The late Dwight Conquergood’s research has inspired an entire generation of scholars invested in performance as a meaningful paradigm to understand human interaction, especially between structures of power and the disenfranchised. Conquergood’s research laid the groundwork for others to engage issues of ethics in ethnographic research, performance as a meaningful paradigm for ethnography, and case studies that demonstrated the dissolution of theory/practice binaries. Cultural Struggles is the first gathering of Conquergood’s work in a single volume, tracing the evolution of one scholar’s thinking across a career of scholarship, teaching, and activism, and also the first collection of its kind to bring together theory, method, and complete case studies.
The collection begins with an illuminating introduction by E. Patrick Johnson and ends with commentary by other scholars (Micaela di Leonardo, Judith Hamera, Shannon Jackson, D. Soyini Madison, Lisa Merrill, Della Pollock, and Joseph Roach), engaging aspects of Conquergood’s work and providing insight into how that work has withstood the test of time, as scholars still draw on his research to inform their current interests and methods.
“With this collection of a broad group of Dwight Conquergood’s essays—vibrating with relevance, as if they had been written only yesterday—we are reminded of why Conquergood was one of the most critically generous ethnographers and social commentators of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. This book is not merely important; it is urgent.”
—Patrick Anderson, University of California, San Diego
Dwight Conquergood (1949–2004) was an ethnographer known for his work with the Hmong of southeast Asia, street gangs of Chicago, and refugees in Thailand and Gaza. His final research project was on the death penalty in America. He was Professor of Performance Studies at Northwestern University.
E. Patrick Johnson is Carlos Montezuma Professor of Performance Studies and African American Studies at Northwestern University.