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Performing Science and the Virtual

Performing Science and the Virtual

Sue-Ellen Case


This impressive book from Sue-Ellen Case looks at how science has been performed throughout history, tracing a line from nineteenth century alchemy to the twenty-first century virtual avatar.


In this bold and wide-ranging book that is written using a crossbreed of styles, we encounter a glance of Edison in his laboratory, enter the soundscape of John Cage and raid tombs with Lara Croft. Case looks at the intersection of science and performance, the academic treatment of classical plays and internet-like bytes on contemporary issues and experiments where the array of performances include:

– electronic music;

– Sun Ra, the jazz musician;

– the recursive play of tape from Samuel Beckett to Pauline Oliveros.


Performing Science and the Virtual reviews how well these performances borrow from spiritualist notions of transcendence, as well as the social codes of race, gender and economic exchange. This book will appeal to academics and graduates studying theatre and performance studies, cultural studies and philosophy.


A past editor of Theatre Journal, Distinguished Professor Sue-Ellen Case has published widely in the fields of German theater, feminism and theater, performance theory and lesbian critical theory. She has published more than 40 articles in journals such as Theatre Journal, Modern Drama, Differences and Theatre Research International, as well as in many anthologies of critical works.


Her books include “Feminism and Theatre” (1994; revised 2008 and translated into Korean, Turkish and Arabic), “The Domain-Matrix: Performing Lesbian at the End of Print Culture” (1997), “Performing Science and the Virtual” (2006), and “Feminist and Queer Performance” (2009).


Case has edited several anthologies of critical works and play texts, including “Performing Feminisms: Feminist Critical Theory and Theatre” (1990), “The Divided Home/Land: Contemporary German Women’s Plays” (1992), “Split Britches: Lesbian Practice/Feminist Performance” (1996) and several others.


With Philip Brett and Susan Leigh Foster she edited a book series for Indiana University Press entitled “Unnatural Acts: Theorizing the Performative”, which has published six titles.


She has been granted the Lifetime Achievement Award by both the American Society for Theatre Research and the Association for Theater in Higher Education. Case has served as a senior Fulbright scholar at the National University of Singapore, the Eugene Lang Professor for Social Change at Swarthmore College, and in residence at Stockholm University and the University of Warwick.


She attended the Conservatory of Music at University of the Pacific; received a B.A. and M.A. from San Francisco State University in an experimental program of uniting the Humanities; and a Ph.D. in Dramatic Arts from UC Berkeley.

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