What is Refugee?


  • Will Daddario Independent Scholar https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5103-0718
  • Janhavi Dhamankar Vienna University
  • Milton Loayza SUNY Oswego
  • Jon McKenzie Cornell University
  • Yana Meerzon University of Ottawa
  • Tero Nauha Theatre Academy of the University of the Arts Helsinki
  • Theron Schmidt UNSW Sydney http://orcid.org/0000-0001-9147-3310
  • Aneta Stojnić Singidunum University, Belgrade




refugee, ethics, non-philosophy


This collectively authored article is a curated response to a set of questions (or fragments of questions) derived from a year-long collaboration focused on the figure of the refugee. Delivered through mixed-media, the responses cover a vast range of territory, from the relation between refugees and global capitalism to the reign of bio- and necro-politics, from analytical philosophies of naming to continental philosophies of territorialized flows, and from conceptual mappings of interstitial space to concrete mappings of “refugee” movements across the globe.

While the article addresses many different questions, the authors are concerned primarily with the following: How can performance philosophy conceptualize “crisis” in its methods and subjects of study? How is crisis organized, delivered and received in thought and performance? The form our response has taken is one of arranged fragments that speak to the “trailing off” of thought that so frequently occurs when faced with “big ideas.” Meanwhile, the content delivers multiple theses on the ways performance philosophy scholarship might grapple with the figure of the refugee, a figure that will surely dominate ethical discussions for years to come. 

Author Biographies

Will Daddario, Independent Scholar

Will Daddario is the author of Baroque, Venice, Theatre, Philosophy (Palgrave 2017), and co-editor of two anthologies: Adorno and Performance and Manifesto Now! Instructions for Performance, Philosophy, Politics. He is also co-editor of the Performance Philosophy Book Series (with Palgrave) and an original core convener of Performance Philosophy.

Janhavi Dhamankar, Vienna University

An empathy researcher and social sculpture practitioner with Gurukul dance training, Janhavi Dhamankar currently extends her performance-audience empathy via Performance Philosophy to integration of minorities in her PhD. She has performed, presented, and conducted workshops in numerous dance festivals, international conferences, schools, and residencies. She worked as editor for Pune Biennale 2017 and production assistant for One World Bearing Witness.

Milton Loayza, SUNY Oswego

Milton Loayza is Visiting Assistant Professor at the State University of New York at Oswego. His research interests are performance and philosophy, Latin American theatre, eco-criticism, and artivism. As a performer he has recently appeared in multiple opera productions of Maria of Buenos Aires

Jon McKenzie, Cornell University

Jon McKenzie is Dean’s Fellow for Media and Design and Visiting Professor of English at Cornell University. Author of Perform or Else: From Discipline to Performance, he is former director of DesignLab and co-founder of the media performance group McKenzie Stojnić. His work can be found at labster8.net and mckenziestojnic.org.

Yana Meerzon, University of Ottawa

Yana Meerzon teaches at the Department of Théâtre, University of Ottawa. She has widely published on the issues of Théâtre and migration with Palgrave and Routledge. Currently she is working on several projects with Playwrights Canada Press and Modern Drama. Her new manuscript is under contract with Palgrave.

Tero Nauha, Theatre Academy of the University of the Arts Helsinki

Tero Nauha is an artist and a postdoctoral fellow at the Academy of Finland funded postdoctoral research project, ‘How To Do Things With Performance?’ In 2015, he published his first fiction novel, Heresy & Provocation. He has presented his performance art projects internationally.

Theron Schmidt, UNSW Sydney

Theron Schmidt is a writer, teacher, and artist, currently living and working on unceded Gadigal land. He has published widely on contemporary theatre and performance, participatory art practices, and politically engaged performance.  He is a founding co-convener of the Performance Philosophy network and co-editor of this journal.  He is also a frequent contributor and editorial board member for Performance Research, and editor of Contemporary Theatre Review’s online Interventions (www.contemporarytheatrereview.org).

Aneta Stojnić, Singidunum University, Belgrade

Aneta Stojnić, PhD, is a performance and media theorist, artist, curator, and therapist. Currently she is a candidate at the Institute for Psychoanalytic Training and Research in New York. She has published three books and numerous articles on contemporary art, media, and culture. She is a co-founder of McKenzie Stojnić media and performance group (https://www.mckenziestojnic.org/).


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How to Cite

Daddario, Will, Janhavi Dhamankar, Milton Loayza, Jon McKenzie, Yana Meerzon, Tero Nauha, Theron Schmidt, and Aneta Stojnić. 2018. “What Is Refugee?”. Performance Philosophy 4 (1):206-33. https://doi.org/10.21476/PP.2018.41198.