In recent years, the objective of linking my teaching with the community in fact led me to consider diasporic theatre as a subsection of my current and future research. I think as an immigrant it is reasonable and even necessary to muse over topics in diaspora studies, for instance, doing research about how diaspora theatre represents the everyday life of Muslim Middle Eastern immigrants (their diasporic ambivalence, playfulness, and hybrid identity) in Canada. I’m also interested in examining the ethics and politics of diasporic representation of self or others.
During my residency at the Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies (2017-2018), I co-authored a book chapter with an Armenian-Canadian cohort on Toronto-based Iranian theatre artists’ self-liberating artistic creations and aesthetic hybridity that was published in edited volume Theatre and (Im)migration (Playwright Canada Press, 2019). As the first article of its kind, the article offers a critical history of Iranian diasporic performances and delves into the politics and ethics of a range of diasporic performances from community-based nostalgic story-telling to cultural self-exoticization, to dramatization of globalist commitments. My interviews with theatre directors (from Jordan, Syria, and Iran) and several performance reviews of Middle Eastern diasporic theatre have been published on Arabstages.org and TheTheatreTimes.com.
I am using this analytical model and vision in studying two theatrical productions created collaboratively by the Kitchener-based artists from Syria and Lebanon (Ahmad Meree and Majdi Bou-Mattar) and the result will be presented at GENesis Festival/Conference (May 2020, Toronto).