For episode 92 of Imagine Otherwise, I got to interview curator, performer, and scholar curator Sandra Ruiz about the radical ways that Puerto Rican artists, performers and activists are resetting the colonial clock, what it means to use language to restage historical performances in the present, how Sandra mobilizes everyday absurdity in her theater and gallery curatorial work, and why imagining otherwise is one of the most powerful tools of insurgency and decolonization.
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You can also read the transcript and show notes on the Ideas on Fire website, which have links to Sandra’s work and all the concepts, people, and events we discuss on the show (great for teaching!).
Guest: Sandra Ruiz
Sandra Ruiz is an assistant professor of Latina/Latino studies and English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an affiliate faculty member of the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, the Program in Comparative World Literature, the Program in Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies, and the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory.
She received her PhD in performance studies from New York University and since then has published in Small Axe: A Caribbean Journal of Criticism, Women and Performance, Performance Matters, and Autumn Knight: In Rehearsal.
Sandra’s new book Ricanness: Enduring Time in Anticolonial Performance was published by NYU Press in July 2019. She is currently working on two new book projects: a scholarly book titled Perilous Pedagogy: Psychoanalytic Affections Within the Live Aesthetic and a book of poetry titled The Edge of Depth.
Sandra has been awarded the Junior Faculty Fellowship for the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory (2016–2018), an IPRH Faculty Fellowship (2014–2015), the Illinois Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Research Associate (2012), and an LLS Departmental Award for Teaching.
Sandra is the co-founder of the Brown Theatre Collective, creator of La Estación Gallery, and has curated live performance for the Krannert Art Museum.
“I want to live in a world where the right to be human also means the right to be plural, complicated, filled with nuance and ambivalence along with relentless conviction and undying compassion. I also want to live in a world where collaboration and collectivity surpass the corporation. Where we are all fascinated by what we can’t even see. I want to use curious methodologies and invent dirty theories, translate philosophy to fit my life, build established spaces for artists or creatives to help us get out of the mess we’ve created of our present situation.”
– Sandra Ruiz on episode 92 of the Imagine Otherwise podcast