“Indigenous Women’s Theatre in Canada: A Mechanism of Decolonization” to be given by Sarah MacKenzie
*** Due to circumstances beyond our control, Sarah MacKenzie’s talk on November 25, 2020 has been cancelled. Information on a new date for this talk will be posted here.***
Despite a recent increase in the productivity and popularity of Indigenous playwrights in Canada, most critical and academic attention has been devoted to the work of male dramatists, leaving female writers on the margins. In her recent book, Indigenous Women’s Theatre in Canada, Sarah MacKenzie suggests that colonialist misrepresentations of Indigenous women have served to perpetuate demeaning stereotypes, justifying devaluation of and violence against Indigenous women. Most significantly, however, she argues that resistant representations in Indigenous women’s dramatic writing and production work in direct opposition to such representational and manifest violence. Engaging with both literary and performance theory, MacKenzie analyzes dramatic texts by Monique Mojica, Marie Clements, and Yvette Nolan, arguing that these plays deconstruct some of the harmful ideological work performed by colonial misrepresentations of Indigenous identity and demonstrate the strength and persistence of Indigenous women, offering a space in which decolonial futurisms can be envisioned.
SARAH MACKENZIE holds a PhD and M.A. in Feminist and Gender Studies from the University of Ottawa, as well as an undergraduate degree in Humanities from Carleton University. Her masters and doctoral work examined the ways Indigenous playwrights address the colonialist legacy of violence against women as it continues to play out in contemporary North American contexts. She has taught Indigenous Studies at the University of New Brunswick, Sheridan College, and the University of Ottawa. Her academic research interests include Indigenous theatre, postcolonial feminist theory, Canadian history, and Indigenous literatures. Both her academic work and social activism are fundamentally concerned with the outmoding and dismantling of colonial hierarchies, the rebalancing of unequal power relations between Indigenous peoples and White settlers, and the eventual forging of alternative modes of relation.