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Text and Performance Quarterly
Publication details, including instructions for authors and
subscription information:
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Treading Across Lines in the Sand:
Performing Bodies in Coalitional
Subjectivity
Kimberlee Pérez & Dustin Bradley Goltz
Published online: 24 Jun 2010.

To cite this article: Kimberlee Pérez & Dustin Bradley Goltz (2010) Treading Across Lines in the
Sand: Performing Bodies in Coalitional Subjectivity, Text and Performance Quarterly, 30:3, 247-268,
DOI: 10.1080/10462937.2010.481797
To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10462937.2010.481797

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Text and Performance Quarterly
Vol. 30, No. 3, July 2010, pp. 247268

Treading Across Lines in the Sand:
Performing Bodies in Coalitional
Subjectivity

Downloaded by [5.239.127.217] at 11:05 02 February 2015

Kimberlee Pe´rez & Dustin Bradley Goltz

For all bodies, performance can be a site to untangle and grapple with one’s place within
hegemonic structures. Our bodies, the bodies of a WHITE-JEW-GAY-GUY and a
BROWN-DYKE-GIRL, come to the stage to negotiate possibilities of joining our
differently situated queer subjectivities through the process of generating and performing
collaborative personal narrative. Through understanding, grounding, and interrupting
the politics of our relation we describe and assert a coalitional subjectivity that
destabilizes intact representations/memories of our own experiences. We do this as a
gesture toward reconfiguring notions of the individual as an always already relational
(and potentially coalitional) subject.
Keywords: Collaboration; Personal Narrative; Queer; Politics of Relation; Coalition
The meanings we make alongside of those we love, particularly across lines of
difference, allow us to remake our assumptions and widen our vision of the
political field. (Carrillo Rowe, ‘‘Be Longing’’ 36)
If a binational, multiracial, crossgenerational collective can in fact function in the
real world, then maybe it’s possible on a larger scale to sort out our differences and
cultural conflicts . . . I think that’s the kind of utopian impulse that has led me to
work in a collaborative manner. (Go´mez-Pen˜a 260)

The turn in performance studies toward the personal has resulted in a significant
corpus of theory and performance text/practice that interrogates the processes,
implications, potentials, and pitfalls of performing personal narrative. Two decades
have passed since Langellier marked the political implications of attention to, and
Dustin Bradley Goltz is at DePaul University, College of Communication, 2320 N. Kenmore Ave., Chicago,
60614. Email: dgoltz@depaul.edu. Kimberlee Perez is at Arizona State University, Hugh Downs School of
Human Communication, Tempe. Email: kimberlee.perez@asu.edu. The authors/performers worked together in
the generation and revision of this essay, and would like to explicitly mark equal contributions, rather
than offering a designation of a lead author. The authors/performers would like to thank Jennifer Linde, Jason
Zingsheim, and Rae Langes for their feedback and support throughout this process.
ISSN 1046-2937 (print)/ISSN 1479-5760 (online) # 2010 National Communication Association
DOI: 10.1080/10462937.2010.481797

’’ and the relations that connect us (Carrillo Rowe. thus reifying a narrow focus on the individual (Schneider. and coalitional elements of narrative and performance in a non-linear temporality. Mun˜ oz considers queer of color solo performers for the ways that their labor participates in a queer worldmaking that moves in resistance to. as that which constitutes our subjectivity (‘‘Be Longing’’. Pe´rez & D. Collaborative personal narrative involves personal. and history’’ (278). our belongings. Personal narrative performance is primarily theorized. Madison. ‘‘Two’’ 129). the narration of ‘‘mundane happenings’’ by those on the ‘‘margins of discourse’’ (‘‘Personal’’ 243). Our paper extends personal narrative performance using Carrillo Rowe’s feminist cultural theory of a politics of relation. that ‘‘impacts both the speaker and the listeners’’ (23).Downloaded by [5. In this papear we articulate what we call a collaborative personal narrative.217] at 11:05 02 February 2015 248 K. the focus shifts from the site of the individual personal narrative to the site . While these and other personal narrative theories underscore the relational production and potential of performance. in contestation. in discussion. Madison’s ‘‘performance of possibilities’’ theorizes how performers ‘‘present and represent Subjects as made and makers of meaning. constructs her/his own personal stories. ‘‘Stages’’). symbols. and criticized. they centralize the body/text of the solo performer from which an audience participates in resistance and community. Performance theories mark what personal narrative performance does. Langellier and Peterson argue that personal narrative is a co-constituted production of self. personal narratives. ‘‘Two’’. Alexander’s generative autobiography underscores the centrality of relations and the intersubjectivity inherent in the process of constructing. through an active and reflexive stance. While critics emphasize the self-aggrandizing dimensions of personal narratives.’’ ‘‘despite constrictive taboos’’ (22). and in collaborative relation is central to our project/process. potentially producing alternate subjectivities among performers and audiences and imagining alternate public formations (Langellier. While traditional Western theories of the subject presume the subject is hailed through discourse in order to be recognized. Park-Fuller describes personal narrative testimony as ‘‘an artistic declaration’’ of experience. Goltz theorizing of. and outside of. Hantzis). experience. and performance process through the dialogic collaboration of two performers. and thus the narration of self in dialogue. Personal narrative performers negotiate the tensions within ‘‘a performative struggle for agency. Alexander theorizes generative autobiography from the standpoint of an audience member who. as well as performing and audiencing. Carrillo Rowe focuses on the site of our relations. In collaborative personal narrative.127. relational. ‘‘without repentance. Listening to one another’s stories is a necessary part of the process of understanding across difference. a self in relation to other. and a communal self. as situated in a relational context between performer and audience. violent and exclusionary heteronormative spaces (Disidentifications). Power). Collaborative personal narrative opens the space for collaborators to become ‘‘fluent in one another’s histories as a function of coming to a fuller awareness of our own. the construction of first person accounts of history.239. Mun˜ oz. B. Power 198).’’ resistively rendering the margins of invisibility and silence hyper-visible (Langellier. others emphasize the potential of relationality.

and the ways our performance is audienced. we consider collaborative personal narrative through tracing the year-long development of our performance. Our project conceives of collaborative personal narrative as contributing toward the potentiality of a coalitional subject. Although the tensions of identity politics intervene in the production of our notions of self and other. An interpretive stance lacks the necessary force that can take us there. The essay moves through the process of generating the text. it remains a question of contention and territory. although also privileged. Although our initial inquiry was into history and the proper/ties of performance. experience. academics. the process of dialogically constructing narrations of self and placement of personal narratives into dialogue. queers. 143) called us back to our bodies. . and an analysis of multiple performance contexts. generation.Downloaded by [5. The politics of any relations can become wrought with the politics of identity. collaborative and solo performers. and consideration of the politics of our relations. Carrillo Rowe theorizes the coalitional subject through a politics of relation as that which ‘‘entails understanding agency. It is a gesture that shifts subject formation from the individual toward the relational. and queer futurity. we set out to write an article.239. Power).127. and consciousness as collective and interrelated moments within a circuit’’ (Power 11). and the tensions of identity/relations are significant to our process. The politics of our relations* as co-authors. Some twenty years ago Pelias and Van Oosting put forth the notion of ‘‘A Paradigm for Performance Studies.217] at 11:05 02 February 2015 Treading Across Lines 249 of the relation between performers. The political idealism of collaborative narrative maintains the continual process of reflection. and ultimately to the stage. we attempt an argument that renders the ‘‘critical performance paradigm’’ redundant and ‘‘interpretive performance paradigm’’ dangerous. our ‘‘detour through theory’’ (Grossberg 138. Our experience and reflection demonstrate the process and potentials of collaborative personal narrative and how differing performance contexts and audiences contributed to and problematized the performance of a coalitional subject. and toward a coalitional subjectivity. both between performers in relation and between performers and audiences.’’ While this turn of phrase has been mobilized and often insisted on in performance studies literature. a politics of relation resituates subjectivity from the social location of individuals to the relations between them (Carrillo Rowe. Our marginal. an analysis of the performance text. Lines in the Sand. With an interest in performance as a critical project. our performance. queer subjectivities motivate our urgency around performative possibilities. loving friends. relations shift and potentially open up spaces for alternate imaginaries as we dialogue across points that divide and bring us together. intention and potentiality of performance. to the politics of our relations. In generating collaborative personal narratives. imaginaries. Talking About Performance We never meant to perform. underscoring the stories and the histories that bring them together and pull them apart in their relations with one another. Throughout the remainder of this paper.

and sometimes parallel ways that we experience them. politics. but as the messy.Downloaded by [5. yet often divisive. politically positioned through and against heterosexist/homophobic fundamentalist Christian nationalist rhetoric.1 We find connections as QUEER-CHICANA and QUEER-JEW-GUY. and our relations. we ground ourselves in this historical moment of Mexican immigration as the subtext of a critical performance project. and discussions. Goltz silent and screaming audiencers of one another*bring our differential intersubjectivities together over and across the boundaries of identity politics. intersecting our daily lives. declarations of identity. our bodies stand and our stories dialogue with and through one another in an effort to materialize a coalitional subjectivity. commitment. In other moments we collide against and retreat from one another as BROWN-DYKE-GIRL and WHITE-JEW-GAY-GUY. We reflect the politics of telling and listening not as discrete or polite endeavors. Throughout the performance. Through these experiences and reflections. The complexity of our relations to one another and to these issues brings us together and pulls us apart. we hold desire. distant. in and out of the classroom.217] at 11:05 02 February 2015 250 K. and space. and where do you stand in relation to. privilege. our identities. Grounded in a politic of queer love and intimacy.239. Pe´rez & D. Collaborative personal narrative begins with listening and telling. and with one another. as our differently situated raced and classed locations and mobilities come to the fore. and a trust that mirrors standing naked in front of each other. examining how discourses produce/ constrain our bodies. As the performance text for Lines in the Sand is both produced by . our narratives.127. However disparate our connections to the lived experience of immigrants. bringing us to other. we find ourselves aligned as CRITICAL-SCHOLAR-MAN and CRITICAL-SCHOLAR-WOMAN. we move back and forth between mediated/cultural discourses and our own personal narratives. we live in a border state where immigration rhetoric circulates fiercely from multiple standpoints. around university and city spaces. At times. WHITE-JEW-GAY-GUY’s Midwestern origins brought him to the Southwest with little connection to immigrant or Mexican American experiences. despite the fear. our resistances. We mark ourselves in these politicized positions to emphasize the important. our queer alignment grounds our search for a politicized ‘‘us. nor collapse or erase the different ways we inhabit history. an US. whose assimilated family is ambivalent about its ancestry. Our identities are sutured to bodies that move through the world (and our personal discussions) differently. Still. hesitating and exposing shames. We cannot ever divorce ourselves completely from these strategic and stifling identities. suspicious. invoking and contesting differing histories. and significations. through a collaborative personal narrative. the construction and audiencing of personal narratives. hopes.’’ connection along the lines of queer. the issue of Mexican immigration? BROWN-DYKE-GIRL is a second generation bi-racial Mexican American. B. Flesh to flesh. resentments and biases. with our families. race. and gender politics. encounters. vulnerability. less comfortable questions: How do you feel about. tension. Our bodies glare out at us under abstract theories about performance. circular. We begin as WHITE-JEW-GAY-GUY and BROWN-DYKE-GIRL. coupled with critical academic and social justice imperatives.

confused as to where she is and why she is there. and masculine linear temporal efficiency in engaging complexity is juxtaposed against BROWN-DYKE-GIRL’s suspicion and frustrations of being interpellated into the white. as if pushed from stage right. BROWN-DYKE-GIRL: I feel more and more like I’m living in a police state. Check out a library book. but he cuts her of. she blames mediated representations.239. the video projects mediated depictions of brown bodies crossing the desert. WHITE-JEW-GAY-GUY: Filled with seedy characters that keep me up at night. BROWN-DYKE-GIRL: Like I’m being watched when I close the door of my classroom. we interrupt our own narration to further flush out the implications of collaborative narrative. A projection screen hovers above. BROWN-DYKE-GIRL’s attempts to answer through personal experience are interrupted aggressively by WHITE-JEW-GAYGUY’s ticking clock. audiencing. telling her she has lost the game. the next section of the essay uses the written text to highlight moments of narrating. the performers unroll spools of red ribbon. . WHITE-JEW-GAY-GUY. struts onstage quickly and confidently. BROWN-DYKE-GIRL’s body is thrust onto stage. When I search the internet. send an email. segmenting the audience into sections. Kiss my girlfriend in public. She moves center.217] at 11:05 02 February 2015 Collaborative Narrative: Performing US A table and two chairs are downstage center. and in various places of detention. also in black pants and t-shirt.127. WHITE-JEW-GAY-GUY: It makes the walls in my condo feel less secure. A prerecorded voiceover plays: WHITE-JEW-GAY-GUY: The media coverage of immigration scares me. and addresses the audience as game show host. Downloaded by [5. Her inability to answer swiftly is met with a ‘‘BOOO’’ and WHITE-JEW-GAY-GUY urges the audience to taunt her. BROWN-DYKE-GIRL: Media coverage of immigration scares me too.Treading Across Lines 251 and a demonstration of collaborative personal narrative. cautious. masculine rationality of academe. throws one arm around BROWN-DYKE-GIRL. and interrupting experience. This introduction underscores our process. the neighborhood I live in darker.’’ the performers turn from one another and move to the downstage table. pulled tight across chests. As red-ribbon streams cut the audience into sections. Flustered. privileged mobility and audience engagement. He grills BROWN-DYKE-GIRL for her position on Mexican immigration issues. wearing black pants and t-shirt. as WHITE-JEWGAY-GUY’s familiarity with the stage. placed under arrest. As we move through the chronology of the text. Scene 2 (In its Entirety) Pulled from under the table. Following a patronizing ‘‘awwww. marking crisscrossed barriers between audience members and the audience/stage. more dangerous.

Scene 3 opens with BROWN-DYKE-GIRL and WHITE-JEW-GAY-GUY wearing binoculars. Pe´rez & D. and red ribbon materialize the initial process of collaborative narrative and reflect the difficulties of difference and understanding inherent in a coalitional and alliance project. moving along the perimeters. running through my streets.239. BROWN-DYKE-GIRL stops at the far end of stage right and WHITE-JEW-GAY-GUY mirrors her position on stage left. narratives. WHITE-JEW-GAY-GUY: Those people who are changing our way of life and disrespecting the social contracts we have come to expect and defend. Goltz WHITE-JEW-GAY-GUY: I know it’s a scare tactic. ‘‘How do you feel about the issue of Mexican immigration?’’ They represent tangled webs of personal experiences and identity categories of BROWN-DYKE-GIRL [living in and inheriting fear. sign petitions. WHITE-JEW-GAY-GUY: Those people. threats to white spatial and legislative privilege. fence building. BROWN-DYKE-GIRL: Congress scares me. WHITE-JEW-GAY-GUY: Piling one after another into churches and voting booths to protect the sanctity of their God-fearing heterosexual bore-fest. the images. running full speed. Legislation scares me. nation and religion. perceiving surveillance] and WHITE-JEW-GAY-GUY [inheriting a fear of immigrants from the South.127. fundamental God-fearing Christians trying to run this country scare me. The right wing.217] at 11:05 02 February 2015 BROWN-DYKE-GIRL: The ones that brainwash little children into their army for God. and fear of a growing fundamentalist Christian heterosexist population]. side stepping to keep each other visible at all times. class. Their bodies cross downstage center. Conversion. Eyes locked in suspicious gazes. Together. Back and forth in six interrupting segments. The voiceover and mediated images co-constitute our initial responses to our inceptive question to one another. gender. and vote for legislation to keep those people out. each performer narrates childhood experiences with race. working toward opposite corners. gun toting. BROWN-DYKE-GIRL: I see thousands upon thousands of white breeders procreating like rabbits. WHITE-JEW-GAY-GUY: I think of thousands and thousands of bodies. Downloaded by [5. BROWN-DYKE-GIRL: Immigrants don’t scare me. Cortez. the queer object of threat/fear.252 K. Christianity. piling over the border. The end of one narrative . BROWN-DYKE-GIRL: Protecting themselves from the likes of me. slightly crouched. B. WHITE-JEW-GAY-GUY: I know it’s supposed to make me feel unsafe*to make me want to take up arms. The red ribbon border interpellates the audience into our discussions as we distance ourselves from the audience and create divisions within audience sections. BROWN-DYKE-GIRL: So they can continue the colonial mission that’s been carried out from the time of Columbus.

Now some of these walls are problematic.2 Fuck those assholes. He would drive into our neighborhood during the day. because if there is one thing that drives me up a wall. I’m just gonna say it and then deal with the repercussions.’’ As one speaks. as each seeks to engage the audience in ‘‘my story. or the Christians who like to get high.’’ ‘‘I forgive you brother. there’s one thing about North Shore Chicago I miss. And people stared. as much as suburbia is a nightmare on everyone’s street. But it wasn’t a big school and kids are cruel. we struggle through questions of how to negotiate. Mr. and I suspect that if his car lingered past sundown. as our recounting is always strategic and. and it was WONDERFUL! Wonderful. Seeing others seeing us. while kneeling.’’ ‘‘peace be with you’’ Christians. and slippery site (Carrillo Rowe. as Deerfield was blindingly blond peach fuzz. Christians were a very small minority.127. I played by myself a lot. I had the luxury of growing up in a world where there were walls in every direction. I knew one black man. Recess was worse. Mondays were about as fun as Sundays. Brown. difference. There was one JapaneseAmerican in my elementary school and one African American.217] at 11:05 02 February 2015 blends with the other.’’ ‘‘God bless. He got excommunicated. There were other walls. But I got it. WHITE-JEW-GAY-GUY: I have to say.’ ‘Go back to Mexico. Not the ‘‘do as Christ does. receive and evaluate those texts (Gingrich-Philbrook). I graduated from high school and stopped going to church. What I hated was the getting there. The re-telling is grounded in an . ‘‘Be Longing’’) and. both of whom were adopted.’ I didn’t always understand it. itself. He was raised Catholic. inflammatory. Whispered. My dad stopped going. hate the sin. ‘‘Shifting’’). or. Every Monday at parochial school we would stand up and confess whether we had gone to church the day before. the neighborhood watch (which was like the mafia) would have cops on his ass quicker than my father could pick up a quarter. situated in discourse (Langellier and Peterson. When we went to church it was without our dad. And I never told anyone. ‘Illegal alien. in personal narrative performance. BROWN-DYKE-GIRL: The thin walls that separated the apartments were nothing like the walls I put up when we drove to town in our orange station wagon with no bumper for school and church. These are WHITE. I have it. marking our point of entry into the collaborative process. I didn’t like getting up on Sunday for church. lying belly-down and standing.‘‘Two’’). inching closer. Fuckers! Personal narrative is always recounted from a perspective. a re-presentation of a past experience and a recreation of self (Langellier. hearing them whisper. I’m not talking about them. the ‘‘love the sinner. beat-up VW Rabbit. experience is a contentious.Treading Across Lines 253 Downloaded by [5. However. In Deerfield. the before and after. White Jews. The staging of suspicion. the other gazes upon the speaker through binoculars. it’s Christians. Before they got married my mom converted to Catholicism and after they were married they became Lutheran but my dad was never that into it. blue vein visible. It’s a bias. It was humiliating. Stage whispered. ass white. in his little orange. Whether the representation is ‘‘truthful’’ is less of a concern than the rhetorical and relational force of the narrative. I’m talking about the ‘‘burn in hell faggot’’ kind of Christians. and distance is juxtaposed with the process of listening and telling personal experience. These aren’t the walls I liked. except for me because somehow my child-molesting is okay in god’s eyes’’ kind of Christians. I’m dealing with it.239. (that was his name) who cleaned our house once a week.

colonial legacies. together in collaborative narrative they appeal to one another. narratives are generated through telling and listening. and then to the audience.239. resists and heals through grappling with history and speaking into it (Bonin-Rodriguez. But I got it]. ‘‘Story’’). L. While politics of space limit his childhood interactions with Christians and people of color. and the politics of the academic stage we perform on for one another. the hyper-rationality. Pe´ rez).Downloaded by [5.’ I didn’t always understand it. we retreat. We discover the constrictive taboos in this collaborative space are less about cultural racism or homophobia than about the ways they collide against the authority.’ ‘Go back to Mexico. her narrative speaks into what many Mexican Americans mark as the loss of those who inherit assimilation. Pe´rez & D. Following these narrations. Rather than establish accounts of the past. and class. B. and distance from an ancestral ‘‘homeland’’ (Calafell. not entirely seamlessly. masculine. sexuality. and simultaneously appeal for audience attention.217] at 11:05 02 February 2015 254 K. While each narrative stands ‘‘on its own’’ and breaks with traditions of not speaking about these things. being Jewish and gay propel him out. in a collaborative narrative. for specific reasons. her narrative accomplishes beyond the self. Goltz agency that strategically positions the narrator in a particular way and orders their relations through the telling and retelling (Langellier and Peterson. Jewish ancestry and identity coupled with unmarked queer desires and identifications place him in opposition to hetero/normative discourses. While she may have experienced the pain and vulnerability of rejection in the schoolyard. or inhibits. WHITE-JEW-GAY-GUY’s narrative places his body between intersections of whiteness. into our academic personas to find how they might weigh in on ‘‘the issue. she resists the pejorative casting of her body and recuperates her loss in a decolonial gesture (Go´ mez-Pen˜ a. Although her body passes as white. She both allows for identification and belonging with others who occupy similar locations and places herself in opposition to whiteness. Pe´ rez-Torres). Choosing to perform her narrative publicly. like others. our relations and identities. even as we listen to one another. Although master narratives immediately produce the contours of his white. Our strategies and desires emerge through our narratives and place us in suspicious stances toward one another. the narrative force remains focused on the present and how the situated telling participates in. but in reflexive parody.’’ .’’ she positions herself as an assimilated Mexican American subject with gendered and lower classed dimensions [‘Illegal alien. she is discursively and bodily marked as different and a non-white racialized subject. due to the politics of her relation as a daughter to a brown Mexican American father with a Mexican surname in a German Lutheran town. In collaborative personal narrative.127. While she. No one narrative is privileged over the other and the dialogues among narratives highlight the in/stability and construction of narrative representations of experience. and middle-class body within normative belongings. That her passing body benefits from white privilege is a personal and relational point of tension. Pe´ rez). L. religion. When BROWN-DYKE-GIRL speaks the story of ‘‘my body.

stylized movements from each of our pasts. yawn. ‘‘Critical scholar’’ transitions into scene 5. ballet. . dehumanizing them while positioning the assumed white. embracing and retreating. we must practice methodological reflexivity. and move downstage. CRITICAL-SCHOLAR-MAN: As critical scholars. we sing tunes of social justice with deceptive ease. yet simultaneously call out the ways these ideas are sometimes produced in distance. erasing the politics of relation between scholars and the bodies from which and about whom they theorize. Parodying academic performance. We welcome the other to play within our imaginations. unhealthy. Each wears a pair of black reading glasses. and race. My utopia has tofu and spareribs. Hold ourselves accountable to a community of scholars and to the lives we represent and speak on behalf of. gender. removed from. nod. No womanhating fags who cringe at pussy and no pasty pudgy vegan lesbians who snarl at the hint of a hamburger.239. sitting with erect spines. upstaging. peer over glasses pushed down on noses. yet are always aware of the temporal and limited ways that we can fully embrace the other. ballroom and other stylized moves. We move back and forth with the other. pulling their bodies in tightly toward one another. a rant in which ANGRY-PRAGMATICGUY rejects postmodern and poststructuralist theories. Particularly in this instance. which called our scholarly collaboration to the stage. we must contemplate the intersectional operations of class. Our parody is a means to reflexively engage critical scholarship in our discussion of Mexican immigration. male American in a chair of superiority.127. dancing alongside. middle-class. this absence of body. the complexity of our own experiences. and without self-discipline. turn away from one another. impulses. straight. inviting the audience to ‘‘fuck deconstruction’’ in favor of a ‘‘good old fashioned binary. as race and class are dangerously conflated to evoke a sense of loss of too many hands in the American cookie jar. Our positions were somehow uncomplicated by. Early in our process. ’cause they both taste good. The next scene. they nod with feigned interest. and stare at their own and each other’s navels.Treading Across Lines 255 Scene 4 WHITE-JEW-GAY-GUY and BROWN-DYKE-GIRL shrug their shoulders. Scene 6 (In its Entirety) QUEER-CHICANA: My queer utopia has no gays and no lesbians. the ideas and political positions we firmly hold. we found ourselves performing for one another. as well as for our own selves. Downloaded by [5. CRITICAL-SCHOLAR-WOMAN: As critical scholars.’’ The two scenes tease out tensions between abstract theories and political mobilization.217] at 11:05 02 February 2015 CRITICAL-SCHOLAR-MAN: As a critical scholar I believe that the mediated images we consume present Mexican Immigrants as unwhole. uncivilized. ‘‘Queer Utopia. Casting ourselves as authoritative critical scholars. It was this distance. desires and fears. thoughts. the hora. These include disco.’’ is a choreographed dance number wherein each performer interpellates the other into his/her imaginary through embodying synchronized.

Loss. yanking her dreadlocks into pony tails. atheists.’’ The conclusion of her monologue. pot-smoking Christians. so I can’t claim it as a loss. fundamentalist Christians are really cool. BROWN-DYKE-GIRL. Or make a new one! A small suburb filled with Jews. Loss. but the . third world women of color. let me ask you about WWII. keep the assholes out and let us live our lives. ’cause at least I have the option of being narrow and drawing lines in the sand that don’t cut me immediately in half. and red lipstick. below. Scene 8 WHITE-JEW-GAY-GUY dresses in hockey gear. It wasn’t my world. postcolonial and cultural theory. on a stool. Aww shit. feminist. but am aware of the wrong things doesn’t mean anger and fear won’t take over. holding a hockey stick. I do. There will be spirituality. of her ‘‘loss. as his final question and costumed remnants from the previous scene fuel the tensions of scene 8. BROWN-DYKE-GIRL. staring blankly. The video projects images that narrate BROWNBIRACIAL-GIRL: Mexican food. . and her cutting up and weaving together Mexican and American flags. Loss of identity. And I know it’s not right. they move through a sequence of gendered actions. Goltz Downloaded by [5. . transitions into scene 8. and there will be dancing. . Loss of culture. must want to slap my white cranky ass. and people of all religions and racial backgrounds. rouge. BROWN-BIRACIAL-GIRL: .239. I sometimes wish I could go back. WHITE-JEW-GAY-GUY: Just because I know I don’t know the right thing. but some of those right-wing. WHITE-COLONIZER-GUY: Is it yours to lose? Her vacant stare of passive assimilation and his aggressive ‘‘makeover’’ persona are dropped as they make eye contact. especially the lesbians and dykes of color. it wasn’t my family. the Holocaust*history?!? WHITE-JEW-GAY-GUY: I wasn’t raised orthodox. It was never mine! Yes. I believe in coalition. B. My stories. now awkwardly painted up in cheerleading attire. I know it. . there will be all races. If this gets you off you may do so in private or in the various reading groups in my utopia . Throw up four walls. I’m Jewish. we refocus upon the tensions and collisions in the politics of our relations. and smearing her face with mascara. Sometimes. .256 K. And some of those stupid fucking assholes are so damn cute! Having imagined our utopias with and through one another and our embodied gestures to our pasts. And the lesbians. Her voiceover narrates the story of her family.217] at 11:05 02 February 2015 And you can eat what you want . . but most coalitions don’t believe in me (awww). Loss of color. QUEER-JEW-GUY: When I think back to suburban childhood.127. Loss. Starbuck’s cups. Loss of language. Throughout this scene. Pe´rez & D. who are all just Tinky-Winky queer. but sometimes I just don’t care. WHITE-COLONIZER-GUY aggressively dresses her in a cheerleading outfit. There will be mandatory reading of queer. And while we’re on the subject. My loss. glares furiously into WHITE-JEW-GAY-GUY’s eyes. Scene 7 begins with BROWN-BIRACIAL-GIRL sitting passively. She cheerleads and he shoots slap shots and performs aggressive hockey exercises. Loss of history.

and to do that seems dangerous. and the garden of Eden. and engages in a tug-of-war. BROWN-DYKE-GIRL steps on his back. While WHITE-JEW-GAY-GUY does pushups. I don’t know how to get me out of the way. I’m a part of the culture of ‘‘Sue. pinning him to the floor. releasing it to BROWNDYKE-GIRL. I want to do something.217] at 11:05 02 February 2015 WHITE-JEW-GAY-GUY: Fine. WHITE-JEW-GAY-GUY: I want control in a world where predictability has faded away. I want to talk to someone else. WHITE-JEW-GAY-GUY comes at BROWN-DYKE-GIRL with hockey stick. but by that logic. They face one another. It’s like we’re mourning the fucking pterodactyls! BROWN-DYKE-GIRL: It’s just about you and the now and your experience? WHITE-JEW-GAY-GUY: Why won’t you just tell me my anger towards Christians and my conflicted position on immigration is fucked up and problematic? BROWN-DYKE-GIRL: Do you not feel any sense of identification? WHITE-JEW-GAY-GUY: I love that you hid your Starbuck’s cups in your car before attending the immigration march.127. .Treading Across Lines 257 Holocaust is no more mine than anyone else’s. yet you hide or downplay all the things you were raised with and around? BROWN-DYKE-GIRL: Because it makes sense of all the shit I was raised around and in! Downloaded by [5. I’m sick of talking. BROWN-DYKE-GIRL: So this is about honesty? WHITE-JEW-GAY-GUY: Maybe I’m just super-white and I take care of myself first.239. I want to hang out somewhere else. That makes sense to me. Is it not yours? Do you not feel a loss? Do you not feel any sense of connection? WHITE-JEW-GAY-GUY: Why are you so invested in claiming your Mexican heritage. BROWN-DYKE-GIRL: I love that you bitch and moan about fucking cat litter and the neighbor’s kids.’’ BROWN-DYKE-GIRL. It’s honest. but Poland. BROWN-DYKE-GIRL: How is it that you got to own property? Why did you choose to live there? Why can’t you go somewhere else? BROWN-DYKE-GIRL throws down pompoms. and Russia. WHITE-JEW-GAY-GUY angrily pushes the stick forward. BROWN-DYKE-GIRL: I believe in coalition but I also experience the gap between theory and practice. I’m Jewish from my mother. and how as a property owner people should have more respect than that. I’ve not only lost orthodox Judaism. WHITE-JEW-GAY-GUY: The contract I signed growing up is rendered meaningless.

the hockey player fights with the cheerleader as pompoms and the hockey stick become literal and symbolic weapons between us. and if some borders will become less permanent and some will remain fixed. looking down at him. and yet. Becoming fluent in one another’s histories is neither smooth nor comfortable. struggling across lines of difference we locate and sit with the gaps between our worlds. and difference.127. The hockey stick becomes a wall they both cautiously peer over. BROWN-DYKE-GIRL: What about a sense of longing for connection in a life that didn’t make any sense until I got theory? Do I have to be completely interpellated into your spiritual framework and deny any sense of ancestry? Downloaded by [5. I’m supposed to feel a loss once those lines are crossed. We embody these tensions in performance by morphing into gross exaggerations of our past experiences. Collaborative personal narrative shifts from the self in discourse and history. Goltz WHITE-JEW-GAY-GUY: I’d like to believe in coalition building. Continuing his exercises.’’ the feared. The entire discourse cuts us in half.’’ but who the fuck are you to teach me? Standing over him. That’s my privilege. In the translation of this performance to the page. Yes. There is a loss when I want so badly to be 100% against a corrupt and dehumanizing campaign. WHITE-JEW-GAY-GUY yanks his stick back and lowers to his knees. as so many of us are forced into this position of ‘‘the enemy. Our process that begins with uninterrupted narration of self quickly moves into spaces of interrogation and questioning of those narrations and how each positions him/herself in them. Talking. limiting. into a fight we never even knew existed. but I don’t. American imperialism . BROWN-DYKE-GIRL grabs the hockey stick and pulls it against his neck. we find ourselves positioned as ‘‘American’’ as if my rights are suddenly intact.’’ They aren’t my children! The lines are drawn. Pe´rez & D. Yet. I’m so goddamn sick of being reduced to a Caucasian penis. our movement towards the enactment of a coalitional subjectivity is embodied through a sequence of sculptural tableaux that reference cultural historical moments of nationalist discourse and response: whiteness and complicity [American Gothic]. A shift in their bodies softens the tension after a moment. The stick hovers in tension at WHITE-JEW-GAY-GUY’s throat. BROWN-DYKE-GIRL moves behind him. to protect it. and we become cast. a part of me can’t help but wonder if I’ll ever be an American with rights. often without our approval. I’m better served by the logic of ‘‘it’s the right thing to do. there is ‘‘something to be learned in that.217] at 11:05 02 February 2015 WHITE-JEW-GAY-GUY: In some ways I don’t ever have to put myself in someone else’s shoes.239. SELF-REFLEXIVE-AMERICAN-GUY: We’re all cut in half. and shifting identities to ourselves to reflect these exaggerations. B. my golf course is under siege. yelling. to the selves and the politics of our relation. in the next discussion. and although I speak actively against this campaign. the game begins to hold it into place. and my only concern is the protection of ‘‘our children. and I do. Once the line is drawn.258 K. love. we assign essentialist. In the next scene. We challenge and embrace these tensions in this slippery politicized space of coalition*a stance that navigates the ongoing negotiation of critique. because it is’’ and leave it at that.

In the final two scenes we cross the lines that separate us from one another and the lines between our bodies and discourses. 2001]. and believe that there is a correct answer that is clearly marked off from all the wrong ones.) MIDDLE-CLASS-GUY: I’m supposed to fear lower class peoples*believe that their presence in my world makes my world less valuable. kidnapped. cutting and gathering the red ribbons that cordon off the audience from the performers. When they speak they could be speaking about me. will do my dirty work. . I don’t fit the model of the new American university.217] at 11:05 02 February 2015 WHITE-AMERICAN-GUY: I’m supposed to fear Mexican immigrants*somehow believe I will lose something by their humane treatment. then removing the cheerleader and hockey player gear. Scene 10 (American Gothic.) PARANOID-GUY: I’m supposed to fear the daily permeability of our borders. The following text is a voiceover that plays as we move through the space. they’re brown.) NATIONALIST-GUY: I’m supposed to fear my own humanity*believing that only a conservative agenda will be honest about what needs to be done. Especially men with dark skin who are the real predators of women like me. cultural revolution and resistance [Kent State shooting]. (September 11.Treading Across Lines 259 [planting the flag at Iwo Jima]. With the heat of the tensions and differences of the previous scene still dripping from our bodies and shortening our breath. There are all kinds of dangers known and unknown lurking all around me. I know my government is there to protect me. ASSIMILATED-BROWN-GIRL: I know I’m supposed to fear immigrants. to tell me what is good for me. Why can’t they just speak English? (Planting the US flag at Iwo Jima. By men. PARANOID-GIRL: I know I’m supposed to fear the sound of my own voice. feel a sense of entitlement to judge on this issue. People are getting fired for saying some of the things that I say on a daily basis in my classroom as a student and a teacher. and fear that marks another wave of anti-immigrant racism and border securing [September 11. NATIONALIST-GIRL: I know I’m supposed to fear as a citizen. our bodies.) Downloaded by [5. (Kent State shooting. and I don’t speak the best Spanish. RACIST-GIRL: I know I’m supposed to fear when I walk down the street. while my weakened liberal consciousness is paralyzed with hollow empathy. I’m white. who I am and when it’s for my own good.127. less special. will act efficiently. and overall gazed at.239. 2001. less pristine. marked with difference. watching the first plane. move together in politicized critique. As a woman I could be raped.

B. and binoculars with hands clasped we gaze at the things that have marked us. nor the entitlement to exclude? Downloaded by [5.239. Standing together in front of the pile of clothes. We move through these scenarios in and against the text of our collaborative personal narrative to eventually strip ourselves down to our matching black t-shirts and pants. temporal. what it could be. US: Feeling vulnerable. Exposed. without buying into illusions that we own land? US: What would happen if your identity dissolved? US: What would happen if you had no passport. unfixed. Naked. so disappointing? US: Why are we so invested in protecting something so flawed.260 K. Shirt pulled off. Face these fears head on and muster faith in humanity even when there’s no logical or rational reason to believe in it. as we stand before the pile of our unmaking. and unstable? US: If the walls are an illusion. condos. How might we act or expect differently? Kimberlee: What would happen if the spotlight was on you? US: What happens when we stop trying to violently protect space from being what it is. what potentials there are? US: What would happen if you engaged in that reality? US: Maybe the only way through this is the lesson in Nightmare on Elm Street. a place where we are entitled to nothing. what happens if we stand on them.217] at 11:05 02 February 2015 US: What would happen if you traveled with a stranger? Dusty: What if the brick and wood fences dividing homes. without even considering how it might change. Pe´rez & D. . and apartments were to fall down and the lines of property were to blur? US: What happens when empathy stops being a choice and starts being our map? US: What would happen if we looked at historiography instead of history? US: What happens when we stop thinking we are entitled to our map? US: What would happen if your narrative was exposed? US: What if we adopted a traveler’s philosophy each day. ribbon. Goltz Kimberlee: What would happen if your mobility was limited by only your imagination? Dusty: What if we spent our entire life traveling without declaring a space as our home. but smile at those who pass us by. and continually walk back and forth through them? What might happen? US: What would happen if coalition building wasn’t so scary. if you didn’t need one? US: What if we walked around each day with the humility that we were in a foreign place. Look Freddy in the face and tell him he’s shit. dance around them.127. without the arrogant assumption of belonging. Fear and reality of traveling at this moment.

if we aren’t so deeply disturbed and conflicted and forced to dig though all the selfishness . too scary. . Dusty: Then you. Kimberlee: . . . building walls. As much as that world is the very cause of so much violence. are one of those stupid fucking assholes. . and privilege we assume . we’re never one thing. . we’re never one thing . Dusty: . . fear . leaning in toward one another and collapse into one another. Now the hypocrisy of the ways my head is half in the sand most of the time eats me apart. voice. we’re never one thing. The world was easier then. Their voices overlap on the voiceover. . . the action is repeated on the other side. my hypocrisy. . too conflicted to move from that paradoxical position. Downloaded by [5. . The simplicity I felt by drawing lines. and yet I am all too comfortable with that hypocrisy at times. I miss illusions of community and family.239. Kimberlee: . I mourn this too. . our heads rest on the other’s shoulder. . and the uncomplicated threat of others. Dusty: . our arms wrapped around one another. touching and moving up the arm toward the shoulder. Kimberlee: . both warm and hesitant. we’re never one thing. . the goodness of our people. I miss simplicity. Kimberlee: . First with right and left hands. we’re never one thing. my friend. . . we are all cut in half .127. . . and it’s too complicated. as the world. which was never easy*but was allowed to seem easy*will never seem so uncomplicated again. (FADE LIGHTS) Shifting Contexts: Politics of Relations and Identity As the lights fade. Kimberlee: . . . I miss not feeling sick to death of my apathy.217] at 11:05 02 February 2015 Dusty: If you don’t feel that tearing you apart . . . . and the freedom of something not being my problem.Treading Across Lines 261 Dusty: The minute that line is laid down. . Dusty and Kimberlee intimately face one another. as I can throw my hands in the air and bury my head in the sand in a single movement. and letting soldiers I don’t know go to faraway places and fight people with no name. US: It’s no longer possible to bury our heads in the illusions of suburban life. . a righteous government. or humanity. . and nation. Bodies lift onto toes. face. exploring one another slowly through the body. . Scene 12 Lights lowered. There is silence and stillness in that embrace. Dusty: And if we aren’t. I embody and enact the problem. and country. but we are not alone as our . heads on shoulders in a final embrace. . as if meeting for the first time. .

These relations. ‘‘the ‘I’ has no story of its own that is not also the story of a relation*or a set of relations’’ (8). against. but rather maintain our attention on the ways our histories and experiences cross over. we collapse the border between the audience and ourselves and construct a narrative of our own. Between November 2006 and March 2007 we performed Lines in the Sand four times in three different places. Disidentifications). recognition. In this final section. Teatro Caliante festival. While we embrace and experience the potentiality of imagining performance as the site of community building and resistant worldmaking (Mun˜ oz.217] at 11:05 02 February 2015 262 K. we are simultaneously cautious. until applause marks the spatial and temporal boundary. ‘‘Stages’’). Dusty. Rather than collapsing difference (as we are US. rather. an academic conference. the notion of our coalitional subject in performance maintains distinctions in dialogue. breaking down.239.127. We find our collaboration has changed us*our relations*opening spaces for a coalitional subjectivity to emerge. Kimberlee. or celebratory. she explains. Space is an active component of producing subjectivity. The specificity of each performance site is important in the discussion of enacting a coalitional subject through our collaborative personal narrative. and through the politics of our relations. communicating with others. Embraced. spaces where power differentials among members sometimes override difference in favor of a unified voice. However. B. whether tense. and a university theater. maintaining the visibility of similarity and difference in productive ways. Our performances of Lines in the Sand took place at an annual experimental theatre festival. The audience ranges from performance artists to academics and local residents and the festival tends to attract audiences that espouse radical politics. The affect one experiences in live performance is difficult to transpose in writing. We wonder if we could. solicits and encourages ‘‘experimental’’ performance. what we might become (Mun˜ oz.Downloaded by [5. The spectres of historical and contemporary discourses move through spaces and inform the relations within them (Massey). our bodies come together in trust and love. it is more than the context or background of an event (Carrillo Rowe. we turn to the potentiality of coalitional subjectivity in the politics of relations with our audiences. ‘‘Stages’’). or hope and possibility. Goltz bodies fall into one another*the audience and the spatial affect determine whether we come together in tension and retreat. frustrated. and hope* produce beyond the spatio-temporal boundaries of a performance and into our lives in ways that can and should be theorized for their potentiality (Mun˜ oz. pulling our bodies apart into the post-performance haze of cleaning up. This is not just/only about us. The first of these performances. and BROWN-DYKE-GIRL simultaneously). WHITE-JEW-GAY-GUY. are and should be ecstatic in ways that take us beyond and outside our focus on ourselves. we understand that these relations are not necessarily represented as what has been but. Joseph cautions against the seductions of community. As Butler reminds us. ecstatic moments generated in performance*currents of energy that transmit belonging. Pe´rez & D. In performance. signaling an end. Still. we long to stay here. ‘‘Who’s’’). Through collaborative personal narrative we come to no conclusions or prescriptions about what a different future might look or feel like. . recognizing the heterogeneity of the collective of performer/s and audience members. Metaphorically and literally.

or rehearsed. and generative affect.Downloaded by [5. and ideological logics. mockery. and now with you. We made connections with audience members during and after the performance.239. In an ecstatic and spontaneous moment. Their collective energy coupled with their interactivity infuses us with a reciprocal spontaneity with audience.127. dear readers. It was a moment in which we might imagine the force of the performance to enact a performative utopia and temporary coalitional subjectivity. In performing our queer utopias. spurred on by the energy of one another and the crowd. holler. Some relations we sustain and others dissipate. they break from the script and share a full kiss on the mouth. seeming to take part in the celebration. blocked. the small. in our writing. Of course. urge us to peer into this and other coalitional potentialities of performance. screams ‘‘Fuck deconstruction’’ and rallies the audience into a spirited frenzy. Perhaps that is the danger and risk in any performance and subsequent discussions. he lists oppressive binary structures that work to marginalize people along racial. It is a moment of queer intimacy that interrupts the rehearsed performance*one of those unpredictable performance moments that. economic. It felt good. End of the conference drowsiness coupled with the . the ‘‘rightwing. At eight o’clock in the morning on the final day of the conference. He offers. The temporary connection we felt was very real for us. sex. we are reminded how performance presents a site where meanings are negotiated and contested. some audience members. The audience’s energized laughter to the critical scholar parody heightens the ecstatic tension as ANGRY-PRAGMATIC-GUY jumps on top of the table. At the end of QUEER-CHICANA’S utopia. The audience is playful and generous. Discrete moments are experienced and imagined and then moved forward in ways that we might never repeat. Moving from the theatre festival into an academic conference. crowded space spills over with the inviting affect of previous performers and a rowdy emcee. gender. that we will never speak to. in its spontaneity. we experience a shift in the audience dynamic. audience members disrupt the flow of the monologues with clapping. Our individual. collective. We interpret this reaction as a temporal moment where at least some audience members’ voices and affect enter into our relational politic. and relational knowledge will always be partial and limited in its understandings of that heterogeneous space. and identifications through laughter. The entire performance maintains this rousing level of give and take with the audience. she falls into QUEER-JEW-GUY’S arms in a choreographed dip. yells of support. that we might have read wrong. and scream along with ANGRY-PRAGMATICGUY. or even understand. Yet our discussions between each other. quick to participate with WHITE-JEW-GAY-GUY in booing BROWN-DYKE-GIRL. sexuality. fundamentalist Christian stupid fucking assholes/ everyone else’’ binary system as his political solution for the radical left to rally around. and with one another. intact for one night only. as our collaborative personal narrative seems to spill beyond the politics of our relations and into the coalitional subjectivity of a fully activated space. The audience and ANGRYSCHOLAR-WOMAN hoot. there were audience members that we might not have connected with. One by one. in jest. undo.217] at 11:05 02 February 2015 Treading Across Lines 263 When we take the stage. calls forth an impulse we could not have expected.

within a university theatre for two consecutive evenings. Pe´rez & D. Goltz academic framing and undertones we often locate in formal conference settings produce a different kind of performing. In this academic setting. Recall in our collaborative narrative where you see the phenotype of Kimberlee’s body reaping the privileges of whiteness*even as those privileges are harnessed in an attempt to disrupt them. Although Kimberlee’s height matches Dusty’s.’’ and ‘‘hegemony’’ work to discipline and shame us back to opposing corners of the space. and the ways in which our gendered bodies move with and against one another in the physical power differentials between men and women.’’ ‘‘woman.’’ ‘‘brown. There is no discussion of an ‘‘us. historically. fixating on relational difference. here the politics of our relations emphasize difference and opposition that complicate the intimate politics of relation that we attempt to enact through our collaborative narrative. invokes a political tension that fixes these bodies in opposition to one another. In a temporarily transformed hotel conference room with fluorescent lighting. which again did include academics. navigating the gendered and racial obstacles necessary for doing so. it is not surprising to find steadfast commitments to the labeling and enforcement of identity politics.’’ ‘‘gay. and leading us to trouble the seamlessness of actualizing coalitional subjectivity. and affectively charged brown body even though it looks white. we experience identity politics working to discipline our bodies into their expected roles. The focus tacks back and forth between the eroticization of queer bodies in queer intimacy. We felt a similar dynamic emerge at the third site of this performance. While some audience members appear to participate in our imaginary for a queer worldmaking. and the coalitional politic we seek to embody.’’ ‘‘lesbian. Within academic settings. Our collaborative narrative marks that body as a politically. In our own process. the politics of our relation and our bodies are mapped with the politics of identity. we repeatedly fall back upon and invoke them. we emerge from our performance of critical scholar parody and our final momentary embrace into academic performances.’’ Words such as ‘‘man.’’ ‘‘white.’’ yet impassioned critique of ‘‘her’’ physical relation to ‘‘him.127. B. their incompatibility to complete heteronormative coupling. Rather than a continuance of the ecstatic feelings in the theatre festival. and particularly within critical academic discussions. The politics of our relation in this site appear mired in the politics of identity.Downloaded by [5. multiple audience members in post-show discussion recuperate the politics of our relations through the identity politics assigned to each of our bodies.’’ ‘‘patriarchy. with his in dominance over hers. audiencing and feeling. our navigation through identity politics. In this setting. That brown-white body placed next to Dusty’s white-male body. performances with which our audience members (and we) are fluent. our return perhaps into the site where the force of ‘‘identity politics’’ circulate fiercely and differently than in the public sphere (Alcoff). consisting primarily of our colleagues and students.239.217] at 11:05 02 February 2015 264 K. Rather. Our postperformance communications gloss over Mexican immigration. in discussions there is an emphasis on her in opposition to him. actively working against and erasing the coalitional subjectivity we attempt to enact. . the discussions we engage in continually fixate and return to the tensions and concerns surrounding the positioning of our bodies. we are told by some audience members.

Within this tension. hesitations. At times we fail to speak what the other desires in that moment. at the close. This potential. Now. As we gesture beyond our collaborative personal narrative into our performance of queer imaginaries. however. in discrete moments in dialogue with individuals. as unique audience positionalities will always generate unintended departures (Alexander)? However. what if we stayed in our embrace. as audience members voice their own suspicions. aware this physical distance mirrors our physical separation at the top of the performance.217] at 11:05 02 February 2015 Treading Across Lines 265 even as we seek to work through them. is contingent upon a process of trust. our relations feel honored and celebrated. in that place of politics. How could we expect less from our audiences. and messiness that defines coalitional work. we trust that these lines are temporal. and pleasure? We wonder if we could. We entered this performance/process on opposite sides of the stage. with much contest and with a deep love for one another. In the festival setting. While we know we will be pulled apart. In the enactment of a coalitional subjectivity through . we ask too much. performance emerges as a potential site to resist and extend the limitations of written scholarship through embodied practice and engagement. applause. and tensions that emerge through our coalitional gesture.239. foreign to one another. or choose to step away from one another. and process. we too struggle. Pulled apart. love. bodies enmeshed with one another? Regardless of audience. to determine the effects of this work beyond our intentions. while those same bodies are still damp from the sweat of the other. As we worked together in this process for over a year. his body and her body? We never meant to perform. Perhaps. as we ask audiences to engage our bodies in the ways we work to engage one another. but we have. we hesitate to prescribe. trust. impermanent. Walking off the stage. entering liminal spaces where we are moving together and pulling apart. We feel their pull. Which words are hers and which are his? Who is writing now. strict adherence to a politics of social location and politics of identity constrain the politics of relation we seek to potentialize through our coalitional subjectivity. while moving to uneasy locations between our bodies and our stories. as we listen to words that map the politics of our relations in line with the discourses we hope to collapse and cross. Our conception of coalitional work is nonlinear. ‘‘we are never one thing. and sometimes necessary. we feel that distance again. complicates and challenges our relations.127. In these contested spaces. ‘‘his’’ body from ‘‘her’’ body. Although we assert. and complications.Downloaded by [5. We do not let these fictions go without suspicion. audience members are quick to locate ‘‘his’’ words from ‘‘her’’ words. shifts. peering through binoculars. or lights. possibility. yet in other contexts they instigate contention. questioning. systemic critical scholarship is steeped in these very real fictions. We feel one another from across the space. into us. Constructed as BROWN-DYKE-GIRL and WHITE-JEW-GAY-GUY. wrought with tensions. and we break away from one another in disappointment.’’ rejecting the false ontological foundations of essential identities. We ask them to be silent and screaming audiencers of our stories and our bodies. uncertainty. lines are quickly erected. we realize we ask a lot of an audience in 35 minutes. we cannot help but wonder. Inviting an audience into this process. what if we stayed there.

B. Notes [1] As a textualizing strategy for this performance. how we label ourselves within the script and the discussion is continually shifting. and concerns of placing ourselves into intimate relation.’’ or emotions such as ‘‘angry’’ or ‘‘paranoid. yet without the grounding of our process. our names are always in flux. performers. always propelling us into unknowns.’’ We have made the choice of gendering each name. mirroring the ways our staged narratives and the staging . is not something that we choose. however. and queer futurity. these feelings as well. to offer clarity to the reader. we share identification through labels such as ‘‘queer. Goltz collaborative narrative we remain grounded in and committed to the politics of love that works to bring us together in relation and in performance. We look to critical performance for the necessary force to open up spaces of possibilities. off to the side. Although we are always playing variations of ourselves. is not a function of power’’ (Power 1). and maybe for some it fell somewhere in between. the staged performance forefronts differing elements of our identities. Yet the ‘‘us’’ that we experienced through creating and performing the work. the relationships of our bodies on stage remain open to interpretation and meaning making. fear. or compelling enough to inspire an audience to travel with us. While gendered (except for the sections where we speak as US). and continue to experience. For some. We experienced. In this essay. interpretations. we articulate how collaborative personal narrative potentializes a coalitional subjectivity. it seems quite clear. but also to reflect the ways several audience members report audiencing the performance (commenting on a male body next to a female body). Madison suggests that a performance that moves us towards ‘‘enlightened and involved citizenship’’ must ‘‘move to intersubjectivity relative to the audience’’ (281). and situated audiencing. The potentiality of performance holds both pain and pleasure. or in non-linear directions we may never know.239. hesitations.127. political. we are not so naı¨ve as to believe ‘‘one performance can rain down a revolution’’ yet we still hold onto the belief that ‘‘one performance can be revolutionary in enlightening citizens to the possibilities that grate against injustice’’ (280).’’ or ‘‘nationalist. Perhaps both. or did they ‘‘remain at the margins of [our] meeting?’’ (Madison 282). Grounded in the politics of these relations and our relations. both in relation to broader discourses of identity and to each other. and hesitation. as we explore yet-to-be-known relations between texts. Dusty and Kimberlee. In other moments. we take this risk. and at times we retreat to these identities. yet remain committed to the potentials of this project. Like Madison.’’ ‘‘critical scholar. the enactment of coalitional subjectivity between a BROWN-DYKE-GIRL and a WHITE-JEW-GAY-GUY remains steeped in concern. We begin the performance as BROWN-DYKE-GIRL and WHITE-JEW-GAY-GUY. and audiences through critical performative engagement. As Carrillo Rowe argues. Was our performance beautiful. Pe´rez & D.217] at 11:05 02 February 2015 266 K. What we create with audiences is no less tangible.Downloaded by [5. the ‘‘us’’ that stands in coalition before (and perhaps with) an audience as witness to each other did travel with and through one another in ways that both accentuated and calmed the fears. imaginaries. How our utopian gesture is more or less engaged or rejected remains dependant on context. ‘‘we too easily assume that whom we love is not political.

gay. NC: Duke UP. In our earliest performances. Calafell. ‘‘Be Longing: Toward a Feminist Politics of Relation. Gender. Cary Nelson and Dilip Paremeshwar Gaenkar. the unqualified label of ‘‘Christian’’ or even ‘‘Christian-stupid-fucking-asshole. Durham.’’ Text and Performance Quarterly 25. ***. MN: U of Minnesota P. in a vilified construction. Linda Martin. Soyini Madison and Judith Hamera. However. Miranda. Nationalism.2 (2005): 1546. Butler. Guillermo. the use of the category of ‘‘Christian’’ in the piece is invoked.2 (2004): 16181. New York: Routledge. Aimee. Ed.217] at 11:05 02 February 2015 [2] 267 of our bodies in relation to one another alter and forefront different facets of our negotiated identities.’’ ‘‘sinner. we have experimented with qualifying the label (ex: ‘‘right-wing homophobic Christians’’) or changed the label altogether (ex: ‘‘stupid-fucking-we-use-God. ‘‘Reflections On ‘A Dialogue with Friends: ‘‘Performing’’ the ‘‘Other’/Self’’ Oja 1995’. 2006. ) or when we critique mediated discourse (Mexican.239. Gingrich-Philbrook. ). Bernadette Marie. New York: Routledge.’’ ‘‘sodomite. Paul. 1995.’’ The Future of Performance Studies: Visions and Revisions.’’ and ‘‘dyke’’ in similar demonized ways. the Garbage Man’s Kid). VA: National Communication Association.4 (1989): 24376. ‘‘Personal Narratives: Perspectives on Theory and Research. Against the Romance of Community. Thousand Oaks.’’ Text and Performance Quarterly 19.’’ Text and Performance Quarterly 25. . immigrants. after reflecting upon this choice. Ethno-Techno: Writings on Performance. . In the times when we self-label (white.-andgender-to-justify-our-hate-assholes’’). D. etc . Judith. ‘‘Who’s ‘America’? The Politics of Rhetoric and Space in the Formation of U.4 (2005): 297314. 20306. Visible Identities: Race. ‘‘Autoethnography’s Family Values: Easy Access to Compulsive Experiences. Bonin-Rodriguez. ***. Hantzis. Lawrence. in several instances. Peterson. Minneapolis. 2006. In latter performances.Treading Across Lines Downloaded by [5. In the sections of the script where the category of ‘‘Christian’’ is not already qualified or complicated within the original text. etc.S. Power Lines: On the Subject of Feminist Alliance. Craig. 2008. A Generative Autobiographical Performance Based on Tami Spry’s Tattoo Stories. Bryant Keith. Darlene M. Within the text of Lines in the Sand. ‘‘Toward a Genealogy of the State of Cultural Studies: The Discipline of Communication and the Reception of Cultural Studies in the United States.-race. 2005.’’ Text and Performance Quarterly 20. these categories are intended to call attention to their shortcomings. female. we continually play with undifferentiated and problematic identity categories to render hyper-visible the dangers and violences they reproduce. . ‘‘Shifting Contexts in Personal Narrative Performance. . and Eric E. ***. Annandale.’’ NWSA Journal 17. Activism and Pedagogy.’’ Text and Performance Quarterly 24. we have changed the wording to ‘‘right-wing. ‘‘Skin Flint (or. New York: Fordham UP. Performativity: Two or Three Things I Know for Sure. New York: Oxford UP. Ed. 2005. Joseph. .2 (1999): 12544. Kristin M. Dailey Sheron.’’ Text and Performance Quarterly 9.’’ Radical History Review 89 (2004): 11534. 1996. . Go´ mez-Pen˜ a. Performance. ‘‘Personal Narrative. Langellier.127.’’ The Sage Handbook of Performance Studies.’’ Disciplinarity and Dissent in Cultural Studies. 2002.’’ ‘‘fag. Langellier. Carrillo Rowe.1 (2000): 97114. and the Self. J. Kristin M. fundamentalist Christians. 13147. ‘‘Pro (Re)-Claiming Loss: A Performance Pilgrimage in Search of Malintzin Tene´ pal. Giving an Account of Oneself..1 (2005): 4345. Ed. 15168. Alexander. 1998.’’ was meant to parallel and critique the ways homophobic discourse uses ‘‘gay. CA: Sage. Grossberg. ‘‘Memory’s Caretaker.’’ References Alcoff.

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