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A Session at the 2019 Modern Language Association Convention
Robert Jackson, Sharon P. Holland, and Shawn Salvant

“Interventions” was the organizing term for the presentations of three Baldwin scholars at the Modern Language Association Convention in Chicago in January of 2019. Baldwin’s travels and activities in spaces not traditionally associated with him, including the U.S. South and West, represent interventions of a quite literal type, while his aesthetic and critical encounters with these and other cultures, including twenty-first-century contexts of racial, and racist, affect—as in the case of Raoul Peck’s 2016 film I Am Not Your Negro—provide opportunities to reconsider his work as it contributes to new thinking about race, space, property, citizenship, and aesthetics.

James Baldwin Review
Ernest L. Gibson III

James Baldwin might be imagined as reaching his greatest level of popularity within this current decade. With the growth of social media activist movements like Black Lives Matter, which captures and catalyzes off a Baldwinian rage, and the publishing of works directly evoking Baldwin, his voice appears more pronounced between the years of 2013 and 2015. Scholars in Baldwin studies, along with strangers who were turned into witnesses of his literary oeuvre, have contributed to this renewed interest in Baldwin, or at least have been able to sharpen the significance of the phenomenon. Publications and performances highlight Baldwin’s work and how it prefigured developments in critical race and queer theories, while also demonstrating Baldwin’s critique as both prophetic and “disturbingly” contemporary. Emerging largely from Baldwin’s timelessness in social and political discourse, and from the need to conjure a figure to demystify the absurd American landscape, these interventions in Baldwin studies follow distinct trends. This essay examines the 2013–15 trends from four vantages: an examination of a return, with revision, to popular work by Baldwin; identifying Baldwin’s work as a contributor to theoretical and critical methodology; Baldwin and intertextuality or intervocality; and a new frontier in Baldwin studies.

James Baldwin Review
Isadora Duncan’s danced revolution
Dana Mills

, when her shawl got tangled in the wheel of a car and she broke her spine. Duncan’s work was always entrenched in the social conditions of her time. Her reception, I will show, was intertwined with the tensions of a woman whose existence brought the dance of the future to the present, when the present wasn’t always ready to fully comprehend her. Duncan lived her life between worlds; at the same time the main tool for intervention was her own body, thus she was never without a world. Isadora Duncan’s performance arc is an instance par excellence of sic-​sensuous and a

in Dance and politics
Martha Graham, dance and politics
Dana Mills

explain the tension between their centrality in twentieth-​century choreographic revolutions and absence within the world of political theory. Interventions in and through the female body are now taking centre stage, after years of being shifted to the wings of political philosophy. Some analyses in dance studies have focused upon Graham’s artistic response to the political events of her time. Helen Thomas quotes from an interview with Graham claiming that there was no intention on her part to choreograph dances of social or political protest (Thomas 50 50 Dance and

in Dance and politics
Open Access (free)
The early films of John Marshall and Timothy Asch
Paul Henley

mitigation that it was, after all, only the work of ‘an American kid’. However, while admitting to many other authorial interventions, he continued to reject very firmly the allegation that the entire hunt had been set up just for the camera. This was also confirmed by ≠Oma, leader of the Ju/’hoansi hunters, in an interview conducted in 1984, which features in one of Marshall's later films. Although giraffe belonged to a protected species and the Ju/’hoansi could be imprisoned for hunting them – making them understandably reluctant to talk about giraffe kills with

in Beyond observation
Open Access (free)
Films of re-enactment in the post-war period
Paul Henley

In the two ‘interpretive’ films, the authorial role of the film-maker is very evident, certainly to any viewer with a knowledge of practical film-making. But as Dunlop candidly describes in the accompanying texts, the ‘record’ films involved extensive authorial intervention as well. In reality, of the two families portrayed in the 1965 films, only the Mandjintjadara family, consisting of a senior man, Djugamarra, his three wives and their seven children, was still living the nomadic way of life shown in the films. But the film-makers had only been with them for

in Beyond observation
Open Access (free)
Dana Mills

action and our interpretation of politics and political theory more broadly. Jodi Dean’s careful examination of the Occupy movement in The Communist Horizon, in which, quite literally, bodies intervened in public spaces in order to reconsider distributive justice; Jane Bennett’s crucial intervention into the humanist and language-​driven world of political theory, Vibrant Matter; and Diana Coole and Samantha Frost’s edited collection New Materialisms opened up a vista for scholars and theorists seeking new ways to consider the body in its relationship to the physical

in Dance and politics
Gumboot dance in South Africa
Dana Mills

performances. I release the intervention illuminated in the choreography of Martha Graham into conditions in which speech was rendered impossible by economic, legal and political frameworks. Gumboot dance developed as a method of communication within systems of racial segregation in which speech was prohibited. Verbal communication was not allowed in the gold mines, nor were black South Africans allowed to enter the public sphere, hence their opinions and voices were silenced. I argue that the development of gumboot dance allowed for two parallel processes:  firstly, the

in Dance and politics
Open Access (free)
The dancer of the future dancing radical hope
Dana Mills

Eleanor’s own inscription upon history. Further, I draw my use of this text from the powerful reading of this argument in context in Rachel Holmes’s groundbreaking biography where the use of those categories is intimately related to Eleanor’s understanding of history; in which beyond the dialectical view presented by her father she sees her intervention as the next stage as ‘the sequel’ (Holmes 2014: 449). Eleanor Marx (known as ‘Tussy’) provides us with what these radical democratic critiques of Lear’s virtue ethics seek: a category of action that in its very becoming

in Dance and politics
One Billion Rising, dance and gendered violence
Dana Mills

and through which political interventions are brought into being. This chapter focuses on the connection between utilising the body as a mechanism of political intervention in the public space and interventions into the body itself. One Billion Rising is a protest movement that explicitly utilises dance to convey a political message. I move from examining the movement’s own interpretation of dance as it is communicated in words, the weak reading of political dance, to exploring the grassroots response to the movement’s verbal message, and finally I  discuss the

in Dance and politics