Taylor, Diana 1950-
TAYLOR, Diana 1950-
PERSONAL: Born 1950. Education: University of the Americas, B.A., 1971; University of Aix-Marseille, certificat d'études superieures, 1972; National University of Mexico, M.A., 1974; University of Washington, Ph.D., 1981.
CAREER: New York University, New York, NY, professor of performance studies and Spanish, chair of department of performance studies, founding director of Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics, 1998—.
AWARDS, HONORS: Golden Globe Award, and Diamond Web Award, International Association of Web Masters and Designers, both 2002, both for Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics Web site; Rockefeller Foundation fellowship, 2002, 2003; ATHE Research Award in Theatre Practice and Pedagogy, 2003, for The Archive and the Repertoire: Performing Cultural Memory in the Americas; Best Book Award, New England Council of Latin American Studies; Presidential fellow, Salzburg Seminar.
Theatre of Crisis: Drama and Politics in LatinAmerica, University Press of Kentucky (Lexington, KY), 1991.
Disappearing Acts: Spectacles of Gender and Nationalism in Argentina's Dirty War, Duke University Press (Durham, NC), 1997.
The Archive and the Repertoire: Performing CulturalMemory in the Americas, Duke University Press (Durham, NC), 2003.
Contributor to books, including Information to Foreigners: Three Plays by Griselda Gambara, translated by Marguerite Feitlowitz, Northwestern University Press (Evanston, IL), 1992; Populations at Risk in America, edited by George Demko and Michael C. Jackson, Westview Press (Boulder, CO), 1995; Teatro latinoamericano de los '70, edited by Osvaldo Pellettieri, Ediciones Corregidor (Buenos Aires, Argentina), 1995; Latin-American Women Dramatists: Theatre, Texts, and Theories, edited by Catherine Larson and Margarita Vargas, Indiana University Press (Bloomington, IN), 1998; Radical Street Theatre, edited by Jan Cohen-Cruz, Routledge (London, England), 1998; The Ends of Performance, edited by Jill Lang and Peggy Phelan, New York University Press (New York, NY), 1998; Performance, Pathos, Politica de los Sexos, edited by Heidrun Adler and Kati Rottger, Vervuert (Frankfurt, Germany), 1999; Mourning Diana: Nation, Culture and the Performance of Grief, edited by Adrian Kear and Deborah Lynn Steinberg, Routledge, 1999; The Places of History: Regionalism Revisited in Latin America, edited by Dori Sommer, Duke University Press (Durham, NC), 1999; and Performance, Exílio, Fronteiras, edited by Graciela Ravetti and Márcia Arbex, Belo Horizonte UFMG (Brazil), 2002.
Also contributor to journals, including Drama Review, Theatre Journal, MLQ, Performance Arts Journal, and Latin American Theatre Review.
Fernando Arrabal: El aquitecto y el emperador de asiria y Cementerio de automóviles, Cátedra (Madrid, Spain), 1984.
(And contributor) En busca de una imagen: el arquitecto y el emperador de arisia y Cementerio de automóviles, Girol Books (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada), 1989.
(With Juan Villegas, and contributor) NegotiatingPerformance: Gender, Sexuality, and Theatricality in Latin/o America, Duke University Press (Durham, NC), 1994.
(With Annelise Orleck and Alexis Jetter, and contributor) The Politics of Motherhood: Activist Voices from Left to Right, University Press of New England (Hanover, NH), 1997.
(With Victoria Martínez) Diana Raznovich, DefiantActs: Four Plays, illustrated by Raznovich, Bucknell University Press (Lewisburg, PA), 2002.
(With Roselyn Costantino, and contributor) Holy Terrors: Latin-American Women Perform, Duke University Press (Durham, NC), 2003.
Member of editorial board, Latin American Theatre Review, 1990—; associate editor, Theatre Journal, 1999—; contributing editor, Danforth Review, 2000—, and Theatre Research International, 2000—.
SIDELIGHTS: A professor of Spanish and performance studies at New York University, Diana Taylor is especially interested in the theater as it pertains to Latin-American literature, politics, and feminism. She has published extensively on these subjects as an author and editor of scholarly books. Her first book, Theatre of Crisis: Drama and Politics in Latin America, "employ[s] recent developments in literary theory and cultural studies to reread canonical as well as less-known works of Latin-American theatre," according to Vicky Unruh in Latin American Research Review. Taylor focuses here on plays produced within the narrow time period of 1965 to 1970, a time during which the hopes of Latin America both rose with the ideals of the Cuban Revolution and fell with the proliferation of dictatorship states. She includes here the plays of Jose Triana, Emilio Carballido, Egon Wolff, Enrique Buenaventura, and Griselda Gambaro.
With these representative writers she tries to show how theater relates to cultural experience and, as Unruh related, the author "focuses on violence, specifically the violence surrounding moments of individual and collective crisis." Concluding that Taylor's is a useful resource, Unruh especially praised Theatre of Crisis as a "superbly documented" example of research.
Taylor's publications as editor have also reflected her interests in feminism and Latin-American issues in the theater. Negotiating Performance: Gender, Sexuality, and Theatricality in Latin/o America, which she co-edited and to which she also contributed, illustrates some of the difficulties in trying to categorize theater, politics, and gender issues with the label Latin—or Latino—America. The editors employ the phrase as "a spatial term used to describe people living within a certain political and material economy, rather than a fixed or essentialized zone," explained Jose Esteban Muñoz in the Danforth Review. Yet the essays contributed to the book demonstrate that the authors selected here "understand the crucial place of the border cultures within which we live, despite the fact that the concept of borders has become one of the most exhausted and overused metaphors in performance studies and critical theory." The problem of setting borders around Latino theater is demonstrated in the editors' contributions themselves, noted Muñoz, who added that "Taylor's introduction outlines and announces the way in which this collection expands the categories of Latina American politics and politics in general," while her collaborating editor Juan Villegas's essay contradicts her remarks when he challenges "most of the work that has transpired in the pages that precede his comments."
Teaming up with editor Roselyn Costantino in Holy Terrors: Latin-American Women Perform, Taylor once again discusses Latin-American theater within its cultural context. This time, she and Costantino profile fourteen female playwrights and performance artists from various countries. "What links them," Martha Gies explained in the Women's Review of Books, "is the shared sense that the writer's vocation entails a moral imperative to speak out on social issues, a sensibility more common in Latin America than here in the U.S." The dramatic works of the profiled authors protest such social ills as corrupt government, male chauvinism, and racism.
The Politics of Motherhood: Activist Voices from Left to Right, which Taylor edited with Annelise Orleck and Alexis Jetter, is atypical for Taylor because it does not involve the theater. Instead, it is a collection of over two dozen essays by various women activists and academics who share the belief that motherhood is "a basis for participation in an activist community and work for social change," according to Signs writer Linda Rennie Forcey. "Mindful of the contemporary feminist emphasis on the social construction of motherhood," Forcey continued, "the editors seek to shift the focus, showing how various women, regardless of their views on feminism or motherhood, embrace a politicized motherhood." Doris Grieser Marquit, writing in the NWSA Journal, noted that "this whole book is informed by theoretical sophistication. . . . The great virtue of this book is that it leaves us with so many important questions about theory, activism, and women's politics."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Comparative Drama, fall-winter, 2003, review of HolyTerrors: Latin-American Women Perform, p. 443.
Danforth Review, spring, 1997, Jose Esteban Muñoz, review of Negotiating Performance, p. 155.
Journal of Women's History, autumn, 1998, Caryn E. Neumann, review of The Politics of Motherhood: Activist Voices from Left to Right, p. 224.
Latin American Research Review, winter, 1993, Vicky Unruh, review of Theatre of Crisis: Drama and Politics in Latin America, p. 141; spring, 1998, Margo Milleret, review of Negotiating Performance: Gender, Sexuality, and Theatricality in Latin/o America, p. 237.
NWSA Journal, spring, 1998, Doris Grieser Marquit, review of The Politics of Motherhood, p. 162.
Signs, autumn, 1999, Linda Rennie Forcey, review of The Politics of Motherhood, p. 301.
Women's Review of Books, April, 1997, Carol Sternhell, review of The Politics of Motherhood, p. 5; May, 2004, Martha Gies, review of Holy Terrors, p. 6.*
New York University Web site,http://www.nyu.edu/fas/ (December 20, 2004), "Diana Taylor."*