That Power: Performing Power, Trauma, and Queer Religious Futurity
Brower, Jonathan Duncan
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Conservative religious ideology is a key contributor to the ongoing violence of LGBTIQ2S+ exclusion and discrimination in Canada. This qualitative arts-based research project foregrounds the life experiences of 2 queer individuals from conservative Hindu (Manchari (Ari) Paranthahan) and conservative Christian (Jonathan Brower) upbringings to activate a conversation about the possibilities and limitations of queer religious agency and futurity. Using critical narrative inquiry and theatre creation, Paranthahan and Brower collaged their narratives about gendered, sexual, racial, and religious attachment and exclusion into a script and then publicly performed it as a live full-length play. The script and performance, titled That Power, are included within the thesis as findings. Key theoretical influences framing the discussion are the responsibility of witnessing testimony (Oliver, 2001), depathologizing trauma (Cvetkovich, 2003; Rothberg, 2014), the potentialities of queer performance utopias (Muñoz, 2009; Pryor, 2017), and feminist anti-racist solidarity (Mohanty, 2003). The analysis is guided by questions regarding how performance mobilizes queer trauma through relationality; the ways stories can galvanize an intersecting analysis about race, gender, and faith; and how a theatre creation model enriches the possibilities for queer futurity. The discussion positions That Power as a cultural product that helps reconstitute subjectivity for its creators while also becoming a mode of embodied collective resistance by performatively working through trauma and reframing queer relationality and feminist solidarity.
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