Theatre and Dance Professor and Chair L.M. Bogad is one of two UC Davis College of Letters and Science faculty to receive Guggenheim Fellowships in the past week. He is exploring current-day political theatre surrounding global climate change.
Bogad, as well as Ali Anooshahr, professor of history, are among 184 artists, writers, scholars and scientists across North America named to the 2021 class of Guggenheim Fellows on April 8. They were chosen through a rigorous peer-review process from almost 3,000 applicants.
Their selection brings to 42 the number of College of Letters and Science faculty awarded Guggenheim Fellowships — eight of them in the past four years.
“It is truly remarkable and rare for a college to have multiple faculty members receiving Guggenheim Fellowships on an annual basis,” said Ari Kelman, interim dean of the College of Letters and Science. “I am thrilled for professors Anooshahr and Bogad, whose groundbreaking work is a testament to the scholarly excellence of UC Davis.”
The theatrics over climate change
Bogad will use the fellowship to work on a multi-pronged project called “Disastrous Theatrics: Cultural Conflict and Climate Change.” He will investigate and participate in climate crisis activism; analyze the rhetorical strategies of climate change deniers in the media, politics and the corporate world; and examine the approaches of climate justice organizations. The project will include research, publications and performance, leading to a book.
Bogad is director of the Center for Tactical Performance and co-founder of the Clown Army — both explore new methods of protest, including using humor. He has performed across the United States, Europe, South America, in Cairo during the Egyptian Revolution of 2011, and at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. Bogad’s performances have covered topics such as the Egyptian revolution, the Haymarket Square Riot, the FBI’s COINTELPRO activities, and the Pinochet coup in Chile, and have received grant support from the Puffin Fund, Network of Ensemble Theatres, Bay Area Theatre Artists Fund, U.C. Institute for Research in the Arts, the British Academy and the British Arts and Humanities Research Council.
One of his most recent projects was “Delivering Democracy,” in which he and fellow performers and activists dressed as U.S. Postal Service blue mailboxes, celebrating and encouraging voting by mail. See the story on his Inauguration Day effort here.
Bogad is the author of two books. In Electoral Guerrilla Theatre: Radical Ridicule and Social Movements, he analyzes international campaigns of performance artists who run for public office as a radical prank. Tactical Performance: On the Theory and Practice of Serious Play examines and critiques the use of guerrilla theatre/art for human rights, social justice, labor and environmental campaigns. He also wrote and produced the documentary Radical Ridicule: Serious Play and the Republican National Convention. His next book, Performing Truth: Works of Radical Memory for Times of Social Amnesia, will be published in the fall.
Read the original story by Kathleen Holder and Jeffrey Day here.
Top photo: L.M. Bogad stands in front of UC Davis' Wright Hall, where a number of his choreographed performances have occurred — as well as stages and streets across the country. (Justin Han/UC Davis)