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Performance Research Workshop: A Discussion with Nick Salvato, “On Obstruction”

March 7 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

On Obstruction

The Humanities Institute’s Performance Research Workshop invites you to join us for a talk and discussion from performance and media scholar Nick Salvato (Cornell) on Tuesday, 3/7, at 2:00 p.m. in (ROOM CHANGE) Knox 110:   “Television Scales; or, How to Watch Strathern (in) TV.”  The event will conclude with a brief reception.  Update: we’ve moved the talk to a larger room to accommodate the significant interest on campus—please join us!

The talk adapts and condenses ideas animating Salvato’s current book-in-progress, Television Scales. Like the monograph, the talk proceeds from the premise that scale is the unresolved and, indeed, irresolvable problematic for television studies. Taking this condition to be a potentially enabling rather than constraining one for a renovated television studies, Salvato looks back to meta-critical work by the cultural anthropologist Marilyn Strathern–work in which the theorization of scale is the signal gesture–in order to find a model and method for a version of television studies that would, like Strathern’s efforts, short-circuit more typical, expected modes of taxonomy and comparison by  eking instead what Strathern calls “partial connections.” Pivoting from this endeavor in abstraction to the concretion of a case study, he concludes by modeling in miniature how a Strathernian approach may instruct us (weirdly, adventurously) to watch television (weirdly, adventurously).

Nick Salvato (A.B., Princeton University; Ph.D., Yale University) is Associate Professor and Chair of Performing and Media Arts at Cornell University, as well as a member of the graduate faculty of English.  He has published articles in such journals as Camera Obscura, Critical Inquiry, Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism, TDR: The Drama Review, and Theatre Journal.  His article, “Uncloseting Drama: Gertrude Stein and the Wooster Group,” won the journal Modern Drama‘s award for Outstanding Essay of 2007.  That piece was adapted from his first book, Uncloseting Drama: American Modernism and Queer Performance, published in 2010 by Yale University Press as part of the series Yale Studies in English.  Likewise published in 2010 was “Gossip,” a special issue that he guest-edited for Modern Drama, where he was book review editor from 2010 to 2014.  His second full-length book, Obstruction, was published by Duke University Press in March 2016 and investigates the surprising intellective value of five putative impediments: embarrassment, laziness, slowness, cynicism, and digressiveness. A pocket monograph, Knots Landing, was published as part of Wayne State University Press’s TV Milestones series in spring 2015.

Please email with any questions.



March 7
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Event Category:


Performance Research Workshop


knox 110