Performance Studies Ph.D. Candidate Zac Easterling has been awarded the NYU Alpine Fellowship. The Alpine Fellowship supports students who are dedicated to exploring cross-disciplinary questions of the contemporary age.
Zac says of their work and their work in the fellowship: "Conflict is colloquially perceived as a function of separation caused by difference. However, its etymology (from Latin conflictus "to strike together'' derived form of com "with, together" and fligere "to strike") suggests that conflict might better be understood as a togetherness achieved through opposition. Boxing is an experimental performance tradition established for the study of conflict in its spectacular form. Nowhere else in the West can be found such a storied tradition of abstracting conflict from its quotidian appearance for the sake of study and spectatorship. Since at least the 1719 opening of James Figg's prizefighting and bloodsports amphitheater in London, there have been large infrastructural investments made for the sake of experimentation in conflict and violence. My dissertation, “Stricken Together: Boxing, Black Study, & The Performance of Conflict” explores this archive in order to reflect on the ontology of conflict and its role in racial integration and intraracial relation. I argue that conflict, because of its capacity to reveal the inseparability of being and other, is a prosocial mode of being-together. As an Alpine fellow, I will learn about practice-based research and work on presenting my project to a diverse community of thinkers."