About Amanda Rogers


I am a Senior Lecturer in Human Geography at Swansea University researching the performing arts, particularly theatre. This makes me part of an expanding group of creative cultural geographers establishing the field of the GeoHumanities. I am also one of the Reviews Editors for the journal Cultural Geographies. In May 2017 I was awarded the Dillwyn Medal by the Learned Society of Wales for Outstanding Early Career Research in the Creative Arts and Humanities, and selected to attend the Welsh Crucible. Previously I was a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow (2009-2012) and ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow (2008-2009) in the Department of Geography at Royal Holloway where I also completed my Ph.D. on ‘Geographies of Performance and Identity in Asian American Theatre’ in 2008. You can view my institutional webpage here.

I am interested in the intersections between geographical phenomena and performance on a variety of fronts. However, my research specialises in Asian American, British East Asian and South East Asian theatre, and addresses three main concerns:

The first is the politics of diversity in British and American theatre, particularly for minority groups and for East Asian minorities in particular. The problems of racism in theatre and its resulting politics of exclusion (particularly in casting), the representation of difference in performance, the demand for equal opportunities, and the creation of new modes of subjective being, are all key themes that I explore in my research. I am an unashamed advocate for diversity, and I have worked with communities to campaign against racism in the entertainment industries, particularly regarding the performance of yellowface.

Secondly, I am interested in exploring the transnational mobility of artists, the geographies that their mobilities create, and the effect of that movement on the development of creative practice and identity. I have particularly explored the movement of practitioners and performances between British East Asian, Asian American, and South East Asian (primarily Singaporean) theatre worlds. This focus stems from a recognition that when minority artists are excluded they often travel to create new opportunities, and in so doing, their creative practices complicate locales of affiliation and belonging. The transnational forms of theatre that result also challenge the idea that what might be conventionally (if problematically) called ‘ethnic minority theatre’ is inward looking, parochial, and speaks only to concerns around inclusion at the national level. This work formed the focus of my British Academy fellowship and resulted in a monograph entitled Performing Asian Transnationalisms: theatre, identity and the geographies of performance, which was published with Routledge in 2015.

Finally, my research is interested in the relationship between post-conflict performance and geopolitics, particularly in the Mekong region. This focus started in my monograph, where I documented how refugee Lao Americans created theatre that dealt with the consequences of an often forgotten/denied episode of the Vietnam War – America’s so-called ‘Secret War’ against Laos. More recently, I have been developing this work in relation to the Cambodian civil war and the resulting Khmer Rouge genocide. Here, my research is concerned with how national identities are recovered, reworked and embodied in performance, how war and traumatic events can be represented on stage – particularly in ways that attend to their affective ambiguity, and the politics surrounding this process. This is especially important in contexts where the neoliberal state is open to transnational forces that promote creative experimentation, resulting in performances that potentially conflict with the agendas and ideologies of authoritarian regimes. I am also beginning to investigate how we might view artists as geopolitical agents – from Cold War defectors, to working as cultural intermediaries that facilitate inter-state and inter-ideological relations.

Combined, my work is therefore underpinned by an emphasis on performance and politics, of how performance creates or expresses political views, how it is embedded in relations and networks of power, and how artists both challenge and are complicit in such fields.

If you have any questions or would like a copy of any of my papers, then please email me at a.rogers@swansea.ac.uk