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Juan Manuel Aldape Muñoz

Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow/Visiting Lecturer

Overview

Juan Manuel Aldape Muñoz is a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Society for the Humanities and the Department of Performing and Media Arts. His current book project Choreotopias: Performance, State Violence, and The Near Past uncovers experimental dance and video art in twentieth-century Mexico, and how these aesthetic forms are mediated by gender, class, and race in the face of abusive power. As a Fellow, he will be expanding the theoretical framework in his book by exploring the relationship between truth, lies, and performance. Assessing how “truth” is produced, deployed, and mediated, he will deliberate not only if and how performance activates and represents truth-telling differently from print, televisual, and digital media, but also how the logics of racialization and gender are tied to who can use performance to make truth claims. Juan Manuel will be teaching seminars about the politics of movement and the fabrication of truth. He was an Andrew W. Mellon-Chancellor’s Fellow while completing his Ph.D. in performance studies from the University of California, Berkeley. In 2019, he was selected to participate in the Mellon Foundation’s Seminar for Emergent Scholars at Northwestern University. From 2011-2013, he was a fellow in the European Union’s Erasmus Mundus Program. His research has been published in performance-related anthologies. He is also an award-winning choreographer whose work has been presented internationally. He has been a resident artist for venues such as the Alfredo Zalce Contemporary Art Museum (Mexico), 5 Acre Farm (England), Zenon Dance Company (Minneapolis, US), Stanica (Serbia), and Sugar Space Arts Center (Salt Lake City, US). He is the co-director of the Festival of Latin American Contemporary Choreographers based in San Francisco. His organizational initiatives have received support from the California Arts Council and the National Association for Latino Arts and Culture. He holds an M.A. in International Performance Research from the University of Warwick (UK). 

Departments/Programs

  • Society for the Humanities
  • Performing and Media Arts

Research

As a Performing and Media Arts Fellow at Cornell University, I will add one chapter and expand my dissertation into a book proposal in preparation for a university press. I am going to flesh out Chapter 3 “Searching for the Missing: Performance and Forensics” in two important ways and utilize these changes as a springboard for a new theoretical framework. First, conducting archival research about artist Teresa Margolles, I investigate the morgue as a performative space that intersects with the racialization of bodies. Second, to strengthen the relevance of the book’s argument about the role of dance and theater in the face of State violence, the new chapter explores the relationship between truth, lies, and performance. Reassessing Michel Foucault’s thinking about how “truth” is produced, deployed, and mediated, I deliberate not only if and how performance activates and represents truth-telling differently from print, televisual, and digital media, but also how the logics of racialization and gender are tied to who can use performance to make truth claims. I will carry out archival research about artists such as Ximena Cuevas who take up the theme of truth-telling. This historical reading of performance in Mexico contributes unique insights into international debates about the value of truth in relationship to post-truth state- making and current political conditions where authoritarian-like leaders distort truths to create a sense of collective vertigo.

Courses

Spring 2021

Fall 2021