Performance, Paradigms of Visual Culture and The Matrices of Representation: Anna Deavere Smith’s on The Road


  • C.S. Biju



This paper attempts to put radically in to question the hegemonic choices of representation in western visual culture by examining Anna Deavere Smith’s performance series On the Road: A Search for American Character. What is brought to the sharp focus of this study is the logic of perpetuating the conventional categories of race, ethnicity, gender and age in performance – a logic that prevails in the mainstream media; more specifically in theatre – and the unmasking of these categories in representation.

Then with a shout we rushed upon him and locked our arms about him; but the ancient god had not forgotten his craft and cunning. He became in turn a bearded lion, a snake, a panther, a monstrous boar; then running water, then a towering and leafy tree, but we kept our hold, unflinching and undismayed, and in the end this master of dreaded secrets began to tire. So he broke into speech ... .

                                                     The Odyssey  IV, 384 ff.


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Author Biography

C.S. Biju

Assoc. Professor in English & Coordinator

Dept. of Media Studies

St. Thomas College

Thrissur, Kerala, India


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How to Cite

Biju, C. (2021). Performance, Paradigms of Visual Culture and The Matrices of Representation: Anna Deavere Smith’s on The Road. SMART MOVES JOURNAL IJELLH, 9(5), 25–37.