Rethinking Interculturalism Using Digital Tools
This chapter returns to interculturalism to examine changes that have occurred in this theatrical practice in the two decades since the publication of Women’s Intercultural Performance. Research methods have also altered because of shifts in cultural and political contexts, and the availability of new research tools. Our “close-up” studies of women’s intercultural performance practice have given way to a “distant reading” based on quantitative analyses that deliver qualitative interpretations of the social, political, and economic forces that facilitate or block cultural transmission at a transnational level. Using AusStage, the Australian database for the performing arts, we have interrogated an AusStage festival subset to reveal that the nature and location of interculturalism in Australia has changed markedly, and disappointingly, that women play ever-more limited roles in this Australian market. We situate this re-evaluation of intercultural performance practice against global forces and national positions—specifically cultural diplomacy—and articulate disjunctions we have uncovered. Using quantitative analyses as the basis of qualitative interpretations has allowed us to contextualize our earlier study by reflecting on a broader time span, thus enriching the close-up methodology that produced Women’s Intercultural Performance.
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