Rehearsing for Revolution and Counterrevolution in Latin America's Cold War

Rehearsing for Revolution and Counterrevolution in Latin America's Cold War

School of Culture & Creative Arts
Date: Wednesday 22 May 2019
Time: 17:30 - 19:00
Venue: Room 208 (Hepburn Room), 7 University Gardens, Glasgow G12 8QH
Category: Academic events, Student events
Speaker: Dr Katherine Zien, McGill University

All welcome at this free, unticketed session which forms part of the Glasgow Theatre Seminar series at the School of Culture & Creative Arts. 

Spaces subject to seating capacity of venue.

After World War II, the Panama Canal Zone became a pivotal site for the US military to practice training, simulated combat, and espionage in Latin America and the Caribbean. The US military administered simulated combat in the Canal Zone, first through Caribbean Command, then Southern Command. The duration of the US military Canal Zone coincided with that of the Cold War, but this was no coincidence. This talk interprets the Cold War context of military training to reveal its performance parameters. In the Canal Zone, simulated combat primed Latin American soldiers for Cold War counterinsurgency, and US troops for jungle warfare in Vietnam. By examining the methods and theories that undergirded simulated combat - particularly realism, future scenarios, and other devices - we can understand the wide-ranging connections between theatre as a "rehearsal of revolution," as practitioner and theorist Augusto Boal famously claimed, and as a rehearsal for counterrevolution during Latin America's Cold War. 

Speaker Biography

Katherine Zien is Associate Professor in the Department of English at McGill University. Her pedagogy and research treat theatre and performance in the Americas, with emphasis on transnationalism, political economy, and frameworks of race, class, and gender. Her book 'Sovereign Acts: Performing Race, Space, and Belonging in Panama and the Canal Zone' (Rutgers UP, 2017) investigates intersections of performances with legal constructions of imperialism, race, and national sovereignty in the Panama Canal Zone during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Sovereign Acts has been awarded prizes from the Caribbean Studies Association, the Canadian Association of Latin American and Caribbean Studies, and the American Society for Theatre Research. Zien’s second project investigates intersections of militarization and theatre during Latin America’s Cold War. Additional research can be found in journals including Latin American and Caribbean Ethnic Studies, Theatre Survey, e-misférica,, Global South, Identities, Women and Performance, and Latin American Theatre Review. 

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