Professor Sean Metzger (Theater, Film, and Television, UC Los Angeles) | Oriental Sensitivity: Towards a Poetics of Global Studies

November 5, 2020 @ 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm
Zoom ID: 925 5728 247,

Join us via Zoom: (Zoom ID: 925 5728 2471)

“Oriental sensitivity” is a term introduced in The Chinese Atlantic: Seascapes and the Theatricality of Globalization, where it marks attention to the shifting demographics of Martinique and the activities of a tai chi club on the island. This concept, deployed with intentional irony in a monograph about what one might initially understand as Eastern cultural interactions in the West, describes a part of the research process that produced the text: in this instance, the aptitude for studying ostensibly Chinese flows in the Francophone Caribbean and also the contradictions engendered in the doing of that work. This talk extends Oriental sensitivity beyond the coordinates of the book’s case study and in relation to theories of Orientalism more broadly in order to elaborate this concept as an analytical tool for global research. Although much scholarship on Orientalism departs from the totalizing perspective given in Edward Said’s eponymous volume on the subject, this talk borrows from Said and his numerous commentators that a variant of Orientalism might be modified and mobilized as a hermeneutic for global studies.

Bio: Sean Metzger is Professor and Associate Dean for Faculty and Students in the UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television. He has published Chinese Looks: Fashion, Performance Race (2014) and The Chinese Atlantic: Seascapes and the Theatricality of Globalization (2020) both with Indiana University Press. The current coeditor of Theatre Journal, he has coedited six collections of essays and a volume of plays and authored more than 50 articles and reviews. He is the immediate past president of Performance Studies International.