Literature: performance studies; contemporary British drama
Beth Hoffmann received her Ph.D. in Performance Studies from the University of California, Berkeley (2008). Her research focuses on the aesthetics and politics of contemporary British performance, ranging from traditional drama to visually-based live art. Her areas of teaching specialization include modern and contemporary Anglo-European drama; British live art, "alternative performance," and experimental theatre; British cultural studies; and performance theory with an emphasis on intersections of textuality, performativity, and subjectivity.
Her latest book project, Acting Without Guarantees: The Politics of Form in Contemporary British Performance (2011), tracks changing conceptualizations of dramatic literature in post-1968 British performance, especially insofar as ideologies of the text and textuality served to define and politicize the practices of dramatic theatre, alternative performance, and live art relative to one another. The project begins by returning to the rhetoric of the "alternative" or experimental theatre practices in the late 1960s and 1970s, in which formal innovation became associated with political efficacy in ways that continue to influence the cultural politics of contemporary work. While this project, in line with much recent scholarship on post-war theatre historiography, works to amplify the significance of these alternative artists within more traditional, drama-based narratives, it also tests the limits of the arguments made to guarantee the radicalness of their renovated theatrical forms. Indeed, the project works more generally to test the limits of "form," especially when isolated from practices of reading and reception, to guarantee a politics. The book thus works to see "conservative" literary and "radical" alternative theatre and live art practices in a formal and ideological continuum, rather than as adamantly opposed to one another. To that end, each chapter excavates disavowed cross-fertilizations between these bifurcated histories in order to expose their complex enmeshment in a more contemporary context, with analysis of the work of dramatists and performance makers as diverse as Sarah Kane, Jatinder Verma, Forced Entertainment, and Richard DeDomenici.
"Radicalism and the Theatre in Genealogies of Live Art." Performance Research 14.1 (2009).
ENGL 325: Dimensions of Writing and Literature
ENGL 439: Postcolonial Drama
ENGL 445: Twentieth-Century English and Irish Drama
ENGL 645: Postwar British Drama