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Speaker: Alex Halligey, JIAS/NIHSS Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Chair: Firdoze Bulbulia, an independent film, media and theatre producer

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Abstract: Alex Halligey will be presenting on the content of a chapter in the forthcoming Routledge Companion to Literary Urban Studies, edited by Lieven Ameel. The chapter considers both theatre as a form of literary urbanity and its specific practice/canon in the city of Johannesburg. Drawing together the material turn in literary studies and the material, embodied nature of theatre when performed, Halligey argues for theatre as a valuable mediatory tool between literary texts written on the city and the material, embodied practices of daily city life. This is both a conceptual argument as well as a proposition for an effective literary urban studies methodology. In grounding the discussion in Johannesburg, the chapter also unpacks the need for troubling the notion of centre and peripherary in literary urban studies.

Biography: Alex Halligey is currently a postdoctoral fellow with the Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Study at the University of Johannesburg. Her research is concerned with theatre and performance as research tools and conceptual lenses frequently, but not exclusively, in relation to cities. Her monograph Participatory Theatre and the Urban Everyday: Place and Play in Johannesburg was published by Routledge in 2020 and 2021 saw the publication of a scholarly volume she co-edited with Sara Matchett on women-lead theatre organisation, The Mothertongue Project: Collaborative Conversations: Celebrating Twenty-One Years of The Mothertongue Project. She has an ongoing practice as a theatre maker with recent productions including a solo memoir piece called Unfathomable (2018-2022), directed by and co-created with Athena Mazarakis and an ensemble work called Diving (2020), directed by Clara Vaughan.

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