Interdisciplinary Field or Emerging Discipline?: Performance Studies at the University of Sydney

  • Gay McAuley
Part of the Performance Interventions book series (PIPI)


At the final session of the PSi (Performance Studies international) conference in Singapore in 2004, conference co-organizer Ray Langenbach reported that preliminary analysis of the participants indicated that 20 percent were locals living in Singapore, 40 percent came from other Asian countries, 15 percent from Europe, and 25 percent from America. Someone called out from the floor, ‘Where did you put Australia?’ The laughter provoked was intensified when Ray admitted that he did not know the answer. This incident reveals in an almost emblematic way the ambivalent position of Australia in relation to dominant geopolitical and cultural forces at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Is Australia part of Europe (the majority of its citizens are of European descent and its institutions are overwhelmingly British in origin), or part of the geographical region (its closest neighbors are Papua New Guinea and Indonesia)? Or has it now become a virtual outpost of the United States, as former Prime Minister John Howard implied when, to the dismay of most Australians, he expressed himself willing to be seen as George Bush’s deputy sheriff in the region?1 It was, of course, an Australian who asked the question, for it is Australians who experience most directly the uncertainties as to where their country is located — and is seen to be located — within the global polity, and where they themselves would locate it.


Performance Study Restorative Justice Theatre Study Performance Practice Theatre Research 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Gay McAuley 2010

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  • Gay McAuley

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