Exceptional Spaces

Essays in Performance and History

Edited by Della Pollock

416 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 32 illus., 3 tables, notes, index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-4684-1
    Published: February 1998
  • eBook ISBN: 978-1-4696-4416-5
    Published: June 2018

Buy this Book

Taking interdisciplinary and diverse approaches, these thirteen essays explore the multifaceted relationship between performance and history. By considering performance as both a useful frame for understanding historical practices and a mode of historical production itself--performance in history and performance as history--the contributors chart new directions in such fields as cultural studies, contemporary historiography, museum studies, and life narrative research. Geographically and chronologically, the collection's sweep is broad--ranging from the nineteenth century to the present, from Victorian theater to commissions of inquiry in Kenya, from dissent in post-Soviet Lithuania to plantation tours in the American South. Together, the essays make up a work that is truly interdisciplinary in breadth and focus. By combining the methodologies of history and performance studies, the contributors illuminate the structure and function of cultural production in all its forms. The contributors are Michael S. Bowman, Ruth Laurion Bowman, Elizabeth Gray Buck, Kay Ellen Capo, David William Cohen, Tracy Davis, Kirk W. Fuoss, Shannon Jackson, D. Soyini Madison, Carol Mavor, E. S. Atieno Odhiambo, Della Pollock, Jeffrey H. Richards, and Joseph R. Roach.

About the Author

Della Pollock is associate professor of communication studies and director of the University Program in Cultural Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
For more information about Della Pollock, visit the Author Page.


"Empirically grounded and theoretically rich, Exceptional Spaces brings a lively intellectual imagination to bear on a wide range of events and situations. Whether analyzing museums or tourist productions, slave auctions or murder, photographs or hygiene, orature or literature, law court or theater, the authors demonstrate the power of thinking performatively about history and historically about performance. This is performance studies at its best."--Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University