Assistant Professor Julia Walker will be presenting a paper this Friday, April 26, as part of the panel Agora to RiverFire: Landscapes Histories of the Public Realm at the annual meeting of the Society of Architectural Historians in Providence, RI.
Parades, Conventions, Rallies: Public Space and the Politics of Suffrage in New York State
In the United States, the turn of the twentieth century witnessed significant changes in the status of women in public space. Specific concern in this paper is the way in which women active in the suffrage movement in New York State made canny use of public space, using their new visibility in innovative ways specific both to their cause and to their time. By appearing en masse outside the private sphere, and by harnessing the power of new visual technologies like photography and film, these women inverted traditional regimes of surveillance and spatial control. Suffragists thus enacted what Jacques Rancière defines as “politics”—when “the natural order of domination is interrupted by the institution of a part of those who have no part.” For Rancière, politics is opposed to governance or rule, which he describes as “policing.” Instead, politics creates a state of indeterminacy that productively destabilizes authority. With its public squares, its streets and street walls, and its emphasis on community meeting places, I argue that the American city itself enabled this indeterminacy.
Drawing on work by scholars of gender and urbanism, this paper examines this new politics of public space. It also makes use of primary sources that have been discovered in conjunction with celebrations of the New York State suffrage centennial. Together with local and state organizations, architectural historians have been working to reveal this important history. Recent events include the city of Binghamton’s reenactment of its own significant suffrage parade and the landmarking of new sites on the “Suffrage Trail,” including the Centenary Methodist Church in Binghamton, where the state held its annual suffrage convention in 1913, and the Old Village Hall in the township of Lisle, where Florence Chauncey cast the first vote by a woman in New York State on January 5, 1918.
Professor Pam Smart has been selected for the 2018-2019 Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Service. This honor recognizes outstanding service to the Binghamton University community.
BU Professor Weighs in on Notre Dame Restoration
Associate Professor Andrew Walkling’s new book English Dramatick Opera, 1661–1706 has been published by Routledge. Walkling’s book is the first comprehensive examination of the distinctively English form known as “dramatick opera”, which appeared on the London stage in the mid-1670s and lasted until its displacement by Italian through-composed opera in the first decade of the eighteenth century. He argues that, while the musical elements of this form are crucial to its definition and history, the origins of the genre lie principally in a tradition of spectacular stagecraft that first manifested itself in England in the mid-1660s as part of a hitherto unidentified dramatic sub-genre to which Walkling gives the name “spectacle-tragedy”. Armed with this new understanding, the book explores a number of historical and interpretive issues, including the physical and rhetorical configurations of performative spectacle, the administrative maneuverings of the two “patent” theatre companies, the construction and deployment of the technologically advanced Dorset Garden Theatre in 1670–71, the critical response to generic, technical, and ideological developments in Restoration drama, and the shifting balance between machine spectacle and song-and-dance entertainment throughout the later decades of the seventeenth century, including in the dramatick operas of Henry Purcell. For more information, go to https://www.routledge.com/9781138696549.
Nancy Um will deliver the 2019 Stern Lecture hosted by the Newcomb Art Department at Tulane University on Monday, April 8, 2019. The title of her talk is “From Land to Water and Text to Object: Porcelain Cultures of the Eighteenth Century.” More info: https://events.tulane.edu/content/2019-stern-lecture