B.A., York University
M.A., University of Toronto
PhD, University of Toronto
Keren Zaiontz is Assistant Professor of Theatre and Performance Studies in the Department of Theatre & Film and the Bachelor of Media Studies Program. Her research focuses primarily on the cultural politics of contemporary art and performance. She has published on topics such as digital and embodied art-activism, participatory and immersive modes of spectatorship, socially-engaged art in redeveloped urban cores, and performing arts festivals and mega-events.
Keren is the author of Theatre & Festivals (Red Globe Press, 2018), part of the Theatre & series. The book explores the ways in which cultural performances of resistance that have their basis in festivals can migrate to other contexts, making festivals as much the domain of free markets and state power as that of vanguard artists and progressive social movements. She is co-editor of numerous special issues and anthologies including Sustainable Tools for Precarious Times: Performance Actions in the Americas with Natalie Alvarez and Claudette Lauzon (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019) winner of the Excellence in Editing award by the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE). Keren is recipient of the Performance Studies international Routledge Prize, the Canadian Association for Theatre Research Heather McCallum Award, and the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies Alumni Dissertation Award.
Her current book project, Authoritarian Intimacies, is a cultural examination of global north authoritarian power from the perspective of its “refuseniks”—dissident artists and satirists, independent reporters, and oppositional proletariats—who risk everything and model perseverance in the face of repressive rule. The book brings this cast of political actors together through a transtemporal framework in which the protestations of a Kyiv machinist from the 1930s are situated alongside the antiwar actions of a St. Petersburg musician in the 2020s. This temporal elasticity is matched by a range of performance ethnography sites in Europe and North America. The study also encompasses an analysis of the declassified NKVD dossier belonging to Keren’s paternal grandfather—records released by Ukrainian authorities a few months before the full-scale Russian invasion.
Keren joins UBC from Queen’s University, Kingston, where she taught in the Department of Film and Media and Cultural Studies Graduate Program as Queen’s National Scholar in Creative Industries in the Global City. She has served as Lecturer at Roehampton University, London, and held a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship at Queen Mary, University of London, and a Banting Fellowship at Simon Fraser University.
Theatre & Festivals. Theatre& series. London: Red Globe Press, 2018.
Edited Book Collections
Sustainable Tools for Precarious Times: Performance Actions in the Americas. Co-edited with Natalie Alvarez and Claudette Lauzon. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019.
Performing Adaptations: Essays and Conversations on the Theory and Practice of Adaptation. Co-edited with Michelle MacArthur and Lydia Wilkinson. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009.
Reluctant Texts from Exuberant Performance: Canadian Devised Theatre. Co-edited with Bruce Barton, Natalie Corbett, and Birgit Schreyer Duarte. New Canadian Drama series. Ottawa: Borealis Book Publishers, 2008.
Edited Journals, Special Issues
“Mega-Event Cities: Art, Audiences, Aftermaths.” Co-edited with Peter Dickinson and Kirsty Johnston. Public 53 (Spring 2016).
“Vancouver After 2010.” Co-edited with Peter Dickinson and Kirsty Johnston. Canadian Theatre Review 164 (Fall 2015).
“The Cultural Politics of London 2012.” Co-edited with Jen Harvie. Contemporary Theatre Review 23.4 (November 2013).
Book Chapters & Journal Articles (selected)
“Spectacles of Stigma in a World Beyond Shame: Public Scenarios from the First 100 Days of War in Ukraine.” TDR: The Drama Review. Forthcoming, 2023.
“Meme Feminisms: Tactical Irony on Social Media.” Co-Authored with Kristen Cochrane. Stories of Feminist Protest and Resistance: Digital Performative Assemblies. Eds. Brianna I. Wiens, Michelle MacArthur, Shana MacDonald, and Milena Radzikowska. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2023.
“From Post-War to ‘Second Wave’: International Performing Arts Festivals.” Cambridge Companion to International Theatre Festivals. Ed. Ric Knowles. Cambridge: CUP, 2020. 15-35.
“Performative Conduct for Precarious Times.” Co-authored with Natalie Alvarez. Sustainable Tools for Precarious Times: Performance Actions in the Americas. Eds. Natalie Alvarez, Claudette Lauzon, and Keren Zaiontz. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019. 41-67.
“Feminist Performance Forensics.” Co-authored with Natalie Alvarez. Contemporary Theatre Review. Special Issue, “Feminist Theatre and Performance.” 28.3 (2018):285-298.
“Inelastic Olympic Hopefuls: Rhythmic Mis-Interpellation in Three Auditions for The London 2012 Ceremonies.“ Public 53 (Spring 2016): 75-89.
“Public Art in Vancouver and the Civic Infrastructure of Redress.” Co-authored with Dylan Robinson. The Land We Are: Artists and Writers Unsettle the Politics of Reconciliation. Eds. Gabrielle L’Hirondelle Hill and Sophie McCall. Winnipeg: Arbeiter Ring Publishing, 2015. 22-51.
“Human Rights (and their Appearances) in Performing Arts Festivals.” Canadian Theatre Review. Special Issue, “Performance and Human Rights in the Americas.” 161 (Winter 2015): 48-54.
“Narcissistic Spectatorship in Immersive and One-on-One Performance.” Theatre Journal. Special Issue, “Spectatorship.” 67.3 (2014): 405-425.
“Performing Visions of Governmentality: Care and Capital in 100% Vancouver.” Theatre Research International 39.2 (2014): 101-119.
“Protest After Occupy: Rethinking the Repertoires of Left Activism.” Micah White in conversation with Alvarez and Zaiontz. In Sustainable Tools for Precarious Times. Eds. Alvarez, Lauzon, Zaiontz. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019. 27-40.
“Already – And: The Art of Indigenous Survivance.” Cheryl L’Hirondelle in conversation with Alvarez and Zaiontz. In Sustainable Tools for Precarious Times. Eds. Alvarez, Lauzon, Zaiontz. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019. 289-302.
“Festival Sites: The Civic and Collective Life of Curatorial Practice. An Interview with Deborah Pearson and Joyce Rosario.” Theatre Research in Canada. Special Issue, “Festivals.”40 1.2 (2019): 153-165.
“The Festival Performances of Ivo van Hove and Toneelgroep Amsterdam.” Interviews with Wouter van Ransbeek and Ivo van Hove. Ivo Van Hove: From Shakespeare to David Bowie. Eds. Susan Bennett and Sonia Massai. London: Bloomsbury, 2018. 83-98.
“Public Art as Collective Practice: In Conversation with Neville Gabie.” PUBLIC 53 (June 2016): 105-117.
“The Aesthetics of Austerity: In Conversation with Liz Crow.” PUBLIC 53 (June 2016): 118-130.