About the event

Join Elizabeth Maddock Dillon as she considers the long history of commoning as a mode of both occupying land—living in common—and achieving political representation as a people or political "commons." Tracing a link between the enclosure of the commons in 16th-18th century England and the seizure of land from Native peoples in the Americas, the paper explores the history of the expropriation of common land from the people, and subsequent efforts to rematerialize the political force of the common people in acts of performance. Turning to theatrical performance, the paper considers the aesthetics of commoning in plays such as John Gay's The Beggar's Opera (1728) and concludes with discussion of the contemporary Occupy Movement as a performative commons.

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