Decolonizing performance philosophies

Melissa Blanco Borelli, Anamaría Tamayo Duque, Cristina Fernandes Rosa

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


In this co-authored essay, the authors reflect on how their respective research interests in Latin America have led them to engage with epistemologies of the global south. The chapter begins from an encounter with Sylvia Wynter as a performance philosopher - foregrounding her philosophical concerns to undo the supremacy of the Western concept of the human and dismantle notions of universal knowledge through a philosophical practice of ‘deciphering.' Speaking alongside Wynter, the essay encourages us to think decolonially about the concept of humanity and to acknowledge the extent to which different contexts create different performance philosophers who strive to expand how we think, heal, share, make performance, reconsider ontologies of thought, and effect change. The second part of the essay focuses on the dance work Sankofa Danzafro’s Fecha Límite (2017) in order to examine how the Afro-Colombian choreographer, Rafael Palacios, engages in a type of ‘deciphering practice’ for the marginalized indigenous and Afro-Colombian citizens of a Colombia in transition from civil war to ‘post-conflict.' Moving from the safe space generated by Palacios for the Afro-Colombian community of his ancestry to the conceptualizing of space by Brazilian choreographer Wagner Schwartz who uses Brazilian geographer Milton Santos to make sense of his own place in the contemporary dance world, the last section of the chapter continues the exploration of how deciphering practices establish new geographic frontiers from which to create corporeal, spatial, and affective philosophies of performance that, in their questioning of modernity, are often censored by governments in the southern hemispheres. Ironically, the deciphering practice here turns on itself to privilege a politics of respectability that emerged from colonial bourgeois value systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Companion to Performance Philosophy
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781000056891
ISBN (Print)9781138495623
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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