Get Thee Behind Me: The Back-Body as a Supporting Figure in Contemporary Performance

Matthew J. Tomkinson


When I read the call for papers for this special issue of Performance Matters, I was struck by the phrase “We approach the back in multiple senses.” Why, I wondered, is the back here construed as a passive surface, a sleeping creature on which we researchers do the sneaking up? By enacting what I call a “cheeky reversal,” this essay aims not to “approach the back in multiple senses” so much as to investigate the many senses in which backs and buttocks do the approaching.

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