Assistant Professor Maya Stovall in the Department of Liberal Studies has published a new book titled “Liquor Store Theatre.”
Her book, published by Duke University Press, is also included in Duke University Press’s new series, “Black Outdoors: Innovations in the Poetics of Study,” edited by Sarah Jane Cervenak and J. Cameron Carter.
For six years, Stovall staged “Liquor Store Theatre,” a conceptual art and anthropology video project (included in the 2017 Whitney Biennial), in which she video-recorded performances and conversations in the streets and sidewalks surrounding liquor stores in her Detroit neighborhood, prompting conversations about the politics of city life.
The book discusses U.S. and Detroit historiography, everyday life in Detroit, and the possibilities for ethnographic research, art and knowledge creation. Her conversations with her neighbors cover a variety of topics including race, gender, the Detroit water and tax foreclosure crisis, political economy and the anti-Black racism undergirding U.S. and Detroit’s histories. In doing so, the monograph shines a light on rarely acknowledged experiences of longtime Detroiters, and details Stovall’s engagement with her anthropological informants long after the cameras are turned off.
“Maya Stovall’s wildly ambitious, experimental, poetic, and multimodal ethnographic engagement reimagines what the ethnographic encounter entails and demands while asking us to reconsider the very nature of scholarly research in urban Americas,” wrote John L. Jackson Jr., dean of the Walter H. Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania, in his back-blurb of the book for Duke University Press.
In her back-cover blurb of “Liquor Store Theatre,” Yale University Department of Anthropology scholar Aimee Meredith Cox, called the book “an important contribution to the conversation on performance ethnography and the ethics of representing racialized bodies in urban space.” She further said, “Liquor Store Theatre is a singular type of immersion across ethnography, historiography, geography, and art.”
Throughout winter and spring, Stovall will host a series of book launch events, including readings at USC, McMaster University, Smith College, the Whitney Museum of American Art, NADA Miami, and White Columns, NYC co-presented by Duke University Press.
For more information about “Liquor Store Theatre,” contact Assistant Professor Stovall by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.