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No text is innocent. Words and stories etched in black ink create worlds, ways of being, and ways of knowing. Stories, communicated both orally and textually, have historically conceived power and birthed imperialist projects which are performed and re-enacted generation after generation in our bodies, communities, and institutions. Yet, stories are also enactments of rebellion, pathways of freedom, and practices of poetic soul memories that enable us to live free(ish) in unfree space, to heal amid unending violence, and to love despite alienation.

B/bibliodrama is a text-based interpretive method of embodied, performative storytelling and story-retelling. It is a method that invites participants to collectively explore the chaos and possibilities that emerge in the relationship between text, imagination, and body; an opportunity to humbly confront “the scandal and excess of literature,” as Saidiya Hartman has named it, as well as seek the medicine and healing nectar that oozes in between the lines of texts that dare to speak the unspeakable of those long silenced and disappeared.

Through a series of bibliodramatic techniques, derived from psychodrama, Rabbinical Midrash practices, and theatre of the oppressed movement, we will narratively transport (though a short trip) ourselves into a passage from N.K. Jemisin’s “The City We Became.” We will consider what makes a text, “sacred,” and explore ways to develop our forms of story-building, story-breaking, and witnessing.

This will be a time of PLAY which is not to be confused, at all, with being unserious. This session is very interactive and participants are invited to engage in activities that will include movement in our bodies and our imaginations, as little or as much as you are able and willing.

Speaker: Jazzy Johnson

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