Graduate Theses & Dissertations

'This is where the poetry comes out'
Since 1984, poetry slams have emerged as a politicized expressive movement of performing the personal and political through poetry competitions. Slams are also discursively spatialized, often represented as “spaces” that are “safe,” “inclusive,” etc. In this thesis, I investigate how, why, and to what effect the Peterborough Poetry Slam produces, consolidates, and challenges such “resistant spaces.” Drawing on interviews and participant observation, I consider how the slam’s reiterative practices facilitate its space-making by encouraging performances that resist, reimagine, and sometimes inadvertently reify dominant societal norms. I argue that this space-making is imperfect yet productive: though not resistant space in any straightforward or static way, the slam continuously produces possibilities to challenge norms and confront power. This thesis contributes to scholarship on performative space and creative resistance movements. In an era when political resistance to power structures is often silenced, this research offers insights of potential significance to other resistant space-makings. Author Keywords: Nogojiwanong Peterborough, performative space, poetry slam, resistance, space-making, spoken word

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