We are delighted to share that Virginie Magnat’s monograph The Performative Power of Vocality, published in the Routledge Voice Studies book series in 2020, has received the American Theatre and Drama Society’s John W. Frick Book Award Honorable Mention.
‘Magnat notes that the “non-verbal, non-semantic, non-discursive material and affective efficacy of vocality” is under-theorized in Performance Studies. Her book is a corrective gesture, providing a complex engagement with vocality “with a particular focus on orally transmitted vocal traditions” common among Indigenous nations and in communities facing various forms of hegemonic power.We were impressed by the breadth of Magnat’s research which brings together elements of quantum physics, sound theory, anthropology, philosophy, the work of Grotowski as well as the research of Indigenous scholars in many fields to elucidate what happens in and through vocality and especially in the sharing of songs in language inherited from ancestors. Building on empirical research conducted in collaboration with Indigenous and settler participants who shared songs while being hosted by Indigenous collaborators on their territories, Magnat reflects on what the embodied practice of vocalizing activates in those who sing and those who witness them.
We were equally impressed by Magnat’s methodology which models what Anishinaabe scholar Jill Carter calls a “relational shift” toward the creation of truly respectful and dialogical conversations between Western and Indigenous ontologies, epistemologies and methodologies. From the creation of an Indigenous Advisory Committee to ensure best practices to Magnat’s self-reflective engagement with her ancestors, be they familial in Occitania, a region of France with its own distinct culture and language, or academic (Magnat was trained in and is a scholar of the Grotowski tradition and French theory), [she] models decolonizing scholarship in important ways.’
Award Committee: Henry Bial, University of Kansas (chair); Julie Burelle, UC-San Diego; Shane Vogel, Yale University.
The American Theatre and Drama Society’s John W. Frick Book Award honors the best monograph published each year on theatre and performance of/in the Americas, recognizing that notions of “America” and the United States encompass migrations of peoples and cultures that overlap and influence one another.
The Centre for Interdisciplinary Voice Studies congratulates Prof Magnat on this wonderful achievement!
The CIVS team