Performance and Law
Fall 2020

Welcome to the online undergraduate e-zine exploring the intersection of performance and law with topics such as hegemony in mainstream law and order television, police violence and protest, legality and the performance of politics, theater as a space for legislation,
and the policy regulation of music and social media among others.
The web-based essays that follow below reflect a wide range of interests derived from a shared experience of reading, analysis, and discussion of current events that we engaged with this as a class fall semester. Each essay responds to one of several prompts that were collectively devised by the class in order to contribute to an expanding subfield shared by performance studies, literature, and legal studies. Moreover, we wish to contribute to the public conversation about how law is performed both ceremoniously and in the every day, sometimes held against the very people that it pretends to protect. 

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Christine Chau argues that the performance of history through Confederate monuments and statues serve to display, not truth telling, but rather an idealized idea of the “Southern Way of Life,” and are held in place through Federal, State, and local preservation laws.

Coco Cheung describes how the 2019 Broadway play What the Constitution Means to Me by Heidi Schreck uses her personal experiences with various amendments to draw attention to the benefits and drawbacks of the American Constitution.

Arcadia Eckmayer examines the ways in which the Proud Boys have been able to evade what should be a terrorist status and expand the United State’s understanding of legality.

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Anders Hosek contends that The War on Drugs forced urban communities into a battleground, where music of the past and present became a tool to fight for survival and speak against state funded violence.

Neha Palvai considers the relationship between law and hip-hop. Political hip-hop serves as a case study in this essay to discern how the artists draw attention to the issues in the legal system and the limitations of their forms of expression.

Marissa Svec-Burdick contends that the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act and Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act conflates all sex work to human trafficking and has sparked a massive crackdown on the safe networks used by consensual adult sex workers. 

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Helena Cardiel-Stevens' narrative considers the impact performance through media has on unsolved cases of sexual assault. By examining various television shows, Helena will trace what popular media has done to change or influence laws.

Zola Hanson looks at the toxic expectations of perfection in gymnastics through the concept of the body which, in its physical form and as a symbol, is inseparable from gymnastics as a sport, art and culture.

Winifred Gunther examines the real world implications of victimhood assessments made in the court of law  for sexual violence and harassment survivors and the ways that broader society understands sexual violence and the objectification of women.

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Hallie Sullivan looks at the story of Aladdin through the lens of several academic theories considering delinquency and heroism.

Asha Alvarez explores the connections between the 1925 novel The Trial by Franz Kafka and Michel Foucault's theory of power in Discipline and Punish. Topics include ideas about punishment and personal coception's about the purpose of law.

Shandria Blackmon looks at the documentary titled The Crip Camp in exploration of how the process of bringing about disability awareness visualizes the law using a theatrical narrative as a system of serving justice.

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Noah Weinstein discusses the role of active passivity and symbolic activism through history and the present moment in relation to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Janely Gomez looks at the film Just Mercy as an example of a performance piece which helps expose the Law and shines light on the disregard for Black lives through racism, incarceration, the death penalty and more.

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Alejandro Ramirez Alvarado argues that zero-tolerance policies are effective when disciplining a child, but cause lasting psychological trauma and fails to integrate both kids and school staff into a positive social frame.

Aaliyah Karunarante looks at two IP cases which appear to have no relation at first glance, but together create a racial project that demonstrates a potentially racialized bias in the way U.S. courts delegate IP rights.

Anna Lee Schrader analyzes the dichotomy in which the law is hyper performative: in the presence of People of Color it is merciless and unjust, yet relative to the white experience, it is helpful and heroic. 

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Tyler Mahomes explores the bias that the movie My Country Vinny satires through a court scene. Mahomes explores the historical context of the movie as well as the pressing issue the movie raises in the racist nature of the American justice system. 

Tessalou Valera explores the relationship between truth telling and the prison system. Valera contends that the prison system is the state-recognized institution of truth and deserved punishment, yet is an institution that is deeply flawed.

Elysse Green explores the relationship between the realities and fictional iterations of law and how it is enforced in relation to the lives of Black people and finds that the fictional representations of these issues are presented as non-existent problems--things of the past.

Christina Nguyen contends that, through avenues of performance, activist groups are able to gain attention and new members to join their effort. Activists, Nguyen asserts, use performance to create a culture around the cause they are supporting.

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Jasey Woodfin draws on TV courts and the film 12 Angry Men to examine the role that many forms of bias play in American juries.

Scarlett Tao considers the relationship between courtroom TV shows and the justice system in the U.S. with a focus on scripting and theatricality. Tao argues that TV courtrooms are farther ahead in terms of diversity and justice than courts of law in reality.

Zixuan He argues that the role of utterances by the defendants in the Chicago 8 Trial is to communicate with the audience about their unfair experience in the court as well as their relating political opinions.

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Kyle Wang explores the implications and conundrums within the question of whether to ban TikTok or not in the United States.

Emmi Tsunoda examines the rumblings of a TikTok ban in the United States in the context of US-China relations

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Joseph Gonzalez considers the political role of Tik Tok and its influence on the Trump administration. Gonzalez questions the reasonings behind Trump's push for a Tik Tok ban.

Jose Garcia Clavel discusses how the film Crip Camp and others illustrate how law is created through performance and actively enforces and reinforces our definitions of justice, peace and equality through a constant process of repetition.

Stephanie Li contends that “Make America Great Again” rhetoric functions on spectacle and American optimism, which authorizes Trump to forge a new frontier in which he reinvents law on exclusionary and racist premises, reminiscent of fascist politics and American exceptionalism.

Maya Altamirano delves into the manners in which both Presidential candidates in 2020 used their power of public speaking during their rallies as a was to sway the audiences' opinions on certain topics.

Krystle Wangui unpacks and explores the use of the Reid technique, a method of interrogation which uses confrontation, coercion and manipulation, in the confession of guilt in the Central Park 5 case.