Absent Others: dark tourism, theatricality, and ethical spectatorship

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dc.contributor.advisor Edmond, M en
dc.contributor.advisor Bishop, T en
dc.contributor.author Willis, Emma en
dc.date.accessioned 2011-08-04T03:58:27Z en
dc.date.issued 2011 en
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2292/7165 en
dc.description.abstract To call the twentieth century a catastrophic one, is to acknowledge the collapse of humanist values. Events such as the Holocaust, genocides in Rwanda and Cambodia, and numerous other atrocities demonstrated the utter failure of social and political frameworks. The incomprehensible scope of such suffering also profoundly challenged representational practices; as widely cited, Adorno stated that there could be no poetry after Auschwitz (34). Yet, we cannot turn away from such disasters. This thesis is concerned with how theatricality allows us to face such grievous history, and seeks to engage a theatrical analysis to help clarify what is at stake in such spectatorship. In order to examine theatricality as a mode of ethical responsiveness, I offer two contrasting sets of examples: tourist sites and theatrical performances. The sites I consider are examples of 'dark tourism,' destinations that depict death and disaster. I explore how theatricality arises in response to the key challenge that underlies these places, which is how to make past suffering available to the spectator at the same time as acknowledging that such representation is never completely possible. In discussing a series of sites including Rwanda, European concentration camps, museums and memorials in South East Asia and a New Zealand example, it is this tension, and the difficulty of locating and sustaining an ethical performativity that I explore. In contrast with the tourist sites discussed, I consider theatrical examples that have sought to represent the same history. I discuss works such Jerzy Grotowski's Akropolis, Catherine Filloux's play, made in response to the Tuol Sleng Genocidal Museum in Cambodia, Photographs from S21, and Erik Ehn's Maria Kizito, which deals with the first trial of Rwandan genocidaires. Through this interdisciplinary analysis, I ask how theatricality's ability to make available something of the experience of the other might be thought of in ethical terms. I draw on the work of Emmanuel Levinas, particularly his image of the 'face of the other,' in order to consider the relationship between spectator and absent other. I intend to demonstrate that a theatrical analysis helps us to understand such encounters, touristic and theatrical, more clearly. en
dc.publisher ResearchSpace@Auckland en
dc.relation.ispartof PhD Thesis - University of Auckland en
dc.rights Items in ResearchSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. en
dc.rights.uri https://researchspace.auckland.ac.nz/docs/uoa-docs/rights.htm en
dc.title Absent Others: dark tourism, theatricality, and ethical spectatorship en
dc.type Thesis en
thesis.degree.grantor The University of Auckland en
thesis.degree.level Doctoral en
thesis.degree.name PhD en
dc.rights.holder Copyright: The author en
dc.rights.accessrights http://purl.org/eprint/accessRights/OpenAccess en
pubs.elements-id 216814 en
pubs.org-id Arts en
pubs.org-id Humanities en
pubs.org-id English and Drama en
pubs.record-created-at-source-date 2011-08-04 en

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