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Northwestern School of Communication

Marcela A. Fuentes

(she/her)
Associate Professor; Director of Graduate Studies
70 Arts Circle Drive
Room 5-151
Evanston, Illinois 60208
My work studies the role that performance plays in collective action towards social justice. In my research I analyze symbolic, embodied, and time-based modes of communication and intervention in street protests, social media activism, and participatory art from the mid-nineties to the present. I focus on emerging modalities of aesthetic expression, civic engagement, and transnational mobilization, particularly within trans-feminist struggles.

Area(s) of Expertise

Art Theory and Practice, Digital Media, Feminist theory, Social Activism and Impact, Social Media, Social Networks, Transnational Culutre
Marcela A. Fuentes

Marcela A. Fuentes is a performance theorist and practitioner whose work tracks how notions that are central to studies of performance such as embodiment, liveness, eventness, and site-specificity are redefined in the era of digitally mediated communication. Her latest book, Performance Constellations: Networks of Protest and Activism in Latin America (University of Michigan Press) maps out the entanglement of street protests and digitally mediated mobilizations in response to state violence and neoliberal exploitation. An expanded version that includes a chapter on transnational feminist mobilizations, Activismos tecnopolíticos. Constelaciones de performance, has been published in Spanish by the Argentine press Eterna Cadencia. Fuentes has been awarded national and international fellowships and grants such as the Fulbright Fellowship and the Andrew W. Mellon postdoctoral research grant. Her work has been published in Text and Performance Quarterly, e-misférica, the Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies, Conjunto, LatFem, Moléculas Malucas, Página 12, and edited volumes on transnational and activist performance. Her research and teaching interests include feminist theory and performance, theories of embodiment, affect theory, queer of color critique, hemispheric performance, practice-based research, and the digital humanities. From 2016 to 2018 she was a member of the Argentine feminist collective Ni Una Menos. She has also served as External Consultant for the Buenos Aires Performance Biennial and Council Member of the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics. Her lecture performance Sujeto Transnacional has been presented in Argentina, Brazil, and the US. Her latest performance #Mar. A Nomadic Lecture opened the academic track of the 2021 Performance Biennial in Buenos Aires.

Education

  • PhD, Performance Studies, New York University
  • MA, Performance Studies, New York University
  • BA, Theatre, Dance, and Film Studies, Universidad de Buenos Aires

Selected Publications

  • “Critical Performances: The Scream, the Green Tide, and the Spider as Embodied Feminist Articulations,” in The Routledge Companion to Twentieth and Twenty-First Century Latin American Literary and Cultural Forms, Guillermina De Ferrari and Mariano Siskind, editors.
  • “Delirious Vulnerability: Aesthetics of Encounter, Care and Resistance in the Chilean Revolt”. On the work of Eugenia Vargas Pereira. The Protest and the Recuperation. Wallach Art Gallery. Columbia University.
  • 2020 Activismos tecnopolíticos. Constelaciones de performance. Buenos Aires: Eterna Cadencia.
  • 2019 Performance Constellations: Networks of Protest and Activism in Latin America. Ann Arbor, Michigan: University of Michigan Press.
  • “#NiUnaMenos (#NotOneLess): Hashtag Performativity, Memory, and Direct Action against Gender Violence in Argentina.” In Women Mobilizing Memory. Performances of Protest. Ayse Gul Altinay, Maria José Contreras, Zeynep Gambetti, Alisa Solomon, eds. Columbia University Press. Forthcoming.
  • “Making Change: Performance and the Workings of the Event.” In Theatre, Performance and Theories of Change. Tamara Underiner and Stephani Etheridge Woodson, eds. Palgrave-Macmillan.
  • “Theater as Event: The Politics of Interruption in Vivi Tellas’ Documentary Theater.” In Calling Out of Context. Ed. Joachim Hamou. 15-35. (Paris, France: Paraguay Press, 2017)
  • “Performance Constellations: Memory and Event in Digitally Enabled Protest.” Text and Performance Quarterly. Vol. 35, No. 1, January 2015, pp. 24-42.
  • “Performance, Politics, and Protest.” In What is Performance Studies? Diana Taylor and Marcos Steuernagel, eds. (Durham: Duke University Press; New York: HemiPress, 2015).
  • “Zooming In and Out: Tactical Media Performance in Transnational Contexts.” In Performance, Politics, and Activism. Ed. John Rouse and Peter Lichtenfels. 32-55. (Hampshire: Palgrave McMillan, 2013)
  • “Investments Towards Returns: Protest and Performance in the Era of Financial Crises.” Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies, Vol. 21, No. 3 September 2012, pp. 449-468.
  • Estudios avanzados de performance (Advanced Studies in Performance). Co-editor with Diana Taylor. (México: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2012)

Awards and Grants

  • 2020 Alumnae Award for Curriculum Innovation. Northwestern University.
  • 2019 Provost Faculty Grant for Research in Humanities, Social Sciences and the Arts. Northwestern University.
  • Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Humanities, “Cultures in Transnational Perspective”. University of California, Los Angeles, 2008-2010.
  • NEH Summer Fellowship, “Broadening the Digital Humanities,” University of Southern California Institute for Multimedia Literacy, 2010.
  • Fulbright Fellowship, Fondo Nacional de las Artes, Argentina, 2001.

Courses

  • PERF-ST 326 Performance Art
  • PERF-ST 301 Performance and Activism in Digital Culture
  • PERF-ST 330 Digital Performances in the Era of Virality
  • PERF-ST 335 Social Art Tactics
  • PERF-ST 515 Critical Feminist Performance
  • PERF-ST 515 Transnational Flows of Performance
  • PERF-ST 518 Problems in Research