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 Bachelor of Media Studies Program. Her research focuses primarily on the cultural politics of contemporary art and performance in global north cities. Her areas of study include artistic and social practices that take place in redeveloped urban environments, the intertwined frontiers of digital and embodied art-activism, participatory and immersive modes of spectatorship, and the workings of performing arts festivals and urban mega-events.
She 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. Keren 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). She has written for Theatre Journal, Theatre Research International, Contemporary Theatre Review, Canadian Theatre Review, PUBLIC, and other journals and edited collections.
Keren regularly publishes interviews with the contemporary artists and activists that she profiles in her research. These dialogues are not only core to her methodology but her public engagement in events such as the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival where she co-led the Institute for Performance Studies’ 2020 Critical Ideas Series.
Her current project, “Spectacles of Stigma in a World Beyond Shame” examines the resurgence of authoritarian regimes through a diverse prism of public and private performances that include the autotheoretical analysis of her paternal grandfather’s Ukrainian NKVD records. Keren joins UBC from Queen’s University, Kingston, where she taught in the Department of Film and Cultural Studies Graduate Program as Assistant Professor and Queen’s National Scholar in Creative Industries in the Global City.
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)
“The Political Promises of Performance Art and NFTs: Tactics of Feminist Collectivities of Resistance” Co-Authored with Ali Na. Routledge Companion to Performance Art. Eds. Jennie Klein and Natalie Loveless. Abingdon: Routledge. Forthcoming, 2023.
“Meme Feminisms: Tactical Irony on Social Media.” Co-Authored with Kristen Cochrane. Networked Feminisms: Activist Assemblies and Digital Practices. Eds. MacDonald, Radzikowska, MacArthur, Wiens. Washington, DC: Lexington Press. Forthcoming, 2022.
“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.