The Japanese Studies Centre hosted a special presentation by Peter Eckersall, a Monash Graduate and long time associate of the JSC. Peter’s presentation reflected on his days at Monash as an MA and PhD student, describing the intellectual tools he acquired here before embarking on his career as an academic and a dramaturg. Peter assumes the Professorship in Asian Theatre at CUNY in January 2014, and we congratulate him on his new senior appointment!
Japanese Studies, Monash and the theatre of research
On the occasion of taking up the Professorship in Asian Theatre at City University of New York, I have been given the pleasurable task of speaking about my time studying in the Japanese program at Monash. With only a drama degree and experience working in experimental theatre I first arrived to study a newly conceived MA in Asian Studies in 1989 when Professor Neustupny was still in the chair. I spent the next ten years completing my MA and PhD and teaching some of the studies units in the program while also occasionally teaching Kyôgen in the theatre and drama program. Since then I have taught theatre studies with a focus on the Japanese arts at the University of Melbourne and have continued to research on Japanese theatre and develop collaboration projects between theatre companies and artists in Australia and Japan. Monash is still the place to study Japanese. It is the capacity in the program to take in all manner of projects and interests that defines its significant contribution. The approach to teach and research the field of culture in the broad sense that was first developed by Professor Neustupny and expanded through the enthusiasm of generations of scholars has been its enduring legacy.
In this talk, I will risk an indulgence to reflect on my time at Monash and on some more recent projects in the arts to broadly speak about Japanese Studies, Monash and the theatre of research.
Peter Eckersall teaches theatre studies at the University of Melbourne. He has an MA in Asian Studies (Monash 1992) and a PhD in Japanese Studies (Monash 1999). From 2014 he takes up a Professorship in Asian Theatre at the Graduate Centre City University of New York. Recent publications include Theatre and Performance in the Asia-Pacific: Regional Modernities in the Global Era (co-authored with Denise Varney, Barbara Hatley and Chris Hudson, Palgrave 2013) and Performativity and Event in 1960s Japan: City, Body, Memory (Palgrave 2013). He is a visiting fellow in the Centre for Interweaving Performance Cultures, Berlin. He is the cofounder of Dramaturgies and the resident dramaturg for the performance group Not Yet It’s Difficult.