PMAPS Colloquium Explores the Stigma of Marginalization in Performing and Media Arts

How do immigration, marginalization, and alienation interweave into the life of a performer? Such are the enigmatic themes that Dr. Juan Manuel Aldape Muñoz, Assistant Professor in the Department of Performing and Media Arts, hopes to delve into through his colloquium taking place on September 22.

Titled “Dancing Communities of Another Kind: Performance, Intersectionality, and Violence Against Immigrant Women of Color”, the presentation is an elaborate exploration of what it means to live and perform at the margins of immigration discourse, focusing specifically on the experiences of Latine and Indigenous immigrant women. It examines the lack of awareness that individuals in the industry have of the underrepresentation of immigrant minorities, the social and financial hurdles that they must overcome, and their stories of struggle and marginalization.

The work of Dr. Aldape Muñoz is synthesized by memories from his time as collaborator in a performance project in the San Francisco Bay Area, during which he worked with an immigrant women’s group. His experiences ignited his desire to challenge popular immigrant discourse, which he believes is often framed in a masculinist, heterosexual, and Spanish-speaking perspective. Due to such a mission, Dr. Aldape Muñoz finds it more necessary than ever to avoid misrepresenting his subject communities.

“One big challenge I’ve encountered is how to appropriately address a very difficult, but necessary, topic,” said Dr. Aldape Muñoz.

Domestic violence in immigrant communities, Dr. Aldape Muñoz claimed, is a sensitive subject to discuss in such a public presentation. For this reason, many efforts were made to communicate with the individuals whose work he plans to feature in the colloquium, according to Dr. Aldape Muñoz.

The presentation not only displays the work of immigrant women in the field, but has far-reaching social, cultural, and political implications as well.

“We need to center immigrant women’s and Indigenous perspectives in the upcoming presidential election, when immigration discourse tends to garner much political attention,” said Dr. Aldape Muñoz, when asked about major messages that he hopes the audience will take away.

The other message, he continued, is the manner in which immigration status, or lack thereof, influences the freedom of involvement in performance spaces and creative processes. It is essential to demonstrate legally aware performance practices, said Dr. Aldape Muñoz.

The colloquium is organized by the Performing and Media Arts Presentation Series (PMAPS).

Inaugurated in Fall 2021, PMAPS is the latest iteration of a colloquium series within the Department of Performing and Media Arts. Its greatest vision lies in offering graduate students a space to present their work to students, faculty, and professionals of similar fields and interests. The content of its presentations ranges from media studies to dance, and such diverse nature has earned the attention of related communities both within and outside Ithaca, NY.

Moreover, PMAPS has functioned as a crucial catalyst to creative expression and career development in the Department of Performing and Media Arts. Its events provide an opportunity for individuals of all professional stages to engage in discussions of the presented work and unlock a sense of community that introduces students to a supportive network of like-minded individuals. 

“As graduate students, we want to build and practice a camaraderie through all facets of our lives,” explained Brian Sengdala, Ph.D. student in the Department of Performing and Media Arts. “PMAPS gets to be a space where we can come together intellectually as a whole department.”

The colloquium will take place on Friday, September 22 at 3:00 p.m. in the Film Forum of the Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts. The event is free and open to the public.

This event is co-sponsored by the Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, Global Cornell, Migrations, and Feminist, Gender, & Sexuality Studies.

Erin Yoon '26 is a communications assistant in the Department of Performing and Media Arts

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A photo of NAKA Dance
Scott Tsuchitani