Registration now open at, or see the event’s Facebook page

A one-day symposium in Boston College Dublin on 5 September 2014, with contributions from both interested academics and practitioners of the art form (including performers, designers, musicians and producers). The purpose of this symposium is to explore the growth, current strength and history of this art in Ireland from the perspectives of
— culture and influence,
— history,
— gender, identity and society
— aesthetics (including staging, design, costuming and performance styles)
— music
We are particularly interested in encouraging exploration of these themes from the perspective of the recession in Ireland, arguably mirroring the development and innovation of the art form in the US of the 1930s. Throughout and in the wake of the Celtic Tiger, Irish society has undergone a period of rapid change, both positive and negative. Questions of gender and sexuality have become particularly entangled with themes of economic struggle and renewal. Burlesque offers a creative space within which to explore renegotiations of cultural, economic and sexual power bases. The relationship between opulence and austerity, the transgressive performances of class and gender and the exploration of notions of morality, sin and pleasure on the burlesque stage situate the art in a relationship of exchange with concepts of economic guilt and illusions of plenty, hence the title of the symposium.
The symposium will be composed of three to four panels, each a combination of academic and practitioner perspectives, culminating in a roundtable to include Dr Claire Nally, from Northumbria University, Phil T Gorgeous, a performer from Dublin, and Sarah Cleary of Trinity College Dublin. Topics for discussion might include the response of burlesque to changing social norms, particularly the relatively rapid pace of change in social perspectives on gender and same-sex issues; the history of burlesque in Ireland; the culture of experimentation in performative gender modes, including various forms of transvestism; the major artistic influences on the Dublin scene; the conjunction of self-declared “feminist”/”postfeminist”/“non-feminist” identities on the scene and the challenges for gender and identity in a changing Irish culture, among others.
This symposium will function at a nexus of interdisciplinary interests, including literary representation, gender and cultural studies, media studies, sociology and history, music and theatre/performance studies, combining academic discourse, practice-oriented discussion and performance. As a form of community engagement, collaboration with the practitioner community offers benefits to both interested academics and those practitioners seeking to raise awareness of the history and culture surrounding burlesque and neo-burlesque, as well as fostering a longer-term process of engagement with this art form and its growing contribution to the cultural identity of Ireland.

With thanks to Boston College, the Humanities Institute and the Irish Association for American Studies for their generous support.
Further information here

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