Conference / Symposium

Law and Performance: A Dialogue Between Playwrights and Scholars

Sponsored by the Stanford Humanities Center, the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, the Stanford Arts Institute, and Theater and Performance Studies.


Thursday, January 21, 2021
4:30 pm – 6:00 pm
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This event is open to:
Faculty/Staff, Students

Event Details:

How does law transform the narratives we tell, and how can narratives reshape the law? This conversation brings together scholars and playwrights whose work intersects with the legal profession. From an artistic and critical perspective, we'll investigate how performance can help us understand the law and imagine Native sovereignty and queer futurity beyond its limits. The panel will include Mary Kathryn Nagle, Anne Pellegrini and Eleanor Wong. Moderated by Kari Barclay.

“Native Theater: Using Performance to Change The False Narratives that Form Prejudicial Laws” | Mary Kathryn Nagle is an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation and playwright. Her play Sliver of a Full Moon has been performed at law schools across the United States, and she has received commissions from Arena Stage, the Rose Theater, Portland Center Stage, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Yale Repertory Theatre, Round House Theatre, and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. She served as the first Executive Director of the Yale Indigenous Performing Arts Program from 2015 to 2019. Nagle is also a partner at Pipestem Law, P.C., where she works to protect tribal sovereignty and the inherent right of Indian Nations to protect their women and children from domestic violence and sexual assault. She is actively engaged in the movement to end the crisis of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls. She has authored numerous briefs in federal appellate courts, including the United States Supreme Court. She is a frequent speaker on topics related to violence against Native Women, the Indian Child Welfare Act, tribal sovereignty, and federal Indian law.

"Fire" in a Theatre | Ann Pellegrini is Professor of Performance Studies & Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University. Her books include: Performance Anxieties: Staging Psychoanalysis, Staging Race; Love the Sin: Sexual Regulation and the Limits of Religious Tolerance (co-authored with Janet R. Jakobsen); and “You Can Tell Just by Looking” and 20 Other Myths about LGBT Life and People (co-authored with Michael Bronski and Michael Amico). “You Can Tell Just By Looking” was a 2014 Lambda Literary Award Finalist in LGBT Nonfiction. Pellegrini is founding co-editor of the “Sexual Cultures” series at New York University Press. She is also a candidate in adult psychoanalysis at the Institute for Psychoanalytic Training and Research (IPTAR), in New York City.

Eleanor Wong is a lawyer, playwright, and poet. She is best known for her dramatic trilogy Invitation to Treat (published in 2005) which explores lesbianism, female sexuality and gender politics. Two of the plays were earlier staged as Mergers & Accusations (1993) and Wills & Secession (1995). The last installment, Jointly & Severably, was produced as part of the trilogy in 2003. Wong made her theatrical debut with her first play, Peter’s Passionate Pursuit, which clinched a joint first prize at the NUSShell Short Play Competition in 1986. Wong was a writer-in-residence at the Centre for Quantum Technologies (CQT) at the National University of Singapore (NUS) in 2015, and is Director of the Legal Writing Programme and Vice-Dean of Student Affairs at the NUS Faculty of Law.

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