Tadashi Uchino is Professor of Performance Studies at the Department of Interdisciplinary Cultural Studies, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Tokyo. He received his MA in American Literature (1984) and his PhD in Performance Studies (2002), both from the University of Tokyo. His publications include The Melodramatic Revenge (1996), From Melodrama to Performance (2001), Crucible Bodies (2009) and Towards Transnational Mobility (forthcoming, 2015). Uchino has served in many Japanese academic societies in various capacities, and is currently a board member of the Society of Studies of Culture and Representation, while continuing to write performance reviews for academic as well as popular media in Japan and abroad. He was a contributing editor at TDR for 15 years (1998-2013) and is currently an editor at Dance Research Journal of Korea. He is a member of the board of directors of the Arts Council Tokyo and of the selection committee for the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize.
The questions to be asked in my research project are as follows: if we agree that we are all “animalized” and that (at least Hegelian) history has come to an end, how can we start talking about a performance at all? It is all too apparent that modern critical criteria have no good application here anymore. We must admit that the liberalist-humanist tradition does not help us, either positively or negatively, to understand what is occurring in and among emerging performance cultures, interculturally, transnationally and/or intra-nationally. There cannot be any all-inclusive theory (= a grand narrative), so should we simply discard the desire to theorize, and go about tirelessly producing acceptable and respectable case studies?
My research project at the current stage just requires a larger accumulation of case studies. It is of course necessary to follow ever-developing theories of posthumanity, digitality, “affect” and so on, while I must also see that my critical and scholarly “hunch” formulated in the rather crude form of questions posited above can be applied to and/or revised by different kinds of performances that I watch and experience. Berlin certainly offers ample opportunity for me to accumulate case study material to develop my research project in more concrete terms, and to envision the result as a book in English and Japanese.