Dirk Gindt


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Works at Department of Culture and Aesthetics
Telephone 08-674 70 98
Visiting address Frescativägen 24 E
Room A 258
Postal address Institutionen för kultur och estetik 106 91 Stockholm

About me

Dirk Gindt holds a PhD in Theatre Studies from Stockholm University (2007) and is a Professor of Theatre Studies in the Department of Culture and Aesthetics. He has previously been employed at the Department of Theatre at Concordia University in Montreal, the Centre for Fashion Studies at Stockholm University and the Department of Gender, History and Culture at Södertörn University College. He is currently serving as Head of Research in Theatre Studies.

My current research, Circumpolar Performance Cultures, is a four-year project financed by the Swedish Research Council. It concentrates of the intersectional and decolonial labour performed by three Indigenous ensembles – Giron Sámi Teáhter in Kiruna/Giron (Sweden), Nunatta Isiginnaartitsisarfia/The National Theatre of Greenland in Nuuk, and Qaggiavuut in Iqaluit, Nunavut (Canada).

My previous research projects have attended to post-war and contemporary queer theatre and performance from an international and intercultural perspective. He is the author of the academic monograph, Tennessee Williams in Sweden and France, 1945-1965 (Bloomsbury Methuen Drama, 2019), which unpacks the sexual anxieties and racial fantasies that the American playwright’s works provoked in post-war Europe. The research project ‘Lest We Forget’ critically analyses the impact of HIV and AIDS on queer theatre and performance in Canada and Sweden. As part of this project, I have co-edited, with Dr Alyson Campbell, the volume Viral Dramaturgies: HIV and AIDS in Performance in the Twenty-First Century (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018).

To date, I have presented c. fifty conference papers and published over twenty referred journal articles and book chapters, including essays in Theatre Journal, Theatre Survey, Nordic Theatre Studies, Journal of Canadian Studies, Theatre Research in Canada, Journal of HomosexualityThe Tennessee Williams Annual Review and Fashion Theory. I am the co-editor of Mode: en tvärvetenskaplig betraktelse (Raster, 2009), a volume on fashion studies as an interdisciplinary discipline. As former editor-in-chief of lambda nordica: Journal for LGBT-Studies I edited special issues on masculinities and queer fashion. I have also served as book review editor for Nordic Theatre Studies and am currently a member of the editorial boards of cultural diversity and the stage and Theatre Research International.


I have taught numerous courses in performance theories and methodologies, theatre history, cultural representations, gender theory and queer studies, performance activism, feminist and LGBTQ+ theatre, performance and performativity, sexual representations in the performing arts, fashion theory, Tennessee Williams, postcolonial and intercultural performance, and contemporary theatre and performance in Canada. I am supervising theses at the MA and PhD level.


Circumpolar Performance Cultures: Transnational and Intercultural Perspectives on Contemporary Indigenous Performing Arts in Sweden, Canada and Greenland

My current research, Circumpolar Performance Cultures, is a four-year project financed by the Swedish Research Council. It concentrates of the intersectional and decolonial labour performed by three Indigenous ensembles – Giron Sámi Teáhter in Kiruna/Giron (Sweden), Nunatta Isiginnaartitsisarfia/The National Theatre of Greenland in Nuuk, and Qaggiavuut in Iqaluit, Nunavut (Canada). The project has two core aims. First, I plan to study processes of production and reception of selected historical and contemporary plays and performances by these Sami, Greenlandic and Inuit ensembles and analyse their artistic form and political content as well as their critical reception in order to demonstrate how performing artists in the Circumpolar North deal with the manifold legacies of colonialism. These include, but are not limited to: decolonization, reconciliation, healing, preservation of culture and traditions, preservation and promotion of languages, resistance to a colonizing gaze, global climate changes and the exploitation of land and natural resources, the need for positive and empowering self-representation, and the attempts to work through trauma and shame caused by anthropometric observations, forced assimilation, forced displacement and residential or nomadic schools. Additionally, these three ensembles also face a number of financial and administrative obstacles, hence why I will pay attention to organizational aspects such as the means to secure public funding, access to a permanent playhouse or performance space as well as outreach efforts to other circumpolar communities.

The selected ensembles and countries serve as representative (rather than as exhaustive) examples to expose key artistic and political concerns for performing artists in the Circumpolar North. My choice of Sweden, Greenland and Canada as areas of focus is far from arbitrary and allows for three unique, rich and complimentary case studies to tease out similarities, overlaps, variations and contrasts. All three ensembles have different histories and face different challenges and thus require contextually and culturally sensitive analysis. Yet they also share important commonalities that unite them in their decolonial struggle. Rather than conceptualizing these rich performance cultures as nationally isolated or structured along geopolitical borders, I analyse them as unfolding along transnational and intercultural processes and exchanges that circulate across the Arctic. As a result, my second aim is to theorize and argue for the concept of ‘circumpolar performance processes’ as an innovative methodological framework and analytical tool to situate these contemporary performance cultures in a transnational context and argue for an intercultural understanding of Arctic performances that respects the historical context and is culturally sensitive, but defies the confines of national boundaries. The project is theoretically informed by decolonial performance theories and the methodology builds on ethically responsible principles, including informed and voluntary consent by all participants, and actively supports Indigenous peoples’ right for cultural self-determination.

The first part of the project focuses on theatre and performance in the Swedish part of Sápmi and devotes particular attention to Giron Sámi Teáhter which is located in the northern city Kiruna/Giron. I analyze the history of modern Sami performing arts since 1971 when the independent ensemble Dálvadis started protesting the exploitation of land and natural resources in Sápmi, all the way to the contemporary efforts of Giron Sámi Teáhter to become officially recognized as Sweden’s national stage for Indigenous performing arts. I argue that studying and understanding the decolonial labour of Sami cultural performers necessitates an intersectional approach that respects issues on colonialism, gender and feminism, sexuality and queer studies, critical race studies and critical whiteness studies as well as a children’s and youth perspective. The method is based on archival studies of historical productions, performance analyses and interviews with Sami performing artists and knowledge holders (managing and artistic directors, actors, playwrights, directors, scenographers and costume designers). To ensure ethical responsibility, I follow regulations that have been developed by decolonial and Arctic researchers in the humanities and social sciences in consultation and collaboration with Indigenous peoples as well as ethical protocols and guidelines that have been proposed by the Sami Council, the Sami Parliament and the Swedish Sami National Association.


Tennessee Williams in Sweden and France, 1945-1965: Cultural Translations, Sexual Anxieties and Racial Fantasies

Bloomsbury Methuen Drama, 2019

The immediate post-war period marks a pivotal moment in the internationalisation of American theatre when Tennessee Williams’ plays became some of Broadway’s most critically acclaimed and financially lucrative exports. Dirk Gindt offers a detailed study of the production and reception of Williams’ work on Swedish and French stages at the height of his popularity between 1945 and 1965. Analysing the national openings of seminal plays, including The Glass MenagerieA Streetcar Named DesireCat on a Hot Tin RoofOrpheus Descending and Suddenly Last Summer, Gindt provides rich and nuanced insights into Williams’ transnational impact. In the process, he charts a network of fascinating and influential directors, actors, designers, producers and critics, all of whom left distinctive marks on mid-twentieth-century European theatre and culture. Gindt further demonstrates how Williams’ work foregrounded cultural apprehensions, racial fantasies and sexual anxieties, which resulted in heated debates in the critical and popular media.


Lest We Forget: HIV and AIDS in Performance in Sweden and Canada

The project ‘Lest We Forget’ has two core objectives—a research component and an intercontinental network—which are intrinsically linked and designed to have an international outreach and impact. The first objective is to write the first comprehensive critical history of HIV and AIDS and queer theatre and performance in Sweden and Canada. The second objective is to implement an intercontinental working group of scholars working on HIV and AIDS in theatre and performance.

As part of this project, I have co-edited a volume with Dr Alyson Campbell (University of Melbourne), Viral Dramaturgies: HIV and AIDS in Performance in the Twenty-First Century (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018). The volume is the first study that analyses the impact of HIV and AIDS on theatre and performance in the twenty-first century from an international perspective and includes contributions from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Papua New Guinea, Puerto Rico, South Africa, Sweden, Tanzania, the United Kingdom and United States. It serves as a necessary reaffirmation of the productive power of theatre and performance, as both a social process and creative practice, to respond to a public health crisis and act as modes of resistance against cultural amnesia and discrimination. The book reflects the current intellectual and methodological state of the discipline of theatre and performance studies by incorporating a wide range of theatrical expressions that range from traditional plays and spoken drama, dance, performance and installation art, documentary and community-based theatre to cultural performances in the public sphere.


                                                             (photo: Henrik Bengtsson, Memoria Photo)

Last updated: February 15, 2021

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