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This intervention considers the Medieval Latin concept of translatio, relatively well-rehearsed in literary, cultural and historical studies of the Middle Ages, but comparatively absent from performance and dance history and theory. Alternately described as translatio studii, to denote the translation or passage from one discipline to another, and translatio imperii, to denote the same from one imperial realm to another, translatio can also productively be deployed to describe disciplinary and geopolitical passage in performance studies broadly construed. More specifically, translatio enables choreographic or choreopolitical (and choreo-geopolitical) thinking-through the passage of concepts from one discursive realm to another, i.e. between “fields.” These may be taken ethnopoetically, following James Clifford, as sites of temporary residence, cultivation and passage (Routes [1997]). Translatio then suggests a kinetic moment and movement, at once the de- and reterritorialization of thought-images, a displacement and transformation of concepts, but also a meeting-point between language use, a state of perpetual transit or transitoriness and transgeography. Translatio signals the movement of concepts, but also their reculturation on exogenous terrain. Taken as a concept of motility and a mobile concept and method in the expanded fields of dance and performance studies, translatio then informs choreogeopolitical thinking about the micro-translations, the code-switchings, writers and artists (as well as artist-writers) perform everyday between “fields.” In this way, the notion of translatio may enable us to reconfigure the way we understand performance and dance – and scholarly practice more broadly – not as institutional and discursive sites but as translational events, discourses and homes or oikoi perpetually migrating. Translatio then suggests a way of rethinking disciplinary (trans-) history in performance: as a set inter-articulated re-locations.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number5
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Oct 2016


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