Motherhood: Activists from Left to Right (UPNE 1997).
Professor Taylor has edited five volumes of critical essays on Latin American, Latino, and Spanish playwrights. Her articles on Latin American and Latino performance have appeared in The Drama Review, Theatre Journal, Performing Arts Journal, Latin American Theatre Review, Estreno, Gestos, Signs, MLQ and other scholarly journals. She has also been invited to participate in discussions on the role of new technologies in the arts and humanities in important conferences and commissions in the Americas (like the ACLS Commission on Cyberinfrastructure). In December 2010, her Inaugural University Professorship Lecture at New York University, “Save As: The Archive in the Age of Digital Technologies,” discussed how new technologies influence both archival behavior and body practices.