Liquor Store Theatre

Liquor Store Theatre

Black Outdoors: Innovations in the Poetics of Study

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Book Pages: 328 Illustrations: 32 color illustrations Published: November 2020

Author: Maya Stovall

Anthropology, Art and Visual Culture, Theater and Performance > Performance Art

For six years Maya Stovall staged Liquor Store Theatre, a conceptual art and anthropology video project---included in the Whitney Biennial in 2017---in which she danced near the liquor stores in her Detroit neighborhood as a way to start conversations with her neighbors. In this book of the same name, Stovall uses the project as a point of departure for understanding everyday life in Detroit and the possibilities for ethnographic research, art, and knowledge creation. Her conversations with her neighbors—which touch on everything from economics, aesthetics, and sex to the political and economic racism that undergirds Detroit's history—bring to light rarely acknowledged experiences of longtime Detroiters. In these exchanges, Stovall enacts an innovative form of ethnographic engagement that offers new modes of integrating the social sciences with the arts in ways that exceed what either approach can achieve alone.


“For [Maya] Stovall, how we know is the operative question. Through such a simple act, dancing on the sidewalk before these business establishments, she sparks so much one-on-one engagement that has led to long-term dialogues. It is through her performances that she is able to bring into relief what affects the lives of her community: the economic, racial, historic, political, social forces that shape the area's inhabitants and the built environment that surrounds them.” — Christopher Y. Lew, from the foreword

“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 America.” — John L. Jackson Jr., Walter H. Annenberg Dean of the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania

“An important contribution to the conversation on performance ethnography and the ethics of representing racialized bodies in urban space, Liquor Store Theatre is a singular type of immersion across ethnography, historiography, geography, and art.” — Aimee Meredith Cox, author of Shapeshifters: Black Girls and the Choreography of Citizenship

"The interest many will find here is the unexpectedness and complexity of the lives she reveals. Residents share memories and discuss neighborhood changes, talk about their experiences with family and work, housing, shopping, education, transportation, and their understanding of the forces that have shaped their lives. These are individuals, not subjects, and Stovall offers the particularities that good storytelling requires. Once we are able to see them as individuals, the residents of McDougall-Hunt are hard to ignore." — Andrea Kirsh, Artblog


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Price: $27.95

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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Maya Stovall is Assistant Professor of Liberal Studies at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, and an artist whose work has been exhibited and performed at institutions and events throughout the world.

Table of Contents Back to Top
List of Illustrations  ix
Foreword / Christopher Y. Lew  xiii
Prologue  1
Introduction  25
1. Liquor Store Theatre, Vol. 1, No. 1 (2014)  47
2. Liquor Store Theatre, Vol. 1, No. 2 (2014)  58
3. Liquor Store Theatre, Vol. 1, No. 3 (2014)  70
4. Liquor Store Theatre, Vol. 2, No. 1 (2015)  76
5. Liquor Store Theatre, Vol. 2, No. 2 (2015)  87
6. Liquor Store Theatre, Vol. 2, No. 3 (2015)  99
7. Liquor Store Theatre, Vol. 3, No. 3 (2016)  107
8. Liquor Store Theatre, Vol. 3, No. 4 (2016)  120
9. Liquor Store Theatre, Vol. 3, No. 5 (2016)  133
10. Liquor Store Theatre, Vol. 3, No. 6 (2016)  156
11. Liquor Store Theatre, Vol. 3, No. 7 (2016)  165
12. Liquor Store Theatre, Vol. 4, No. 1 (2017)  178
13. Liquor Store Theatre, Vol. 4, No. 2 (2017)  187
14. Liquor Store Theatre, Vol. 4, No. 3 (2017)  202
15. Liquor Store Theatre, Vol. 4, No. 4 (2017)  211
16. Liquor Store Theatre, Vol. 4, No. 5 (2017)  217
17. Liquor Store Theatre, Vol. 4, No. 6 (2017)  224
18. Liquor Store Theatre, Vol. 4, No. 7 (2017)  233
19. Liquor Store Theatre, Vol. 5, No. 1 (2018)  247
Acknowledgments  263
Notes  265
Bibliography  287
Index  299
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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