Kritika Kultura, the international refereed journal of language, literary, and cultural studies of the Department of English, Ateneo de Manila University will host a lecture by Hyunjoo Ki titled “Performing Racial Conflicts.” This event will be on Jan. 29, 2016, 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., at Natividad Galang Fajardo (NGF) Conference Room, 1/f Dela Costa Hall, Ateneo de Manila University.

Ki argues that the ‘other-oriented’ acting employed in the performance of Anna Deavere Smith’s documentary-style play Fires in the Mirror compels the audience to inhabit others’ positions and critically examine racial issues. In this play, Smith performs “29 monologues of 26 characters based on the interviews that she conducted on people involved in Crown Heights Riots in 1991.”

As Ki explains, Smith’s performance “highlights the differences of Hasidic Jews and African Americans in terms of skin color, history, religion, and custom. Although her performance consists of monologues of each character, they are arranged under the similar themed sections. Accordingly, each character Smith enacts seems to engage in a conversation. Different and contrasted stories of Hasidic Jews and African Americans involved in Crown Heights Riots remain distinct from each other; however, her ‘other-oriented’ acting provides the audience with opportunities to examine the racial issues.”

“While Smith performs diverse and conflicting people, metaphorically she travels from self to others and from individuals to communities rather than identifying with individual characters. Her performance employing ‘other oriented’ acting prevents the audience from sympathizing with characters and induces them to examine the racial issues intersected with political, social and economic matters from critical perspectives. Simultaneously, while she travels from self to others, she urges the audience to put themselves in others’ positions. Then, the audience can imagine the society based on understanding and empathy.”

Hyunjoo Ki received a PhD from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in Dec. 2004. The title of her dissertation is “The Politics of Spatiality: Terrains of Postcolonial / Diasporic Asian America and Selected Asian American Plays.” In her dissertation, she examined the lived experiences of Asian Americans in Asian American plays written by Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Indian, Korean American playwrights, employing human geography, postcolonialism, and theories discussed in Asian American Studies. In 2014, she started the project “The Possibility of Filipino Literature as the Basis of Multicultural Society” with funding provided by the Korean Research Foundation. She aims to promote better understanding of Koreans on Filipino literature and culture through her project. Building her study last year on Filipino dramas, this year she will continue to research on the Filipino novels State of War by Ninotchka Rosca and Awaiting Trespass by Linda Ty Casper.