McAndless Distinguished Professor Chair to lecture on Arts-Based Methods, Archives and Futures

Lecture will unpack disparities in disabled dance history

YPSILANTI – The Eastern Michigan University College of Arts and Sciences will host a lecture on Arts-Based Methods, Archives and Futures. The lecture will feature 2022-23 McAndless Distinguished Professor Chair Petra Kuppers. Interested attendees can plan to participate at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 31, in the Student Center Ballroom. 

Petra Kuppers
Petra Kuppers

“The Arts-Based Methods, Archives and Futures lecture is specifically to show why some disabled dance artists are not part of disability history,” said Kuppers. “If disabled artists are included in some parts of dance history, it’s because their families, publicists and librarians encouraged them to be included.”

In her lecture, Kuppers will give insight into her search for disabled dance ancestors at the New York Public Library Dance Archives. She will tell how she looked for disabled and “mad” people in the archives, and “for the ways that labels like handicapped, disabled, crip, psych, and mad travel and intertwine, shift and change in library cataloging systems, in the words of people describing one another, and describing themselves.”

Kuppers will introduce audiences to several international disabled dance artists through video and images. She also will share innovative and creative methods by which contemporary artist-activists celebrate their dance ancestors and transmit their knowledge to present-day audiences through performance.
“The value of opening up our understanding of ‘archives,’ ‘history,’ and ‘knowledge’ for all of us, no matter what our heritage is, we can look to the past and re-shape it to create more accessible futures for us all,” said Kuppers.

“Kuppers is a wonderfully creative scholar whose work spans dance, creative writing, critical disability studies, feminist studies and performance,” said James Egge, professor and interim associate dean of programs in Eastern’s College of Arts and Sciences. “I look forward to hearing how she has recovered silenced voices and forgotten stories through her archival research.”

A reception at 5 p.m. will precede the lecture. Participants can attend in person or register for the Zoom webinar at American Sign Language Interpreting Services and Computer Assisted Real-time Transcription will be available for those in need.

About Petra Kuppers
Kuppers is an internationally recognized scholar, performer, and creative writer whose work is interdisciplinary and community-engaged. She is a professor of English and Women’s and Gender Studies and the Anita Gonzalez Collegiate Professor of Performance Studies and Disability Culture at the University of Michigan. She also holds appointments in Art and Design and Theatre. She is also the director of the Olimpias, an international disability performance collective. In 2021, she was the recipient of the New York Public Library’s Dance Division’s dance research fellowship, for which she created dances that bridge the archive and public performance. A leading scholar of disability performance, Kuppers has published seven monographs. Her latest book, Eco Soma: Pain and Joy in Speculative Performance Encounters (the University of Minnesota Press, 2022), brings together her scholarly interests in ecocriticism, speculative fiction and performance, community performance, and disability culture.

About Eastern Michigan University
Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 14,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Engineering and Technology; Health and Human Services; and its graduate school. National publications regularly recognize EMU for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. Visit the University’s rankings and points of pride websites to learn more. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website. To stay up to date on University news, activities and announcements, visit EMU Today.

January 25, 2023

Written by:
Brittany Mobley

Media Contact:
Brittany Mobley