E. Patrick Johnson: "From Field to Performance: Adapting Oral History and Ethnographic Field Research for the Stage"


Thursday, September 25, 6:00 p.m.
SAIC Ballroom, 112 S. Michigan Ave.

E. Patrick Johnson, PhD
Carlos Montezuma Professor of Performance Studies and African American Studies, Northwestern University

Scholar and performance artist E. Patrick Johnson has published widely in the areas of race, class and gender, and performance. He has written two award-winning books, Appropriating Blackness: Performance and the Politics of Authenticity (Duke University Press, 2003), which won the Lilla A. Heston Award and the Errol Hill Book Award as well as Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South—An Oral History (University of North Carolina University Press, 2008), which was recognized as a Stonewall Book Award Honor Book by the LGBT Round Table of the American Library Association. He is the editor of Cultural Struggles: Performance, Ethnography, Praxis by Dwight Conquergood (Michigan University Press, 2013) and co-editor (with Mae G. Henderson) of Black Queer Studies—A Critical Anthology (Duke University Press, 2005) and (with Ramon Rivera-Servera) of solo/black/woman: scripts, interviews, and essays (Northwestern University Press, 2013). In addition to his published work, Johnson is also a performing artist. His staged reading "Pouring Tea: Black Gay Men of the South Tell Their Tales" is based on his book, Sweet Tea, and has toured to over 100 college campuses from 2006 to the present. In 2009, he translated the staged reading into a full-length stage play, Sweet Tea—The Play, which was co-produced by About Face Theater and the Ellen Stone Belic Institute for the Study of Women and Gender in the Arts and Media at Columbia College, Chicago. The show premiered in April 2010 and a month run to rave reviews. He won a Black Theatre Alliance Award for Best Solo Performance for the show.

Drawing on his research on black queers of the South, Johnson will discuss how he adapted oral history narratives and field research to the stage. The lecture will also engage questions of ethics, advocacy, and aesthetics.

Co-sponsored by the Departments of Visual and Critical Studies, Art Education, and Performance.