Taphonomic Historiography: Excavating and Exhuming the Past in Suzan-Lori Parkss The America Play Academic Article uri icon


  • This essay examines Suzan-Lori Parkss The America Play from an ecocritical perspective, analysing the plays use of soil and its somatic, social, ecological, and historical significance. Taphonomy and historiography are put into conversation, as both disciplines investigate the processes that govern the persistence of remains over time and, thus, generate tools for theatre and performance studies. The essay contends that the Foundling Fathers repetitive digging in the soil communicates meaning regarding the history of antebellum slaves in the United States. It employs Deleuze and Guattaris theories of affect and immanent philosophy to argue that the Foundling Father becomes Lincoln in the affective sense, as he unearths what Deleuze and Guattari call concepts that reterritorialize history. Layered on the imagery of slavery and predicated on a literal descent into historical earth, this affective relationship allows for a powerful interrogation and reconstruction of the dominant narratives of history.

published proceedings

  • Modern Drama

author list (cited authors)

  • Spalink, A.

citation count

  • 1

complete list of authors

  • Spalink, Angenette

publication date

  • January 2017