Research / Teaching Area
Kimberly Skye Richards is a settler scholar whose writing, teaching, activism, and artistic work engages performance as a vehicle for resisting extractivism and inspiring a just energy transition. She recently co-edited an issue of Canadian Theatre Review on “Extractivism and Performance” (April 2020). She has also published in TDR: The Drama Review, Theatre Journal, ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment, Sustainable Tools for Precarious Times, and An Ecotopian Lexicon: Loanwords to Live With.
Kim is currently developing an open-access video archive of arts-activist strategies to promote a just energy transition. She is also a member of the Mission Circle of SCALE (Sectoral Climate Arts Leadership for the Emergency)-a “network of networks” of artists and organisations working at the intersection of culture and climate in Canada with the mandate to foster a coordinated, artful and impactful response to the climate emergency from Canada’s arts and culture sector.
- Cultural Studies
- WRDS (Writing Studies)
WRDS 150A: Performance and Power
From public apologies issued by politicians for historical violences to theatrical strategies activists deploy to draw attention to injustice, performance is an important mode and medium of political communication. In this course, we will study some of the ways that political actors use performative strategies on stage and in everyday life with real consequences in the world. We will examine how diverse actors use scripts, choreographies, rehearsal practices, acting strategies, stage design, and recording technologies to persuade audiences of their righteousness, legitimacy and authority, and gain social, cultural, political and/or economic power in the process of doing so. We will observe how scholars working in social movement studies, critical Indigenous studies, discourse studies, celebrity studies, gender and women’s studies, and critical media studies describe, analyze, interpret and critique how power is gained, invoked and maintained through performance analysis. Doing so will help us to become more attentive and engaged citizens.
WRDS 150B: Oil Cultures
Oil is a fulcrum around which many of today’s most pressing social, economic, and political issues can be analyzed and understood. In the twenty-first century, we are finally beginning to realize the degree to which oil has transformed modern life while entangling us in unsustainable colonial systems of extraction and dispossession. The increasing recognition of oil’s central role in modernity is met with the awareness that over the next decade we need to transition to new energy sources and new ways of living that enable us to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions and keep global warming to a maximum of 1.5C, beyond which even half a degree will significantly worsen the risks of droughts, floods, extreme heat, and poverty for hundreds of millions of people. Extracting ourselves from our dependence on oil amounts to a social transformation of an unprecedented scale and scope; it entails not only to change the kinds of energy we use and depend on, but also a transformation in values. In this course we will consider some of the social and political challenges of the energy transition we face, and the accompanying cultural transformation.