Fraud as political performance

Chair: Patricia Ybarra, Assistant Professor Brown University

Given recent cases of supposed and actual election fraud in Mexico and the US, this work group would like to consider the performance of fraud in the public sphere as "body politics."

This seminar will ask the following questions: How is fraud performed differently in the public sphere and within legal discourse? How does performance intervene into political fraud, and alternately, how can fraud be made visible or invisible through performance? In what way do different media create fraud? How do our own national, regional and local histories determine how we understand fraud? Is fraud "always a performance?" What are the stakes of "crying fraud" in developing, well established or contested democracies?

We seek to bring together a diverse range of scholars, artists and activists to contemplate fraud as performance. The group is especially interested in drawing scholars from political science. performance studies, and  legal studies as well as activists, journalists and artists so that we may explore the many different working definitions of fraud used in political discourse and practice, from a wide range of viewpoints from throughout the americas.

This group is designed as a dynamic reading and discussion group, a performative "hashing it out."  We welcome performance interventions, short formal papers, manifestos, and the like but the emphasis will be on dialogue. As such, during the seminar, in addition to a set of readings from sources outside the group, we will examine a select number of case studies (formal papers, performance interventions, manifestos, legal cases, workshop demonstrations) as part of our work. Emphasis will be on discussion rather than formal presentations.  Participants are encouraged, but not required to present case studies as part of the seminar.