Interview with Jill Lane (2007)
Jill Lane is Associate Professor of Spanish and Portuguese at New York University, where she teaches courses on performance in the Americas in relation to the histories of colonialism, neocolonialism, and globalization. She studied Comparative Literature at Brown University for her undergraduate degree and later obtained her Master’s degree in Theatre Arts at the same institution. She holds a PhD in performance studies from New York University. Professor Lane's book Blackface Cuba, 1840-1898 (University of Pennsylvania Press 2005) examines racial impersonation, national desire, and anticolonial sentiment in Cuba. She is presently editing an anthology on Latin American performance with Routledge and is co-editor with Peggy Phelan of The Ends of Performance (New York University Press 1998). She is also co-editor of e-misférica, the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics's peer-reviewed online journal.X
Diana Taylor: Could you tell me just a little bit about yourself?
Jill Lane: I have an MA in Theatre History from Brown University and then came to do a PhD in Performance Studies here at NYU. That’s my intellectual background.
Diana: Tell me a little bit about how you would define performance studies.
“To the extent that if we understand race as always produced through a process of racialization, racialization is always about practices around and in relation to the body. In that sense I would say that performance studies has much to add to ongoing conversations about critical race theory, because, rather than talking about the body in the abstract, performance studies lets us really look in detail, and very analytically, at the specific contexts in which race is performed, practiced, negated, confirmed, and so on”
Diana: Can you tell me ways in which performance studies as a lens or as an object has been key to your own work?
the work I’ve done on 19th century Cuba
Lane, Jill. 2005. Blackface Cuba 1940-1895. (Rethinking the Americas). Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.and relations to race and anti-colonialism, all the way to some of the research I’ve done on contemporary activism in the context of globalization. It has provided me with methods that could travel through that range.
Diana: How would you think of performance studies in relationship to race, for example?
race is performed, practiced, negated, confirmed, and so on. So I think it has the potential, and it already participates in those conversations that are taking place in ethnic studies and critical race theory right now, and I think performance studies has an even much greater role to play there.
Diana: Okay, well, thank you so much.
Jill: You’re welcome.
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