Politics of torture, 'queer regions' explored in Provost Lecture Series

The Provost Lecture Series begins Thursday (Feb. 8) with a talk by Dr. Diana Taylor of New York University. She will explore torture, legality and global politics in “Double Blind: The Torture Case,” at 7 p.m. in the Union Theater.

Taylor will analyze how the use of torture has been defended in the United States since the Abu Ghraib scandal. Drawing on her background in Latin American studies and performance studies, she will argue that a case study of methodology has been used to explain the need for torture, exploring how proponents have used the exemplary study to bolster their arguments.

Taylor is a professor of performance studies and Spanish and founding director of the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics. Her most recent book, The Archive and the Repertoire: Performing Cultural Memory in the Americas, won the Outstanding Book Award from the Association for Theatre in Higher Education and the Kathleen Singer Award from the Modern Language Association in 2004. Among her other books is the award-winning Theatre of Crisis: Drama and Politics in South America. She has staged and directed productions in Mexico and the United States.

In the second lecture of the series, Dr. Gayatri Gopinath of the University of California, Davis, will discuss “Queer Regions: From ‘Fire’ to ‘The Journey,’” at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 13 in 202B Bowen-Thompson Student Union.

Gopinath asks how we can think about film and desire in relation to regionality, and what is hidden by dominant narratives of global gayness?

She will explore why the 2004 film “The Journey,” directed by Indian American Ligy Pullappally, was received so differently from the acclaimed but controversial “Fire,” a1996 film by Deepa Mehta. Additionally, she will look at how shifting our focus from a "global gay" to a "queer regional" subject challenges our understanding of gender and sexuality.

An associate professor of women’s and gender studies, Gopinath is the author of Impossible Desires: Queer Diasporas and South Asian Public Cultures. Her articles on the politics of Bollywood, Bhangra music, sexuality and diaspora have been published in Social Text, Positions: East Asia Cultures Critique, Journal of Homosexuality and Diaspora.

Both lectures, which are free and open to the public, are sponsored by the Institute for the Study of Culture and Society (ICS), with support from the offices of the provost and the vice provost for research and graduate dean, the College of Arts and Sciences and the ethnic studies department. For more information, call ICS at 2-0585, or email Marianne Geisbuhler at

February 5, 2007