Gendered Gifts: Feminist Performance Practice

  • Elizabeth-Jane BurnettEmail author
Part of the Modern and Contemporary Poetry and Poetics book series (MPCC)


Drawing on ethnography, particularly Strathern’s gendered gifts, Burnett presents the body of the performer as an object for transaction, where the method of its transaction (or performance) has the potential to change its classification. A survey of performances by women, including Caroline Bergvall, Carla Harryman, Alison Knowles, Redell Olsen, Kristin Prevallet and Anne Waldman, demonstrates how embodied performance can be read as a feminist poetics whereby an audience is prevented, by contrived distancing devices, from experiencing total immersion. Made alert to their status as spectators, audiences may offer increasingly self-reflexive, interrogative responses to the performing body that incorporate more than predictable spectator gaze and predetermined representations of femininity. Audiences are considered as both unified and divided; and the role of agency is explored.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Newman University, BirminghamBirminghamUK

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